Career Break Travel, Featured, Inside My Head, Travel Advice

Excuses That Prevent You From Taking a Career Break And Traveling

27 Comments 27 September 2012

annapurna circuit

Are your excuses keeping you from experiencing this?


A reason or explanation put forward to defend or justify a fault.

Or if I put it in my everyday terms, excuses are convenient ways to chicken out. At least that’s what I believe. 70% of us go through life making excuses because we are scared, tired, risk averse, depressed, lack confidence, bored, and lazy. And trust me – when it comes to taking career breaks to travel – I’ve heard them all…excuses come pouring out of people as if you opened the flood gate. They are flimsy, not well thought out, and the are what keep us cemented in place, in ruts, and ultimately unhappy.  For every excuse – I can offer you a counterargument and examples of people who have shattered those excuses and have fought through their fears.

It costs too much

No, you don’t have to be rich to travel. Travel is not a 52 week vacation where you stay in hotels and fly from city to city doing tours and splurge on once-in-a-lifetime restaurants. It’s life…on the road…and you can be as frugal or extravagant as you want. When you are traveling – you don’t have expenses like cable/internet bills, car insurance, rent payments, or electricity bills. All you really have to worry about when you travel is food, accommodation, and transportation. You can travel to more economical parts of the world like Africa, South America, or SE Asia. You can even work while you travel. If you don’t believe me – then check out these people’s travel budgets for a year of travel.  You don’t need to be rich.

It’s career suicide

I haven’t met a traveler or a career breaker who ever said…”I shouldn’t have done that – it ruined my career.” Travel may indeed make you look at your career and the definition of ‘success’ differently. And travel will most definitely make your stand out in a crowd of other resumes. Just ask Michael Bontempi – How a career break helped my career.  Plus – consider all of the soft skills you will learn and perfect when traveling. There is no reason to even have a gap on your resume – you can fill it with all kinds of travel experience that translates into career experience.
How to account for a travel on your resume.

I may get mugged, raped, killed, taken hostage

Yes – absolutely – I totally agree with this excuse – it MAY happen! However – the likelihood that it WILL happen in a foreign country is about as likely as it could happen in your own town. We have been programmed via news media to be scared to go to other countries – but realize – you are only seeing what the news producers want you to see and feel. And they know that fear is an emotion that keeps people tuned in.  After traveling to over 50 countries for extended periods – I can safely tell you that I am more fearful of violence (and pointless violence) in America than any other country.  I was recently in Turkey when the Colorado Batman shooting happened – and one of my local friends there said to me, “I don’t understand – why does this happen in America?  Things like that don’t happen here.”  And he’s right – crazy violence around popculture, and highschool/teenage violence – is seen more  America.  Every country has violence – but to think that America is the safest place to be is just wrong.

pets and kids

Kids and pets top the excuse list

I have kids

Here’s a shocker….kids can indeed travel. They let them on planes, boats, trains, and in cars.  They can get a passport and visas.  They can indeed travel.  They can be homeschooled while traveling. In fact – most people will tell you that travel is the best education there is.
Don’t believe me – then here’s people who have done it – or are currently doing it with kids – they aren’t super heroes, they aren’t rich (see exsue #1!!)…they are normal families.
Family on Bikes
Van Loen Adventures (on the road now)
4 Suitcases 
Away Together 
Toomey Adventures

I have a dog/cat/gerbil/horse that needs me

Just like kids that grow up and leave home to figure out life without you, so will your pets. Animals are adaptable – and contrary to our human opinion – change is good for them too! Find a petsitter or someone to take your pets when you are gone – it’s only temporary.  I gave away my cat 6 years ago and just recently my friend who took her sent me a picture of ‘my’ cat – just as mischievous as ever. Sometimes you have to realize that you are not the center of the universe and that life goes on – even for pets.   In order to live the life you want, or accomplish a dream – you may have to do things that temporarily cause sadness – but realize it’s temporary.


It’s irresponsible

life's mistakes

People say this because they actually think that there is a right way and a wrong way to live life. People ‘should’ be settling down and having a family, should invest in a home, should do what everyone else it doing. Most people don’t like people to deviate from the norm and when they do they call it irresponsible. And let me ask you this – do you want to finish you life and be able to say, “I lived a responsible life…boy was that great.” If so – then super – but if that makes you cringe, and you think there’s more to life than being responsible – then start to shake things up.

You are running away from something

My answer to this excuse is “so what.” Sometimes you do need to distance yourself from your past or your routine in order to clear your mind, and work through a situation. Pondering a recent divorce or life change while hiking up to Everest Base Camp or even questioning your life decisions while on a bus filled with motion sickness in Morocco can actually be the best thing for you.

You can’t leave a job with a good salary

They call it the golden handcuffs for a good reason.  I don’t know about you – but the though of being handcuffed to my job isn’t a vision I like.  How do you know that there’s not a better job or career out there- one that can bring you more happiness. Salary does not correlate to happiness – just ask the NY Times – Don’t Indulge, Be Happy. So instead of concentrating on dollars, concentrate on your own happiness.

You’ll never get hired again

After doing long term travel you do not get branded with a scarlet letter “U” for Unemployable. That’s just crazy shit to think that. And anyone who tells you that is not at your friend or ‘on your side’. Travel will open so many new doors, you may be overwhelmed with the new directions your career can go. Look at Adam Seper who was a schoolteacher and now is the online editor for – a travel website all about Around the World Travel! My motto – never say never.

I have a house I can’t leave

Just because you have a house doesn’t mean that YOU have to be inhabiting it! Don’t let your house be the anchor that cements you in place. Temorarily subletting it or renting it a a totally viable option . Or use your house to leverage your travels – do a home swap with someone in a country you want to visit!

I would get homesick

Yes – you may. You may miss things that are familiar to you as well as your friends and family. But who says they can’t come join you on segments of your travels? They are just as capable of getting on a plane as you are. During my travels I invited friends and family to join me for parts of my travels. To my surprise I had about 7 different people take me up on that offer – friends and family. Bring your ‘home’ to you!

People will think I’m crazy

Big deal – people think Jack Nicholson is crazy…but last I checked he was doing pretty well! Crazy is the new cool.  If you are going to live out your adult life and decisions based on what other people think…well…good luck.  Sounds like you may be stuck at age 16 – isn’t it time to get un-stuck?  This BootsnAll article may help –  Why it’s not crazy for professionals to quit their jobs and travel the world.

growth quote You can’t afford to take a risk right now

There’s never a good time to take a risk – after all a risk is the process of taking a chance with no guaranteed outcome. If life were guaranteed – it would be boring. Really – it would – just think about it. B-O-R-I-N-G. If you’d rather wait until there’s a good time to take a risk…then get used to being stuck right where you are today. No risk, no reward.

It’s not safe to travel alone

Studies have shown that the odds of getting sexually assaulted by a stranger on the street are practically negligible compared to it happening from someone you know. You can reduce your vulnerability by common sense measures all travelers should follow, male and female, such as not wandering down strange alleys alone at night, and using a money belt.
Further, being in a group can often make you more vulnerable to theft as many people decrease their vigilance when traveling in a group.

I have no one to travel with

Ummm…so what? When you travel, you are only alone when you want to be – there are so many opportunities to make friends on the road when you are solo. In my opinion, if you have to get your strength and confidence to travel from someone else – then good luck in life. Find your inner personal strength – you may never thought you had it in you – but you do -just as Val Broman . Plus – consider this – when you are traveling solo – you never have to compromise your itinerary. If you want to go shopping one day instead of site seeing – you can.

I don’t speak another language

I don’t speak another language. I’ve traveled to 50+ countries. I’ve been able to communicate in all of them. English is the language of the world and you can normally find SOMEONE in a village, town, or city that knows a little bit of English. Granted, not everyone will know it, so when you come across someone staring at you blankly, then try to move on and ask someone else.  How to Remove Language Barriers

stop sign in arabic

Don’t let language stop you!

I don’t know where to begin – it seems to hard

Boy do I have the event for you then! Meet Plan Go events will give you a jolt of high powered inspiration and all of the resources you need to begin….and it will take you through to stepping onto that plane.

Meet Plan Go 2012

Can’t make it to the event – then join the online class and get all the instruction you need to get you over the hurdles, through the planning stages, and on the plane.

My spouse won’t support me

I always thought marriage was about compromise and support. I have met many people where their significant other was unsure about the other’s crazy travel dream – but they worked through it – just like any marriage can. Sometimes you have to be creative like Keith Savage. And personally – I think using your spouse as an excuse is flimsy…and maybe so is your relationship if you can’t compromise and allow each other to pursue their dreams.

It’s not a good time to to leave in this economy

Really – is it ever a good time? There will always be unemployment, there will always be debt – big deal. Sometimes escaping a bad economy and laying low in a country with a cheap cost of living can be a lifesaver! It’s much easier to be unemployed in Vietnam than it is in New York City as the cost of simply living is vastly different. And what if you are laid off and looking for a job – have you ever thought of making the most of it and hit the road? That’s exactly what San Francisco’s Spencer Spellman , Boston’s Brian E. Peters, and New York’s Sheryl Neutuch did after unexpectedly losing their jobs. For all, a seemingly bad situation ended up being a blessing in disguise.

I’m too old

The minute you start using age as an excuse – you might as well get fitted for dentures and a cane and give up now. Career Break travel isn’t just for twenty- and thirty-somethings. Baby Boomers are doing long term travel more an more. And Meet Barbara Weibel from Hole in the Donut – she’s 60 and nothing is slowing her down as she travels to places like Nepal and Mexico. Want more – then check out New York’s Larissa and Michael Milne turned 50 and decided to breakaway and travel for a year and Boston’s Ellen Martyn spent her career break bicycling across the country with a group of women all over age 50!

I don’t know what to do with my couch/car/food processor

Trying to figure out how to simply get through these first steps of putting your life on hold to do longer term travel can be tough…but we let these little things turn into big things and soon our couch is not a couch – but an anchor.
Need some help getting rid of that couch – then check out the ebook Getting Rid of It from Career Breakers Warren and Betsy Talbot of In 2008 Warren and Betsy Talbot put their decluttering and downsizing skills to the ultimate test:  How much travel could your junk buy you? Only one way to find out

No more excuses…if you really want to do it – then stop with the flimsy excuses.

Don’t know where to start? I have wonderful veteran travelers who will show you how you can get over your hurdles and excuses on Oct. 16th in 10 cities – No more excuses – just get a ticket!

What flimsy excuses have you heard form people?  Share in the comments!

Your Comments

27 Comments so far

  1. Talon says:

    I love the “I have kids so can’t travel” excuse. If I can do it as a single parent, a family with 2 parents sure in the hell can!

  2. kmd says:

    What about “I don’t want to take a career break”?

    I like travel, I travel at least once a year (and often 3 times a year). But 2 weeks at a time is good for me.

    TBH, the idea that I would just give away my pets (which I have made a commitment to, when I rescued them) or just uproot my family is preposterous. While yes, travel can be good for kids, not all people are going to be good at homeschooling. I teach college kids, and I tried to teach 6-8 year olds this summer. No. I am not the one to be teaching kids. And routine is good for kids. Just because some people *can* do it doesn’t mean it’s ok or possible for *all people* and *all children* to do it.

    You think you want to haul around kids to all ends of the earth? Fine, go do it, more power to you! But for me, travel with kids – especially young ones who will restrict the things I want to do – is not for me.

    Also, not all people are privileged enough to be able to afford FOOD let alone travel. You may not need to be rich but you are ignoring privilege.

    Frankly, I find this post to be fairly judgmental.

  3. Good work, that’s a lot of excuses! I do think for some people it’s better to travel short-term as opposed to committing to a year-long RTW. It seems especially as you get older you tend to put roots down in one place. At my age though I’m ready for anything, no food processor here!

  4. outthestudio says:

    leaving spain due to its difficult economic situation is THE main reason why we turned into nomadic designers. Now we either get paid the same small amount of cash or barter our services for basic traveler needs! Great post BTW. lets hope everyone gets of their as*es and starts traveling, We think its necessary to understand the complexity of the world , life etc.! once again, great post!

  5. Gigi says:

    Re: pets and travel…

    It’s also become more and more realistic to take your pets along. I travel the world with my small dog, Luna ( The Wynns travel the US with their cats ( Sonja (, Akila (, and Mary-Alice ( all travel with their dogs as well.

    It certainly dictates how fast you can travel and where, but it IS possible to travel with your fuzzy friend!

  6. Andrew says:

    Really true but eye opening advice’s !

  7. Mikeachim says:

    If any of these reasons are behind not wanting to travel, then they’re worth thinking about and this post is well worth a read. But some people…simply don’t want to travel.

    And I get that. I know people who want to stay put, and they’re not staying put because they feel trapped or scared, they just want a particular lifestyle that staying put will give them. Or they hate the act of travelling (I kinda see their point when it comes to air travel).

    And long-term travellers, when they burn out, as so many do, just want to stay put and not travel, and that’s a valid reaction too.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am totally behind the idea of travel as the opportunity for transformative, life-changing experiences. But I get twitchy when I see posts (implicity or otherwise) equating “not travelling” with “coming up with excuses”. Because that’s not always right. :)

    • Sherry says:

      Mike – I understand that traveling and especially long term travel isn’t for everyone. I probably should have framed it up better I wrote this because the impetus for this post came from the fact that I hear, “I wish I could do that (travel) like you” comment all the time, but it’s always followed by one of these excuses. This is for the people who have the spark and the interest to travel or take a big trip once in their life and they can’t see to see past these excuses. I get frustrated when people cam’t see that in these situations they are their own worst enemy. If you have excuses like this in life about travel – odds are they are using excuses in the rest of their life for something they want to do (not travel related) and don’t.

      • Mario says:

        I can relate to that.
        I do travel a lot for work and every year twice on vacation. BUt i don’t really like it, is like a “job”, i do it because my girlfriend likes it.

        I see traveling as a good oportunity to spend some time with your girlfriend or spouse, but for the sake of the travel itself it’s quite a loss of energy and money.

        I have the money, the time, i am not afraid, i don’t think it’s risky, but if i wouldn’t have a girlfriend to travel with, i would stay at home.

        • Roma says:

          I don’t like travel. I don’t like flying, I don’t like being in any 3 world country with crazy people and dirty food.
          This is not for everyone. I will better go to Carnegy hall for a good concert and buy something nice to myself.
          No !!! My home is Tahoe best place for me

  8. Mikeachim says:

    Oh, and I used “you can’t afford to take a risk right now” as an excuse for years until I started chipping away at my idea of “risk” until I found a way through it. :) The stories we tell ourselves are powerful.

  9. Bea says:

    Great post. I couldn’t have said it any better myself. At age 40 I’m now on my 3rd career break (I did one in my 20s and one in my 30s). I don’t regret my decisions whatsoever and often find myself much more well off than those who stay put for any (or many) of the reasons you list. While I would never judge anyone who simply does not wish to travel, I do occassionally get tired of hearing “I wish I could do that but….”

  10. Pablo says:

    “I lived a responsible life…boy was that great.”

    Buahaha I love that. I can’t understand it but I have a few friends who would be comfortable saying that. If it works for them I don’t mind, but I just can’t live with that.

    Great post! No excuses!

  11. Okay, so you broke our heart by putting us under the “too old” category but we’ll get over it. Take it from us, any time is the right time to just go already! We wish we had done it sooner.

  12. I am thankful that I know how to speak in English though I don’t sound a native speaker. At least, I can still break the language barrier. Somehow.

  13. Tom Miller says:

    Well, this is a reality check. The two biggest reason for not traveling is career and family. Leaving behind these two things will only give you more reason not to go anywhere for a week or so. But, I’ve been traveling myself and no matter what I leave behind or bring along for that matter, every time spent on these travels are worth it. It gives me a better perspective in life and something to cherish more.

    • Sherry says:

      Thanks for your comment Tom – and it’s great to know that you have moved past the excuses and reaped the benefits of travel. Hopefully one day you’ll take your family on a big trip (then you don’t have to leave them behind!)…we have lots of people who have done just that.

  14. Mary says:

    Me? I prefer traveling in groups like with my family or friends. I know the risk of travelling alone. There are lots modus operandi planned for travelers. I dont want to be one of their victims. Keep safe everyone!

  15. Believe in me traveling is not only for rich people. Everyone can travel and enjoy as much as those who have more money. We just have to have a good outlook and be satisfied even in small things. It’s all in the mind! :)

  16. Incredible! I’ve heard plenty of excuses before but never actually put them all down in a list. As a long term traveler myself, excuse making frustrates me greatly. I just hope we can inspire others to be brave enough to take the plunge.

  17. What an amazing article, I couldn’t agree more with all of these points. I recently made the decision to leave everything and travel and I get the same excuses from all of my friends. They always say “its so awesome that your going traveling I wish I could do that”. which is when I tell them they can and there is nothing stopping you. then pour the excuses. I believe you can do anything you want in life it’s all about priority and not hiding behind excuses

  18. Irina says:

    To be honest, I get really frustrated with this “stop coming up with excuses” attitude. While I agree that most of the excuses are made up, the one that I have is way too real, and your counterargument, sadly, didn’t provide me with an answer.
    Some spouses just don’t want to compromise, and that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t love me or that we have an unhappy marriage. He does compromise on the number of trips we take per year, on how much they cost us (especially considering that he’s the one who makes most of the money in our family), on the destinations, and he doesn’t mind me leaving for a week or two… but that’s about it.
    He doesn’t want to leave his career and he doesn’t want to hear of me taking off by myself for any prolonged period of time… And here comes my time to compromise no matter how much I want to pick up and go…

    • Katriona says:

      Depends what you want more…to see the world or risk upsetting or loosing your husband. The point being if you left for 6 months wouldn’t he wait for you? And if he doesn’t, it sort of suggests a lot is wrong with you marriage.

  19. Rebecca says:

    I was raised overseas: Korea, Libya, Egypt, Iran, Turkey and have had 70 major moves over my lifetime. The ONLY place I’m interested in seeing is my own country, the United States. I’ve seen some but there is a lot I haven’t except in photos or film. My husband is a college professor and typically has at most 3-4 days at a time twice a year. I’m retired but honestly, I have NO desire really to go anywhere in any case. I have spent most of my life wandering and I love having some semblance of roots…..this is the best time of my life, right here, right now. Oh and honestly, this country, the United States, is the most interesting one I’ve ever lived in. You don’t have to go far to entertain so many cultures, ideas, colors and even differences in climate.

  20. David A says:

    what you say is right …if you have a good life then travel is included in it…i look at it a bit differenetly ..i look at travel as its a blip on my computer screen its not too big nor is it very noticeable but it tells you you need it.. look at this —……get refreshed

  21. Aki says:

    What about fear of plane, train, bus, car… crashing? And some people get travel-sick.
    I might have those, also financial difficulties, and family issues, prevent me from traveling.
    If someone has more than 1 or 2 excuses, it’s like fighting bugs off you, you swipe one, others comes back on you.
    Maybe you should establish some organization, that helps people who can’t or don’t want to travel, to do so? Some people get travel addicted, and that is something that should be treated as well. There is a reason why there are countries with flags, some people love just their land, and others are to see over TV or internet, today is that enabled to anyone.

  22. At times I find that people always depend on their family or friends to work it out with them. But going in clusters often is not possible. Each one gives his or her own excuse and at the end of it, we ourselves as well cancel the plan as no one is coming along us. We feel what we would do alone, exploring an unknown territory?

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Sherry traveling the world

I'm Sherry, a corporate cube dweller turned nomadic traveler. I travel to off-the-beaten-path destinations to bring you unique travel experiences and photography. But it's not just about travel, it's also about life experiences of a middle age wanderer.
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Minnesota/Wisconsin -> Nebraska

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