I am really excited to be part of the hosts and organizers behind Meet, Plan, Go this year. My partner, Keith Hajovsky, and I are co-hosting the Austin event on October 16, when 9 other cities will also have their own Meet, Plan, Go (MPG) events happening.
Meet, Plan, Go! (MPG) is an organization that is dedicated to helping people fulfill their dreams of really traveling to experience the world, well beyond the two-week vacation. There are MPG groups active in ten cities around North America, and on October 16, 2012. These ten cities will host events that will provide attendees with inspirational speakers, discussion panels, breakaway sessions, resources, and giveaways to help people connect and plan their own extended travel or career break. Many of the resources, and ways that MPG folks travel, are much like the methods that we use and detail in our book — meant to drastically save money, in many cases making world travel far less expensive than remaining at home.
Keith and I attended the Austin MPG event last year, and then early this year we were flattered to be asked to become the co-hosts of this year’s event. For my part, I was motivated to accept hosting because of my passion for travel as a part of life, and even a part of work. If you are really passionate about seeing the world, there is hardly a better way to do so than to craft your life, and work, to make travel a part of it.
Keith says that when we received the opportunity to co-host the Austin 2012 event, it seemed like a natural fit. “Travel has been an extremely positive part of my life for a very long time, and I genuinely believe it has made me a better and happier person. Because of this I’ve always encouraged other people to get out and see the world as much as possible too, and whenever others have asked me for travel advice I’ve always gladly offered to help them as much as I can. We get to help others learn how to travel longer and more deeply and have fun while doing it. What could be better than that?”
The Austin event will be held at Abel’s on the Lake on October 16, beginning at 6:30 pm for mingling, with the program starting at 7 pm. Tickets are only $20 each and include an e-goody bag with all kinds of giveaways and discounts.
Our featured keynote speaker is our friend Jefre Outlaw, who has been traveling the world nonstop for the past three years, visiting 96 countries and 250 cities on six continents. After Jefre’s opening talk about his travels, we will introduce four additional panelists and open the panel to questions and discussion. Our travel experts include:
Greg Davis, who quit the tech business to travel the world — and subsequently launched a new career as a travel photographer.
Jean Warneke and Barbara Baggett, who run JB Journeys and are dedicated to sustainable travel around the world.
Sofia Martinez, who as a college student has taken advantage of study abroad opportunities.
Jade Whitman, who works for AirBnB and is a consummate backpacker.
“Because we live in a society that doesn’t find value in taking time off, we wanted to create a community for people who want to break out of the norm and travel for an extended period of time,” says MPG co-founder Sherry Ott. “This is the only seminar out there designed for people who are looking to do long term independent travel.”
If you’ve been following BootsnAll for any length of time, you’d know that we work and live our lives by four core values:
Make Meaningful Connections
Work and Play with Passion
These four core values align perfectly with the career break movement started by Sherry, Michaela, and Michael over at Meet, Plan, Go!. How better to embrace change than to make your dreams come true by doing the unconventional and taking a career break trip? If you want to make meaningful connections, MPG has organized monthly meet-ups around the country, culminating in an annual event where you can meet other like-minded people. If you love learning, then there’s plenty of knowledge to be gained by taking a career break and changing the course of your life. And if you work and play with passion, then what better way to do so than by working your ass off to be able to take an extended break to go play around the world?
If you are reading this and nodding your head along, then you are probably the kind of person who wants to take a career break to re-motivate yourself. Meet, Plan, Go is currently celebrating their third anniversary, and during the past three years they have motivated and helped countless Americans get over that mental hurdle needed to do something that isn’t yet ingrained in our society’s thought process.
If taking a career break is something you dream about but don’t think is something you can do, then let the folks at Meet, Plan, Go! help. They have a career break basic training which gives you all the tools necessary to help you take your own career break. And to celebrate their three-year anniversary, they are offering 33% off their career break basic training class through the end of March. In addition to the discount, they are also offering $175 in discounts and coupons to AirTreks and Intrepid Travel to save yourself some money once you do get on the road.
If you are sitting in your gray cubicle wondering if this is all there is to life, then it might be time for a break, no matter where you are in your career. Getting over those mental hurdles is tough to overcome, so take advantage of the expertise available to you. These people are just like you and me – normal people with normal jobs and normal lives who simply decided that enough was enough. If you want to take back control of your life, this is the first step to doing so.
A couple of weeks ago, we were thrilled to be the Portland hosts for the second annual Meet, Plan, Go! national event – and now we’re happy to be reminded of how great the event was, thanks to some fabulous photos by our volunteer photographer Christian Columbres!
We had an engaged crowd in Portland:
And we had a great panel:
But looking through the photos from the night, I’m struck by one thing more than anything else – there was a lot of smiling and laughing going on.
If that doesn’t make you think travel – or even the idea of travel – makes a person happy, then I don’t know what will.
This year’s Meet, Plan, Go event may be over, but we’re continuing our monthly indie travel meetups here in Portland! November’s meetup is at Bunk Bar (corner of SE Water & Taylor) and starts at 6:30-ish.
We had an awesome time at the Meet, Plan, Go at Ace Hotel last week, so whether you attended and want to chat with all the new PDX travelers you met or didn’t get to attend but still ♥ travel… join us!
And as always, if you have a meetup location idea for next month, do share.
6:30pm-whenever-ish, Tuesday, November 15, 2011
@ Bunk Bar, 1028 SE Water Ave
Please RSVP on our Facebook page so we can stake out a spot for you! We’re also starting a Portland travel meetup newsletter to keep you up-to-date on the latest travel meetups and events happening in PDX. Sign up below:
For last year’s inaugural Meet, Plan, Go! national event, I took the train up to Seattle – the closest Meet, Plan, Go! city to Portland – and spent an evening with my Seattle travel bloggy pals. It was great fun to feel the enthusiasm in the room, and to sense the relief on the part of people whose families don’t quite “get” their desire to travel as they recognized a familiar longing in the eyes of other attendees.
In short, my positive experience at the Seattle event last year was one of the reasons I was so looking forward to BootsnAll being a host of this year’s Meet, Plan, Go! – especially since we brought Portland to the list of host cities. I wish I could come up with something eloquent to say about last night’s Portland event, but frankly I’m still pretty exhausted, so the best I can do right now is this:
Last night was freakin’ awesome, y’all.
The room looked big and empty when I arrived early to help setup, and I was worried it would still look big and empty when the event began. I needn’t have been concerned. The room was half-full within moments of the doors officially opening, and anyone who arrived closer to the 6:30 start time considered themselves lucky to find a seat.
We were thrilled to have Chris Guillebeau deliver a funny and inspiring keynote (which he started with an airport code guessing game, for which the prizes were business class airline amenity kits!) before he had to jet off to PDX for a flight out that night.
Our panel provided the audience with handy tips and resources, and they discovered that – oddly – the hardest piece of “stuff” to get rid of for all of them turned out to be the couch.
We were joined by Warren & Betsy Talbot (last year’s Seattle hosts) via Skype all the way from Chiang Mai, Thailand, as they marked one year on the road for their own career break.
Attendees asked some of their pressing questions of the whole panel – I hate needles; how many immunization shots did you have to get? How did you pay your taxes while you were traveling? – and, I’m sure, saved some of their questions for the mingling session afterward.
One attendee told me after the event that although she still has lots of questions as she plans for her eventual career break, she loved just being there and soaking up the energy in the room. It reminded me of the feeling BootsnAll members used to have when they found like-minded people on the message boards – long before Facebook and Twitter – when they could say, “Oh, so I’m not the only person who feels like this? I’m not as crazy as my family says I am?”
It’s an incredibly powerful feeling to realize you’re not alone.
Thanks to all the people who came to the Portland event last night – I look forward to seeing you at future meetups, hearing more about your planning as it progresses, and eventually wishing you a hearty “bon voyage” as you set off.
Then, hey, you wanna be on a panel at a future Meet, Plan, Go! event? Let us know.
Some RTW/long-term travel resources to keep your planning mojo going: