Tickets for this year’s Meet, Plan, Go! event go on sale next week. And our Kick-Ass hosts have been busy putting together some kick-ass panels for their events. Here is a sneak peak of those who will be sure to inspire you!
Tim & Robin Botto – Boston Event
Tim and Robin were directors in corporate America who decided they wanted to get off the rollercoaster and take a break. They planned and budgeted for two years before quitting their jobs and taking five months to travel and volunteer in Southeast Asia and the Pacific. Before their break, they had traveled to at least 30 other countries, mostly using vacation days.
While a main motivator in their decision to travel was the enticement of exotic and cheap food, Tim and Robin tried to encompass as much variety into their travels as possible including: jumping into canyons, being guests at rural village festivals, climbing mountains, attending Full Moon Parties, ziplining through jungle reserves, and being attacked (read: hugged) by an escape Orangutan. Robin and Tim returned to Boston at the end of March, to media and health/fitness careers, respectively. The couple is currently in desperate search of a good dish of Khao Soi in the Boston area!
Website: On the Banana Pancake Trail
Keith Savage – Chicago Event
Keith Savage spent nearly eight years as a writer at a high-tech electronic medical health software company before trading it in for a shot at his passions: travel and writing. Though married and saddled with a mortgage, Keith and his wife Sarah refused to give up his professional happiness and plotted a course to make a new lifestyle work. After more than a year of strict budgets and hardcore saving, Keith was ready to take the plunge.
Since November 2010, Keith has spent one month in Argentina and two months in Scotland under the moniker Traveling Savage, where he blogs. Currently, Keith spends 3-4 months each year traveling around Scotland searching for the perfect dram of whisky and those unexpected liminal moments of transcendence. Otherwise, you can usually find him in Madison, Wisconsin catching up on his writing and enjoying a green smoothie.
Website: Traveling Savage
Polly Letofsky – Denver Event
Polly Letofsky traveled across 4 continents and over 14,000 – by foot – to become the first woman to walk around the world. As an awareness campaign for breast cancer, strangers welcomed her into their homes. But it was never an easy road. Polly struggled with earthquakes, muggings, languages, even religious riots. The ultimate challenge came in the middle of her journey when September 11 flung us all into a crossroads in world history.
In her bestselling book – 3mph: The Adventures of One Woman’s Walk Around the World – Polly shares her story with humor and honest reflection, the good times and the hardships, and shows us all that we can tackle life’s biggest challenges – one step at a time. Polly is currently a full time motivational speaker from Denver, Colorado.
Website: Polly Letofsky
Diana Edelman – Las Vegas Event
In 2010, Diana Edelman decided she needed a change. She was no longer satisfied with her career in public relations, she had always dreamed of traveling the world so, on March 7, 2010, that is exactly what she did. Diana put her belongings in storage, drove her car back to Maryland and parked it in her parent’s drive, strapped her backpack on, and headed over to Europe and Africa. For seven months, she backpacked solo, writing about her adventures on her blog.
When she returned, she relocated to her former home, Las Vegas, and accepted a position with MCC Hospitality Group as the Director of Communications for the company’s many restaurants in Las Vegas and LA. She still writes for her blog and is also a contributing travel writer for OneTravel.com.
Website: D Travels Round
Julie DuRose – Minneapolis Event
When Julie DuRose quit her teaching gig at The Ohio State University to travel the world for a year, she let her appetite guide her. She shucked oysters at the Russian River; picked cranberries in the Arctic; tried stingray in Malaysia; ate jellyfish in Singapore (that was revenge); popped oven-roasted tarantulas in Cambodia, and ate fruit she’d never heard of – jackfruit, salak, rambutan, and the sexiest of all, the delicate mangosteen. All of it surprised her, as did the hospitality of her fellow humans. From Carmel to Anchorage to Kona, HI, throughout New Zealand, India, and S.E. Asia, she never imagined how many folks would be part of her extended travels – not to mention her life thereafter.
Julie DuRose is former chef and current M.F.A. candidate in nonfiction, currently writing a memoir entitled Wake Me For Meal Service. She lives in St. Paul, though she dreams of Myanmar.
Spencer Spellman – San Francisco Event
Spencer is a traveling writer and blogger, originally from North Carolina and outfitted with a fierce Southern drawl, who currently calls San Francisco home. While he has traveled around the world, Europe is his first love, a love that is sustained back home by micro brews, fish and chips, soccer and golf. Spencer took a more non-traditional approach to his career break, choosing to use writing to support himself while traveling, instead of saving money to travel. This allowed him to travel indefinitely, spending most of his time road-tripping across the U.S. and living and traveling in Central America. When he arrived somewhere he didn’t want to leave, San Francisco, he decided to settle down until the road calls again.
Website: The Traveling Philosopher
Chris Gray Faust – Seattle Event
Journalist Chris Gray Faust is no stranger to career breaks. In 1991, she delayed her job search so she could bartend in London, explore literary haunts in the British Isles, and backpack around Europe. Then in 1998, she took a year-long break from the New Orleans Times-Picayune to give graduate school a try. And now Chris is a weekly columnist for Frommers.com, and is working on an e-book with Wiley Publishing on how to use social media when planning a trip. She’s also a contributor to CruiseCritic, the former travel editor of USA TODAY, and editor/publisher of her own website, Chris Around The World. She won a Lowell Thomas travel writing award in 2010.
Website: C Around the World
Megan Seper – St. Louis Event
While contemplating a cross-country move, Megan Seper discovered the blog of a couple on a round-the-world trip and immediately realized that traveling and not working sounded like much more fun than working and not traveling. Once her husband, Adam, was on board with the plan, they set to work planning and saving for a year-long trip that ultimately took them to 89 cities in 11 countries.
Now back in St. Louis and working in her previous career as an attorney, Megan continues to plot ways to feed her addiction to street food and penchant for wandering through markets and bazaars. She loves practicing yoga and making pottery and has a dorky fascination with all things geology-related.
Nancy Bearg – Washington DC Event
Nancy has a distinguished career in national security, leadership, and human capital, primarily in the government and non-profit sectors. She is a founding partner of Reboot Partners LLC, which conducts individual and corporate workshops and consults with corporations on Reboot Breaks. The four Reboot Partners principals authored the book Reboot Your Life: Energize Your Career and Life by Taking a Break on the whole process and benefit of taking sabbaticals. (April 2011, Beaufort Books).
Ms. Bearg’s former positions include National Security Advisor to the Vice President of the United States, National Security Council staff member, and non-profit President/CEO. In her current consulting career, she applies her extensive experience in practical and innovative ways to non-profit, for-profit, and academic endeavors. She holds a BA from Willamette University in Oregon and a Masters in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School. She teaches a graduate course on leadership at George Washington University and lives in Washington D.C.
Website: Reboot Your Life
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