Meet, Plan, Go SF Event: Buy a Ticket to the World

Do you want to take a break and travel the world? Of course you do—who doesn’t? It’s the ultimate dream. The trick is moving from dreaming to doing.

You can take your first step on October 18.

Earlier this year, I wrote about the Meet, Plan, Go! organization and its event I’m hosting October 18 in San Francisco. All of the Meet, Plan, Go! events on this same night at 17 locations nationwide will feature a panel discussion and networking opportunities with individuals who fulfilled their own dreams of traveling around the world, or are currently in the planning stages. Their real-life stories and practical tips will help others overcome the challenges that all long-term travelers face.

Now, tickets are on sale, and I’m eager to introduce you to an exciting lineup of panelists and also share some great advice from one of them.


I like to think the San Francisco event is extra special for a couple of reasons. One, as detailed in an earlier post, ticket proceeds from the San Francisco event go to benefit the AFAR Foundation. Two, my lineup includes the co-founder of Meet, Plan, Go!, Sherry Ott, who is among the most qualified and interesting people on the planet to talk about career breaks and global travel.

Sherry Ott, who's currently doing so much driving, photography and writing on her way to Mongolia that she may be hallucinating gnomes. (Photo courtesy her website

Sherry calls herself a “corporate IT refugee” who has been traveling continually for almost five years and blogging at Ottsworld: Travel and Life Experiences of a Corporate America Runaway. Her photos, prose and personality completely inspire me. She’s coming to SF for the event as soon as she finishes driving nearly 10,000 miles across two continents, from London to Mongolia, as part of the Mongol Rally. Below, you’ll find a few of Sherry’s rebuttals to myths and fears about living the kind of life she does.

Also on the panel are two new friends of mine, plus my longest, best friend—my husband Morgan. That’s right, on a panel of travel experts and travel writers, Morgan will speak as a “regular guy” who used a midlife round-the-world journey to alter the course of his professional path and change his family life. He and I both will speak to issues unique to family travel and “roadschooling.”

Morgan will be joined by global traveler and writer Spencer Spellman, blogging at The Traveling Philosopher. He’s from North Carolina and recently relocated to San Francisco. I’m getting a kick out of following his summer hobby of sampling SF food trucks. Also joining us is Kristin Zibell of Take Your Big Trip, who shows how to successfully plan out and transition between professional jobs and big trips. Read more about the panelists’ backgrounds on the SF Meet, Plan Go! event page and stay tuned—I hope to announce one more big-name speaker from the travel writing field.

Spencer and Kristin talking travel earlier this summer. (Photo courtesy Lauren Nicholl from Spencer's blog)

The event costs $15 per person and takes place on a Tuesday night at the Sports Basement’s Bryant Street store (details on the event page). To kick things off, Spencer and I—and hopefully Kristin if she gets back from a trip in time—are hosting a casual meetup here in the East Bay, at Oakland’s Mua. Stop by Sunday, August 21, from approx 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. It’s a chance to meet other travel enthusiasts, tell us the questions you’d like addressed at the October event and share your summer stories. It’s free (food & drink not provided) but please register and get details here.

Some travel and career wisdom from Sherry Ott:

Recently, Lonely Planet’s blog interviewed Sherry about myths and fears that keep people from suspending or altering their career trajectory to travel. To give a taste of the topics we’ll talk about on October 18, I’m reprinting some of her answers. Click here to read her full interview.

Myth: “There’s never a good time to go.” Sherry’s reality: This sometimes feeds into people thinking their kids are too young or too old.  Or maybe they are the age that they “should be” getting married and be responsible.  There are all kinds of excuses we make for ourselves.  What people forget is that your life goes on while you are on the road … you can still meet people, your kids can still learn, you may even fall in love and get married.  For some reason we think that our possibilities end or our lives stop if we take off and do long-term traveling!

Assumption: “Travel is really expensive.” Sherry’s reply:  Tripping yourself up with the “travel is expensive” myth is a surefire way to defeat the dream before you even give it a chance to breathe. Consider this: A vacation is different from traveling. On average, a vacation that includes a flight, hotel stays, and eating out for every meal can cost anywhere from US$1,000 to $2,000 per person per week. Plus when you go on vacation, all of your other monthly expenses don’t go away. You still have to pay for your mortgage or rent, car, electricity, water, magazine subscriptions—this all continues while you are on vacation.

However, when you travel, monthly expenses go away—no more electricity, water, heating, gas, car insurance, rent, cable, internet, gym memberships, etc. Plus you stretch your airfare dollar further when you fly and stay somewhere for a month as opposed to 5 days.  The airfare is spread across 30 days instead of 5. Before you know it, your monthly expenses disappear and the amount you will need to simply travel becomes “reasonable.”

Fear: “Going back to work: the résumé/CV gap.” Sherry’s reassurance: You don’t have to hide your career break, you should address it. Include a short section about your career break and if you did any work-related activities during that time (volunteering, teaching ESL, freelancing, ran a blog).  Include an area/continent that you focused on especially if it has ties to your work in some way. Soft skills: most every career-breaker will return with better soft skills acquired from their time on the road. Key areas involve risk assessment, negotiation skills, flexibility, patience, adapting quickly to changing environments, and enhanced decision-making. List your travel website if you feel it’s professional enough to mention.

More reasons to attend the October 18 event:

The Meet, Plan, Go! national event kicked off in October 2010 in 13 cities. Here’s what a few attendees had to say. I hope they help convince you to buy a ticket to attend.

“Life-inspiring event – covering an amazing amount of relevant material.”

“Your event convinced me that my pipe dream of traveling was actually possible … and then gave me tips and tricks on how to accomplish it.”

“I loved this event! It helped reassure me that I wasn’t crazy about thinking about quitting my job to hit the road, and it connected me with many other like-minded travelers.”

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2 Responses to Meet, Plan, Go SF Event: Buy a Ticket to the World

  1. Spencer Spellman August 8, 2011 at 7:06 pm #

    Oh snap! I get more and more excited about this every day and looking forward to it. Great write-up Sarah!
    Spencer Spellman recently posted..Has Technology Desensitized us to Authentic Travel Experiences?My Profile

  2. Kristin August 9, 2011 at 6:39 am #

    Excited to be a speaker – looking forward to meeting all the travelers-at-heart!

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