Meet, Plan, Go Gets Going to Fulfill Travel Dreams and Benefit “Learning Afar”

I’ve been posting a lot of stories about marathoning, ultrarunners and my personal race reports. More are coming soon. But now, it’s time to put the “trip” back in The Runner’s Trip with travel-related news about the Meet, Plan, Go! gathering I’m hosting in San Francisco.

If you feel stuck … if you want to run away on a big adventure … if you want to change your perspective and expand your mind … if you want to bond with your partner and kids on a deeper level than ever before … if you want to re-evaluate your values and direction in life … if you want to learn about and experience utterly different places around the world … then read on about an event for people like you!

As detailed in an earlier post, Meet, Plan, Go! will take place one night—Tuesday, October 18—in 17 cities simultaneously. The purpose is to provide a forum for people who dream of—or are already planning—a long-term and possibly career-changing journey, so they can meet people who’ve actually done it and hear practical advice about how to do it.

Why & Where?

I sincerely hope this event helps many people put their travel aspirations into action. The “why” goes beyond evangelizing travel as a force for good in the world and a vehicle for personal growth. I’m excited to announce that the San Francisco event has the added purpose of raising money and awareness for a very worthwhile nonprofit: the AFAR Foundation and its program Learning Afar. All ticket proceeds will go to support the foundation, which is the philanthropic arm of San Francisco-based AFAR Media and works to help underprivileged students see and experience the world.

The AFAR Foundation, in partnership with the nonprofit Global Explorers, started Learning Afar, a program that promotes cross-cultural exchange and education by sponsoring international travel for low-income students from Oakland, Chicago, New York and Houston. In 2010, Learning Afar sent high school students to Costa Rica; this year, students in the program are heading to Cambodia and Peru to learn about those cultures while also focusing on conservation and climate change issues.

This video gives a glimpse at last year’s Learning Afar participants:

More good news: I found a place to hold the event. We’ll meet at the Sports Basement Bryant Street store in San Francisco, which generously opens its doors for community nonprofit events. Thanks, Sports Basement! It’s a funky gallery space a floor below the sporting goods sections, with about a dozen oddly upholstered sofas mixed in with folding chairs, big enough to accommodate a couple hundred people. And there’s parking nearby. It’ll be great :-).

Meet interesting, inspirational global travelers right here in the Bay Area

I took this snapshot of my husband Morgan during a run in Argentina's lake district in the fall of 2009. Leaving home and suspending our careers to see the world with our kids was the best thing we ever did, period.

For the October 18 event, I’m asking a panel of passionate travelers to speak and take questions from the audience. They all took a break from their regular lives to go on an international adventure, returned changed for good (or are still traveling with no end date), and re-established themselves in jobs and communities on terms they found more fulfilling. Their talk, along with social networking and info available at the event, will show how it’s possible to overcome the financial, professional, logistical and personal hurdles that limit so many people’s break from work and time for travel to an occasional one or two weeks off.

I’ll announce the panelists at a later date but for now can say that both Morgan and I will be there to speak about our family’s round-the-world experiment in extreme quality time, which involved homeschooling and branching out professionally. Also on hand will be Sherry Ott of Ottsworld, who co-founded Briefcase to Backpack, the organization that launched the Meet, Plan, Go! program. A self-described “corporate cube dweller turned nomadic traveler,” Sherry stopped over in San Francisco last week before she takes off on a 10,000-mile road trip from London to Mongolia as part of a team of adventure travelers on the Mongol Rally.

Together, Sherry and I hosted a casual Meet Plan Go! meetup on May 16 that attracted lots of people planning career breaks and journeys. Some notable travel industry reps and writers also showed up—people like Ross Borden, CEO of the MatadorNetwork new media travel community; Tara Russell of Three Month Coaching and Consulting for career breaks and extended travel (and last year’s MPG host); Edward Hasbrouk, author of The Practical Nomad; Nico Crisafulli of Airtreks; and Kristin Zibell Kent of Take Your Big Trip. The point is, the Bay Area has a vibrant, supportive travel community, and I’m grateful to tap into their expertise! I intend to host another meetup in the Bay Area sometime this summer—details TBD.

Wanna come?

Check the San Francisco Event page for updated details and a link to ticket sales. Also, you can contact me with questions and/or if you are interested in being a sponsor of the event on a local or national level.

Read more about what “Meet, Plan, Go!” is all about:

“The People You’ll Meet at Meet, Plan, Go!” – Sherry Ott’s recent post about our mid-May meetup.

“They Met, They Planned, They Went” – A recap of last year’s NYC MPG event by Spencer Spellman, aka The Traveling Philosopher, who’s moving to SF and intends to help me with the event this October (yay!).

“Meet Plan Go SF 2010” – a recap of last year’s local event from Rolf Potts’ Vagabonding site.

“Making the Dream Trip a Reality”: A New York Times article on Briefcase to Backpack and last year’s MPG event.

And one more thing …

I added a Meet, Plan, Go! category to the menu bar at the top of the blog so you can see all related stories there, and I’m updating my links page to amass useful sites, blogs and articles for long-term-travel planning there.

Meet, plan … go for it!

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3 Responses to Meet, Plan, Go Gets Going to Fulfill Travel Dreams and Benefit “Learning Afar”

  1. Spencer Spellman May 26, 2011 at 8:20 am #

    Great post Sarah and thanks for including me! I participated in the NYC event last year, as the same week of the event, I had begun my own career break/transition. Thrilled to be a part of this year’s event in San Francisco.

  2. Mark Patterson May 26, 2011 at 8:13 pm #

    Looking forward to the event this Fall! I’ve just left behind my 30 year tech career (finally) so I can finally focus on actually doing the things I love: writing, art, travel, photography. This means downsizing big time and simplifying my life – but it is completely worth it and I’m very excited about how far I’ve gotten already. It’ll be fun to hear how others are doing similar things!

    • Sarah May 26, 2011 at 8:47 pm #

      Mark, good for you and I look forward to meeting you!

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