I experienced my first ever Meet, Plan, Go on Tuesday – a national event that I have been looking forward to for 6+ months. I discovered it via other bloggers and from Bootsnall’s daily emails. Essentially what Meet, Plan, Go is is a convention of former and future Round The World (RTW) travelers who are looking to share as well as gain knowledge about life on the road. It’s about inspiring future travelers to take the leap, go on their career break, and make it happen. It’s a room full of like minded people who “get it.” Everyone understands the concept about a ‘Career Break’ or long term travel and the aura of the entire room is overwhelmingly positive. The returnees cannot wait to share about their explorations and how it is possible for each and every person in the room to follow their dreams of extended travel. The future career breakers are all ears – soaking in every word from the panelists. Their knowledge gained and the positive reinforcement will have them on their own quest in the near future.
I had an incredible time at Meet, Plan, Go – as I said, I was looking forward to it for months and bought my ticket the day they went on sale. Friends and family love to hear your travel stories, but after a while interest may feign. At Meet, Plan, Go, EVERYONE loves to talk about travel! There was so much inspiration throughout the night which was lead by Lisa Lubin (LL World Tour) and several panelists returning from their respective RTW trips. I hope that this post will capture my experience as well as encourage you to attend MPG in the future and look into achieving your own career break! Tuesday, October 16, 2012 I arrive home from work just in time for the weekly Tuesday Travel Talk on Twitter (#TTOT) travel discussion hosted by various twitter users around the globes. (To be explained in a future post) I make my way to Bar Louie and see this final Tweet from Josh & Caroline from Traveling 9 to 5:
I make my way to Bar Louie and I am greeted with a line waiting to get into MPG – I could already feel the positive vibes emanating from the room. I was welcomed with a warm smile from one of the panelists, attach my name tag with an ice breaker which included:
Future Travel Destination
I make my way to the far side of the room and I’m greeted instantaneously by the ever so sweet, Ann Becker, who immediately recognizes me only from our previous Twitter discussions and I have been looking forward to meeting her for quite some time now. She is an expert in Costa Rican travel as well as consulting. We share a few pleasant words before she resumes conversation with a fellow traveler and I introduced myself to another young aspiring traveler, Amber. She was the perfect person to attend MPG – ready to travel, wanting to travel, but she had a few questions and concerns before being fully committed and confirming that travel was the right decision for her. They were very reasonable concerns – she asked many of the same questions I had only a few months back – prior to my decision to take the leap. As a whole, with a little encouragement and the reassurance that Meet, Plan, Go provided – I have no doubt that she will be exploring the world in no time!
While Amber and I were speaking, I received a tap on my shoulder, I looked over and I was asked “Are you Kyle Goes Global?” A giant grin overwhelmed my face as someone who I had never met before recognized me from following my blog. Montana was a fellow Illini grad and looking forward to traveling soon too. After a brief conversation, it was time for MPG to officially begin. Lisa introduced herself and the other panelists who each gave a word of advice and a tale of their adventure and then she captivated the audience with an inspiring speech and video about all of the positive aspects of RTW travel. I could feel the excitement in the air, I knew MPG would live up to the pedestal I’d put it on for months and I was eager to meet more travelers!
Lisa introduced the crowd to each of the panelists who spoke about their respective travels. They each addressed various concerns that your everyday traveler has and spoke about how they were easily able to acclimate back into their former or new career fields. Next, we were introduced to the Family on Bikes via Skype, who biked from Alaska to Argentina with their two sons between the ages of 10 and 13 while on their three year journey. What a story!
As we broke into small groups for more Q&A and information, I introduced myself to Kyle & Bessie Crum, from @OurOwnPath. It was great to put a name to a face, as Bessie and I had been tweeting about Spanish language schools in Guatemala just a few weeks earlier. They have an incredible story being on the road traveling, living and working for 4.5 years! Next, I introduced myself to Ryan and Laura from @RoundWeGo and told them how I’d been tweeting with Josh and Caroline from Traveling 9 to 5 in #TTOT just prior to MPG. They met at MPG in a previous year and stayed in touch ever since. MPG provides these opportunities – it’s such a great place to learn about travel and meet people who have actually done it and arrived home safely with stories to last a life time! We spent the next ~hour in three separate breakout sessions of our own choosing about travel insurance, housing, TEFL, volunteering, social media, and solo travel. Each group had various panelists leading the discussions and I was able to learn more from travelers who have made their trips a reality. I spoke in the second discussion about how quickly I have learned about the power of social media and how I’m ridiculously new to this myself, but how it has completely changed the way I look at travel just over the past two months. The last (personal) highlight before the grand prize giveaways was in the final discussion group about solo travel when one of the panelists, Leora, saw my name tag and recognized me from social media and I was able to speak briefly again to our small group. I gave the group a ten second synopsis of my travel plans and how I’ve structured my life style to make my Latin American adventure a reality.
One of my personal goals for my trip is to inspire as many other people to follow their dreams, and explore the world at their own pace. Whether it’s from my blog, inspirational quotes, storytelling, or guiding them in person – I want everyone to take the leap. Meet, Plan, Go was such a rewarding experience. The wealth of knowledge contained within each traveler is so immense. In today’s day in age, it is easier than ever to share that with others and Meet, Plan, Go has provided this to so many travelers since its founding. Lisa closed up a great evening with some giveaways, and I was fortunate to win one of the raffles for ten of my closest friends for dinner & drinks at Bar Louie in the near future – which, given I leave for Central America in 12 days…Saturday is looking like a great day! As the event closed, further intermingling begun. I spoke to Megan and Val whose stories I’d read in the past, and it was great to pick their brains in person. Putting a name to a face is such a great feeling and to know that you can count on them for trustworthy advice and guidance. I spoke to Eric who drove a motorcycle across Siberia in February in -30 degree weather and loved every second. I heard about Christine and Mike’s adventures and am looking forward to hearing more in the future! However, the conversation that stood out the most at the end of the evening was as follows. Two separate future travelers approached me and told me their respective stories. One who was ready to go at a moments notice, however, he was saving for a plane ticket and just going to leave as soon as he could afford his flight. He knew he’d have to make ends meet, make money somehow, but at least he’d be seeing the world. The other, Rachel, commuted four hours just to attend MPG and she was also ready to go at a moments notice. She’s seriously considering showing up at the airport and finding a reasonable flight to a place she’s never heard of before and figuring it all out when she arrives! I loved hearing this – I told them both to go for it and I’m looking forward to hearing about their adventures soon!
If you’re on the fence, and seriously looking to go on a trip, contact me – I promise to devote my time to you and answer your questions that I have had answered by others. It means the world to me to inspire others to take their dream trip as well. Feel free to reach out, comment below, and I look forward to interacting with you as we work together to make your dreams a reality! I really can’t say enough how great of an experience Meet, Plan, Go was as a whole. I truly hope and believe that attendees to MPG were inspired and much more likely to chase their dreams now. The little extra push that the evening provided is enough to jump start travel planning. If friends or family have been holding you back, it introduces you to so many other, normal, travelers who have done the same thing before you and loved it. I will always look forward to Meet, Plan, Go each October and I hope to one day be a returnee and a panelist myself!