And welcome to the December edition of The Career Break Site's newsletter. We've got something a bit different for you today!
We've rounded up all the best stuff of the year - blogs, pics, freebies and useful bits and pieces - and stuck them into this end-of-year extravaganza!
There's loads today - plus a special bit at the end to help you start next year with a bang - so leave whatever else it was you were supposed to be doing, and have a read of this. You'll be glad you did!
BEST OFFERS OF THE YEAR (THAT ARE STILL GOING)
The FREE Kit-Out Consultation from our mates at Nomad helps you choose what you need for your trip, which is invaluable if you've never been on a long adventure before. They really know their stuff too.
City pocket guides from Hostelworld are FREE to download and print or save. Smaller than a guidebook, they cover lots of cities around the world.
Work Your Way Around the World is a FREE guide from expert Susan Griffith which you can read online or download. It features us too!
11 Easy Steps To Get Your Gap Year Started is another FREE guide that career breakers will find invaluable.
BEST BLOG POSTS
One of the best career break planning posts we had was this one on top things to learn BEFORE you travel. Often, the planning is what makes a career break even better so doing stuff before you go away can help you have a more memorable trip!
Favourite post that we nicked from elsewhere was this one on dealing with overwhelm - a common phenomenom amongst career breakers but one that isn't much talked about.
The best guest post we had was on tips for volunteering - from an actual volunteer! Insider tips like these are really useful when you're planning your career break.
And from an emotional point of view, we really liked this post on what might really be stopping you from taking a career break - because the answer is not something that people expect!
Finally, our favourite fun post was 13 things I don't miss about England when I go travelling - we're sure you can relate to a few of these!
BEST INTERVIEW FEATURING US
We were interviewed for loads of publications this year (some of the articles haven't even come out yet!). But probably our favourite was this radio interview with Sarah Pennells of the excellent financial website Savvy Woman. We were on a panel with along with John Lees (a career change expert) and Sara Howard, who's a life coach, talking about career breaks and career changes.
AWARD-WINNER OF THE YEAR
A number of our partner organisations won awards in responsible travel, volunteering, etc, but the one we were most pleased about went to our very own colleague Sarah Longes of Mirador Design. She won the "Seasons" category in the RHS Photographer of the Year competition and you can see her winning shot here.
Our favourite new app this year has got to be Shutterbee. A fab traveller's app, it lets you record your trip, gives you stats and best of all, hooks you up with other travellers.
BEST PEOPLE ON TWITTER
Oh dear, this was really hard to narrow down. But here are a few people we think are well worth following:
Incognito UK - makers of mosquito repellent (they often tweet us discounts to share!)
Travel Insurance Direct - we hope you can work out what they do! But they tweet loads of useful travel things, not just insurance.
Green Global Travel - adventurers with a conscience.
The Travel Tart - travelling Aussie who tweets lots of fun and funny stuff.
Bemused Backpacker - travelling nurse who writes and shares posts that are super-useful for career breakers.
Mallory on Travel - a hugely popular travel account.
Tony Restell - recruitment specialist tweeting interesting things about careers, and how to get a job!
Well, we couldn't possibly be expected to pick just one, so we'll direct you to this round-up of 10 of our favourites. We're working on a follow-up with the next ten of our favourite blogs, so if there's one you'd like to nominate - especially if it's your own, drop us an email.
BEST USEFUL THING FOR TRAVELLERS
This free app called Hollie Guard turns your phone into a personal safety device. This year has seen a lot of travellers go missing (most are found fortunately) and the app can help keep you safe and let your family know where you are.
BEST TRAVEL BOOK
Lifer: How To Be A Bald Middle-Aged English Conversation Teacher In Japan by Carl Brotherstone, available on Kindle. Both funny and useful, it's a must-read for any career breaker who is thinking of doing the same.
We love the "Hidden Smiles" series - it's Vietnamese people covering their mouths while they smile, which somehow makes you want to smile too!
We also rate this series of summer photos from our mate Matt at Landlopers - the photos are really striking and varied.
BEST THING YOU CAN DO NOW TO MAKE 2016 YOUR BEST YEAR EVER
Keep in touch with us! You've already signed up to this newsletter, which is great as you'll get a monthly dose of advice and inspiration to help you keep your plans on track. But if you also follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook, you can get a more regular dose of career break loveliness. And remember, you can't just read, you've got to put your plan into action! If you need help, drop us a line. That's what we're here for.
Until next time, and next year,
And we'll see you in 2016 with our special New Year, New You Newsletter.
The Career Break Site