Career Break Interview Series
As part of the Career Break Interview Series, I will be interviewing individuals who have taken a career break or sabbatical. When I was considering taking a career break, reading about other peoples experiences inspired me to hand in my notice and book my plane ticket to India. I hope reading other peoples stories will not only inspire you but also provide first-hand advice and helpful travel tips.
I had the opportunity to talk to Dan and Gabs (aka the Restless Pair) who quit their 9-5 jobs and have spent the last year working and travelling around Australia. After becoming pros at house-sitting they managed to save $10,000 and got to look after cute dogs at the same time...what is not to love?! Dan and Gabs are about to head off to New Zealand and Asia and will be sharing their adventure on their blog the Restless Pair.
So onto the interview:
What jobs were you doing before you left to travel the world?
Before we left last May, Dan was self-employed as a personal trainer and I (Gab) worked in internal communications.
Why did you decide to quit your jobs to travel? Was it an easy decision?
We were actually only together for three months when we decided to take 12 - 18 months out. We'd both always wanted to travel and I was planning to do TEFL in Vietnam before I met Dan, then a few weeks after we got together we spontaneously booked our flights! We then started doing loads of little breaks away to make sure we could travel together :')
I think we'd both had enough of routine and had both been looking for that opportunity. Dan had been in the same job for eight years, so a change was overdue but it was a unanimous decision. Saving the money was the only hard part!
Did you ask your employer for a sabbatical or did you decide to hand in your notice?
We thought it's now or never so let's quit, take at least a year and stay flexible!
How did your employers take the news you were leaving to travel?
Everyone was super supportive - employers, friends and family all totally understood and ended up giving us all their travelling tips! I remember my boss was so nice and I felt so bad for leaving I just burst into tears, it was fairly embarrassing.
Where have you visited so far and what are your future travel plans?
Our plan was always to spend a year working and travelling in Australia, but we couldn't hack the 24+ hour flight time! To break it up we spent a week in both Singapore and Indonesia.
We've had an amazing year in Australia and met some awesome people. We've house-sat for around 7 of the 12 months we've been here, which has enabled us to see so much. We've also looked after 20 dogs, which has been great.
We've driven over 25000km in our little campervan so have seen a huge amount. We started in Perth, drove up the west coast to Darwin, then headed down the middle to Adelaide via Uluru and Coober Pedy. After doing the Great Ocean Road to Melbourne we drove to Sydney for New Year and now we're in Brisbane (phew)! The plan is to fly up to Cairns before leaving Oz in May. Next up is New Zealand's south island, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia. Then we'll be flying home around August.
Do you have any money saving tips when travelling long term or travel hacks?
We've actually managed to save over $10,000 through house-sitting alone during our year in Oz. It's been so great and we've loved it so much we've even written a guide on it (which you can download here)!
Dan's favourite thing is saving money (I'm not kidding) and his spreadsheets give me a headache, he's got heaps! There are plenty of apps like Fuel Map Australia to track the lowest price for fuel in your area and Eat Club which has saved us up to 40% off meals. He's also managed to earn us over $200 from cashback sites, he really needs to write a book/get out more!
It's also just being sensible, we haven't blown all our money on booze and we have had to work. It's been about balance and being a bit thrifty at times!
What are the highlights of your trip so far?
Dan had the crazy (for us, at least) idea to climb Mount Rinjani, a 3700m high active volcano, in Lombok. We'd never done anything like it, and while it was an incredible experience I probably won't do anything like it again!
My highlight would be swimming with whale sharks in the Ningaloo Reef. It was better than I could have ever imagined and they're such majestic animals. Would highly recommend to anyone around the Ningaloo area.
Singapore has definitely been our favourite country so far, we'd love to move there one day. The sights of the city, like Gardens by the Bay, are so impressive and the food hawker markets are cheap enough to eat there every day. So we did :)
Dan has loved every minute, he can't pick a highlight (sorry)!
If you had to give one piece of advice to somebody considering taking a sabbatical or career break, what would it be?
We're team career break! You're never too old to travel and the 9-5 will always be there if/when you get back.
Do you have any plans for when you return home?
Cry? Haha no, we honestly have no idea. Dan's dream is to renovate houses and I'd love to open a glamping business. Or maybe become an alpaca farmer. Who knows, we'll see! If anyone wants to fund us/has a spare million lying around that would be grand.
Tell us a bit about your blog the ‘Restless Pair’.
Ah, it's still a baby travel blog really - we started it as a travel journal for family back home! Now it's full of our treasured memories, thrifty tips and some handy guides/itineraries.
We've seen some impressive blogs out there and we're constantly trying to improve and grow. We've been really inspired by the likes of Faramagan (who are now really good friends and coming to Tokyo with us!), Dip Your Toes In and Nomadic Matt.
Thank you Gabs and Dan for talking to Career Break Kate about your experience of taking a career break and I hope you enjoy the next part of your trip (I am extremely jealous).
I completely agree with their advice that there will always be a job when you get home, and you are never too old to follow a passion.
If you have taken a career break or sabbatical and have a story to tell, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to be a part of the interview series.
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