Meet Plan Go: Stop Living in the World of “Should”

Are you blackburried? Tired of looking at your cube walls, and wondering why you put yourself through endless corporate politics, meetings, and paperwork? Are you too focused on living life the way you think it “should” be, instead of on what you really want?

Time for travel — perhaps extended travel, or even a career break. That’s where a nationwide initiative called Meet, Plan, Go! comes in.

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 — including a discount code for 50% off our book, How to Travel for Free (or pretty damn near it!).

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:

  • Jefre Outlaw
  • Tiffany and Billy Toomey, who spent a year in Costa Rica, with their four children!
  • 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.com 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.”

At these events you will meet and learn from individuals who have fulfilled their own dreams of traveling around the world. Their real-life career break stories include the unique challenges that all long-term travelers must overcome in order to claim their freedom on the road. They will not only provide you with inspiration, but also tips on how they did it, travel planning resources, and answers to your questions.

“We want career breaks to be more acceptable in America,” says Ott. “In fact, it is our goal to see a career break on every resume. And with the support of our 10 inspiring hosts, their panelists, and our sponsors, including Intrepid Travel, Insure My Trip, BootsnAll, and International TEFL Academy we are making great inroads to achieving that goal.”

If you are in Central Texas, Keith and I would love to see you in Austin on October 16 – you can buy tickets here. Or, attend one of the other Meet, Plan, Go! events in Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis, New York City, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, South Florida and Toronto.

In the meantime, check out some incredibly awesome resources that MPG provides:

  • Regular, informal happy hours to connect with other travelers; we had our last one on September 6, at the Firehouse Hostel & Lounge in downtown Austin.
  • Planning resources including airline tickets, product reviews, insurance and more.
  • An entire “Briefcase to Backpack” section with stories from people who have been there before, and done it, on a wide variety of subjects.
  • Myth-busters about career breaks and long-term travel.

Travel well!

Shelley & Keith

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About Shelley Seale

I'm Shelley, a journeyer and learner of the world, freelance journalist and author, yoga chick and dog lover. I pound the keyboard from home barefoot every day, and while my boss is demanding she also occasionally lets me have the early afternoon cocktail. I think not going into an office or collecting corporate paychecks are very good ideas, though not always profitable. I have written for National Geographic, USA Today, The Guardian, Texas Monthly and CNN, among others. Neither the New York Times nor Johnny Depp have answered my letters yet. I love yoga, indie movies, wine, and books, though not necessarily in that order. I believe in karma. Mean people suck. If I could have any dream job I would like to be a superhero. I have performed a catch on the flying trapeze, boarded down a live volcano and was once robbed by a monkey in Nepal. But, I don't know how to whistle. My mantra is "travel with a purpose."
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