I was shocked at the huge crowd of people who shared my desire to rendezvous on an extended vacation. I attended a career break event hosted by Meet Plan Go which brought together, those serious and those curious about career breaks (ie. not talking maternity leaves here). A career break aka adult gap year are increasing in popularity perhaps instead of being a teen trying to find themselves an adult tries to lose themselves. I am still on step one…make the decision.
While we were sitting down for dinner on San Cristobal Island in Galapagos Islands on a refreshing October evening I met a couple who took the plunge. No not marriage. They decided to take a leave and travel around the world, with each other.
Meet Anu and Pete from Finland. Anu is a teacher, marathon runner and a gruelling cross country ski racer. Pete is a sports fanatic and avid photographer. They met nearly 8 years ago.
I was intrigued, inspired and envious to learn more about their adventures. They have been gracious to share their experience.
I think that there are many people, whether a couple or individual, dream of quitting their jobs to travel the world. It usually resides there, as a dream and people rarely act upon the dream. They convince themselves not to do it. What made it different for you? What was the point or event that convinced you to actually do it?
We have traveled quite a lot together and realized it's not too hard to be abroad. For example in the summer of 2007 we traveled in Europe for a month. That's when we decided that we wanted to travel the world for a year. We don't have children and we were able to save enough money for this trip, and we also were able to leave our work for a year. It's a big help that in Finland you can take a year off from work (after 10-year working history), get paid a little bit during that time and return back to your work.
What did your family and friends think about the idea when you told them?
Both of our mothers didn't like our idea, the dads didn't say anything. Friends thought that it's great and some of them were really excited.
Before you left, what did you really want to accomplish?
We wanted to visit all seven continents, we wanted to see as much natural wildlife as possible, we wanted to meet with our friends and relatives who live abroad (USA, Australia) and we wanted to experience new adventures.
Where have you been so far? Where are you now? And where are you going to next?
So far we've been to Iceland, USA, Canada, Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador (also Galapagos Islands 😀 ), Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Antarctica, Uruguay, Brazil, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
Right now we are in Melbourne, Australia. We are in Australia for 3 more weeks where we drive from Melbourne to Adelaide, then Cairns and Darwin. Late February, we fly to Bali, Indonesia and we will be traveling in Asia for about 4 months.
What has been the best part of your travels? What destination exceeded your expectations?
The best parts have been visiting Antarctica and Galapagos Islands. The Antarctic Cruise was better than what we had expected. For the most part each destination has been pretty much what we had expected.
The worst part of travelling? What destination was a disappointment?
The worst parts have been long bus trips in Guatemala and Bolivia. Our bus broke down in both places and we were late for our next step. Costa Rica was a little disappointing.
What has surprised you about the trip this far? What have you realized that you didn’t expect?
It has surprised us that we haven't been too exhausted even though we've been very busy and have done a lot of traveling.
We have realized how good our country Finland is to live and how well things there are after all.
Has it been worth it?
Yes, it has!
What advice do you have for someone considering a similar adventure – perhaps they can think of a million reasons why they shouldn’t do it, what should they consider?
Plan your trip a little bit beforehand; it's going to ease traveling a lot when you know something about the countries you are going to go. This means find out some facts about the countries (visas, interesting places etc.) By doing that you save time because you don't have to do those things when traveling. Also save up enough money, because it's not nice to be on a too low budget.
Do you still love each other? What has been the impact on your relationship? What advice do you have for others selecting a travel partner?
Yes, of course we do!
We had been together almost 7 years before starting this trip, so we knew each other pretty well. Our relationship hasn't changed during the trip.
Our advice is that when selecting a travel partner he/she should be interested in the same things that you are. If you like to see culture and he/she wants to go party, it's probably not going to work out.
What will be the first thing you do when you get home?
First thing to do when we get home is to meet both of our parents and go to the sauna and swimming at our friends' summer cottage.
To follow Anu and Pete's travels and enjoy the beautiful pictures visit: www.rantapallo.fi/kaikkimaanosat
To translate to English paste the web address into google translator: http://translate.google.ca/?hl=en&tab=wT#
Thinking of a Career Break?
1.Career Break Secrets: http://careerbreaksecrets.com/
Initiated by a couple of extended vacationers, the website holds a wealth tools and information to assist in planning your adventure.
2.Meet Plan Go: http://meetplango.com/
Lots of tools, information and a watering hole for connecting with other likeminded breakers including a basic training course.
3. Ditch The Cubicle: http://www.ditchthecubicle.ca/
A series of mini-videos discussing career break topics; sponsored by gap adventures.
Happy Travels. 😉