I recently had the opportunity to sit down with The Lost Girls at the Washington, DC Travel and Adventure Show. The Lost Girls, Jennifer Baggett, Holly Corbett and Amanda Pressner, left their jobs for a year to travel around the world. During that year they explored four continents and learned a lot about themselves in the process. It was great to see them again and we had a wonderful chat about career breaks as well as their favorite spots around the world.
LandLopers: The topic of career breaks has been gaining momentum lately, and you’ve been high profile participants in those discussions. Why do you think more people seem to be seriously considering this travel option and why do you think Gap Years are so taboo in the U.S.?
Lost Girls: Our next book is actually about gap years and how to get lost in a good way. Right now the economy is a big factor in motivating people to go, and if they have the resources to do it, they’re making the plunge. One of the big problems is convincing either your employer or future employers that a gap year isn’t a bad thing. That year off doesn’t erase your professional or educational accomplishments. In fact, we believe that it makes you a better, happier employee. You’ve taken a year off and, hopefully, gotten that bug out of your system almost guaranteeing to your employer that you are there for the long haul. Once you get back from your trip not only are you more content, but there are a lot of experiences on the road that have a tendency to mature an individual. Overall, employers should LOOK for gap years instead of dismissing them.
LL: Travelocity recently conducted a study in which 69% of respondents said that they check in with work at least once while on vacation. They’ve called this trend a FakeCation. What’s your take on this travel habit?
LG: A lot of people have Most Important Person Syndrome (MIPS), they just can’t imagine that their work can carry on without them for a week or two. The fact is most people suffer from a certain level of technology burnout and everyone needs a break. Before leaving for your vacation, plan to wind down your technology use gradually. Over a week or so, stop using certain gadgets and limit the amount of time on the ones you do keep. While traveling, organize your time and set boundaries. If you have to check in with work, schedule it into your trip so that you aren’t laying on the beach with Blackberry in hand. It’s really all about prioritizing and being efficient.
LL: What is the new up and coming budget friendly city or region that people may not know about and what are your favorite culinary destinations?
LG: Luang Prabang in Laos is a great place, and very budget friendly. It’s getting more popular, but not as popular as Bangkok for example. It’s easy to get around on the cheap and they have a fantastic night market buffet where for $0.50 you can eat as much as you want. Another great place is Lisbon, Portugal. Even though it’s in Europe, most people don’t think about traveling there and they should. In spite of the Euro, Lisbon is still very affordable and is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Finally, Punta Gorda in Belize is a cool little place that can sometimes get overlooked by travelers.
As far as food goes, in addition to Laos we loved the brick oven pizzas in Cuzco, Peru and Cartagena in Colombia has become a great destination for foodies; lots of great options there.
I want to thank The Lost Girls for taking the time to chat with me. You can read more about The Lost Girls on their site Lost Girls World.