Last night I stumbled upon MeetPlanGo and within five minutes I was signed up for all four of their e-newsletters, had downloaded their travel planning checklist for “career breakers,” and was registered for a New York meetup designed to help people like me go boldly in the direction of their long-term getaway dreams.
The “gap year” between high school and college is a well-known and fairly well-respected concept, but I hadn’t ever heard of a “career break” before. It has such a legit ring to it. I was worried about being an aberrant 30-something who still feels the need to check out of real life every 4-6 years, but Meet Plan Go makes it seem like there are lots and lots of responsible adults who do this.
For lack of a better way to put it, I had been calling what I want to do a language sabbatical. That phrase is misleading because my intentions go well beyond language – I want to start out in Dakar to do French immersion, and then travel from country to country wherever my heart leads me, practicing French, learning Spanish, soaking up culture while living like a local, filming for love and also hopefully money, until my money runs out. Rather than think guiltily of myself as Jeff Spicoli, I am now going to imagine myself as the high-minded, long-range-thinking, experience-seeking woman Meet Plan Go believes me to be. (Even though I could actually stand to be a lot more Spicoli-like.)