Nearly 100 Washingtonians gathered on Tuesday September 14, to discuss travel hopes, dreams, fears, roadblocks at Meet, Plan, Go! The energy in the room was phenomenal, and our stellar panel provided lots of solid advice. The recurring theme for the evening: have confidence. Whether it's during the planning phases, while trying to explain your trip to friends and family, or during your re-entry into the workforce, the more confidence you can summon, the more successful your experience will be. And the reverse is true, as Sherry Ott pointed out in a recent post: travel will give you back that confidence in spades.
Rich Carlson of Ameriprise Platinum Financial Services encouraged us to "plan out how much you think you'll need to spend on your trip, then double it!"
Kathleen Duffy of the GW School of Business advised the group to not be ruled by "practical" experiences only. Even creative trips can yield valuable career skills when you return to the workforce.
Tara Cavanagh of InterExchange gave advice about finding work abroad, including targeting countries with less Visa restrictions (like Australia) and WWOOFing.
Nicolette Pizzitola of Compass Point Associates cracked us up with stories of her family's reaction to her career break ("you're killing your mother!") But she also provided sage advice about projecting, with bold assurance, the reason behind your trip.
Stephanie Yoder of Twenty-Something Travel gave us a sanity check about not overplanning. Be flexible! After all, they have computers in other countries.
And Kate Chandler of Away.com, moderator extraordinaire, kept things moving by feeding juicy topics to the panel and taking audience questions.
Jennifer Apple and Tim Fegan from STA Travel were on hand to provide travel advice and help us give out door prizes. Yay, prizes!
A few of my favorite tweets of the night:
@nicpiz: Fabulous night at #MPGDC - what an amazing group of global nomads, world citizens and free spirits - thank you all for showing up!
@adamkarlin: A big trip shouldn't be seen as a departure from, but continuation of what you should be doing w/your life.
@RichCarlson3: Loved @statravel's comment that the amount of preparation needed is inverse to the amount of time you'll travel!
@ctilley7: If a prospective employer can't appreciate your travel break, perhaps they aren't the best choice!
@gogastronomy: Cool, I just won a book: Two Laps Around the World @ #MPGDC. Exactly what I want to do. Fate?
@weekendretweat: Learn languages with tv, in churches & bars....bars usually have American music :)
@JohnicaReed: #MeetPlanGo Tip: Just like students should study abroad, adults should take travel sabbaticals. Makes you more interesting.
@jtemplerobinson: Talk about your dream with confidence. It is a shift when people get that you are going to get your life out of it.
Special thanks to Jim Bourg for taking these awesome photos; to Mark for being such a great booth-babe and working the reg table like a pro; and to Marilyn Terrell & the Nat Geo folks for sponsoring the extra chairs.
And, finally, much gratitude to our spectacular sponsors, who made this event possible across 13 simultaneous locations:
* view all posts and recaps from MPG events
* keep the discussion going on the Meet, Plan, Go! Facebook page
* be sure to sign up for the MPG mailing list to stay on top of future announcements
* check out the Career Break Boot Camp, coming in January 2011