Tuesday, March 20, 2012

What We Learned at the Inaugural Meet, Plan, Go! Kansas City Get-Together

As Mike already posted on our Facebook page, we enjoyed attending the inaugural Meet, Plan, Go! get-together in Kansas City this past Monday night, hosted by Kristi Miller. Thanks, Kristi, for organizing!!

I think most of us can figure out the general theme of a get-together by the looks of the guests at the table, but I doubt anyone would've been able to guess our commonality - a seemingly random assortment of 9 individuals who got together for the sole purpose sharing our interest in extended-travel.

Here's a few things we learned from this meeting.

It seems that once the travel bug strikes, it's hard to get rid of it. In fact, working becomes only a means to surviving and saving $$ until the next extended travel opportunity. Therefore, a more flexible, self-employed, or contract type of work becomes the preferred choice. A minimalist, temporary lifestyle becomes acceptable, only amassing enough belongings to get you by but never enough to make one feel too settled down and permanent. Lest anyone worry about our sanity, remember that we have a house, a dog, and a great job to come back to (hopefully), so don't expect to have such an extreme reaction. However, don't think for a moment that this will only be a "once-in-a-lifetime" chance for us. :)

We already suspected this, but was confirmed by Kristi and others that the majority of career breakers or extended travelers are Europeans, Australians, etc. In fact, one of the reasons for seeking out other career breakers through Meet, Plan, Go! was to meet anyone...just anyone, who had actually done this kind of thing before. Except for 1 person, we have never met anyone else who would consider doing such a thing. Americans rarely take an extended vacation, let alone a career break. It was a nice change to be among others who shared the same interest - confirming that we aren't as different or crazy as we may think.

Interestingly, most everyone was able to share a precise moment or person that inspired them to pursue extended travels. Whether it be a sister, or a friend, or a movie, we can all recall the specifics of when this world of travel became a possibility for us. For Mike, it was his friend Ray who went to Europe and traveled, sailing a boat to the Caribbean, and traveling from coast to coast in the US. All along the way, Ray sent postcards to Mike - the best geography lesson in the world - inspiring a small town Alabama boy to one day experience the same things. For me, my fearless parents made our transient life seem very normal as they dragged my brother and I around with them from Japan, to California, all over the US, to Singapore, and back to Japan. I thought everyone moved a least 10 times. By the time I became a young adult, moving alone to the East Coast, to Northern California, to Kansas, etc. was no big deal. Our hope is that through OUR travels, we can inspire a child or a friend to experience the world one day.