Design Your Life

The Career Break

By Tausha Cowan

Share

Several months ago, I attended a meet up held by Meet, Plan, Go in conjunction with AFAR. The topic of discussion: taking a “career break” to travel the world. The concept is interesting—leaving your job and life behind to experience different countries and cultures for an extended period of time. While I’m not at the point in my life where I envision myself doing this (note: I consider my “career break” to be when I moved to London to get my master’s degree and traveled to various countries in Europe and North Africa), it was fascinating and enlightening to meet people who had taken a career break. There were also many attendees who had not taken a break but were just as passionate about travel, incorporating it into their lives in whatever way possible.

According to a study from the Center for Economic and Policy Research, the United States is the only highly developed nation that does not require employers to offer paid vacation time. In Australia, businesses are required to provide employees with 35 days off. Yes, that’s right: 35 days! In several countries in Europe: 31. America: A big ole 0.

In today’s global and hyper-connected world, this strikes me as a missed opportunity for the U.S. and a big reason why the idea of a “career break” can sound so alluring. We are an overworked nation; that cannot be denied. More than that, we are a nation that is not nearly knowledgeable enough about the world. Travel is one of the ways to become more knowledgeable. As the saying goes, “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” With each trip I take, I am increasingly convinced of its truth.

During a flight from Thailand to Hong Kong, I ended up in conversation with the passenger next to me. At first I was more determined to sleep than speak with this person, but I soon found myself showing her pictures of my travels and hearing about her adventures roaming around Chiang Mai via motorcycle (clearly she was the gutsier one). We also discovered a shared background in journalism—her, a newspaper journalist in Dongguan in southern China, and me, a media and communications professional in New York City. I learned about what it’s like being a journalist in China (not the easiest, as one can imagine) and, in turn, she learned about working in media in New York and some of the ways in which the business environment is changing. It was, and continues to be, one of those conversations and experiences you can’t quite create when you don’t go anywhere.

As careers evolve and businesses adapt to the changing environment, global perspective is key. Thus, it is almost mind boggling to realize that not only do Americans barely travel and take vacation compared to the rest of the world, but also the vacation policies of many businesses do not encourage it. Why not change your policy, encourage employees to take time off and travel, whether domestically or internationally, and see what new perspective they bring back? I have a feeling the long term impact would more than pay off.

Share
Travel Noire

Tausha Cowan

Tausha is a media and communications professional and founder of theglobegetter.com. She got her first taste of international travel at a very young age and has been hooked ever since. Born in South Florida to Jamaican parents, she's also lived in Ghana, London and Paris and now resides in New York City. Tausha enjoys storytelling, creating travel itineraries (sometimes for real trips), dinner parties and seeking out new restaurants. Her weaknesses include tacos, French macarons and an Olivia Pope-sized glass of wine.

Want more?

Get exclusive, unpublished tips from Travel Noire's CEO to help you get off the beaten path, into the hearts of locals and onto a better, more cultured life.

How My Sexual Assault Has Affected My Life As A Traveler

How My Sexual Assault Has Affected My Life As A Traveler

Hartfield-Jackson Airport is my favorite airport. It’s my hometown airport. Hartfield is where I took my first flight to Los Angeles with my high school marching band to play in the Rose Bowl Parade at the age of 15. It also marks the place where I met the man who sexually assaulted me. Meeting him […]

Bianca Lambert

Number of Airport Security ‘No Shows’ Increase During Shutdown

Number of Airport Security ‘No Shows’ Increase During Shutdown

As the partial government shutdown continues into its fourth week, the number of airport security screeners not showing up for work is increasing. The number of no-shows among screeners reported by the Transportation Security Administration jumped to 6.8 percent compared to 2.5 percent this last year. Yesterday’s complete figures show that TSA experienced a national […]

Mitti Hicks

7 Unconventional Ways To Save Money While Traveling

7 Unconventional Ways To Save Money While Traveling

No matter your budget, it always feels good to save money while traveling. Whether it’s on a flight, on luggage fees, or an attraction, keeping money in your pocket is always a plus. Here are seven alternative ways to save a few dollars on your next trip. Book The Layover Layovers are generally not ideal […]

Bianca Lambert