28 March 2019
10 excuses you're using to put off a life-changing experience

If you're on this site, you've thought about long-term travel, volunteering abroad, going on a course, or even taking a full-blown career break. But you are still sitting at your desk, piddling about on the internet, instead of booking your ticket. Why?

Here are ten excuses.

How many are you using?

1. I haven't got that kind of money

Here's a secret: most people on a career break haven't got that kind of money either. They save up for months, sometimes even years, to take a career break. They also make sure they're earning while they're on their travels – whether that's through working abroad, teaching English, or simply by renting out their house to cover the mortgage. Also, living abroad is often much cheaper than living in the UK, so it doesn't necessarily cost as much as you think it does.

2. I can't leave my cat / grandma

You might be using this as an excuse because it's difficult to accept that there are people or things that can do without you for a few months. What would really happen if you left someone else to look after Mittens / Nanna for a bit? Would the world implode?

3. I can't leave my partner

Well the simple answer is to take them with you, if they're up for it! If they react with horror to the idea, you can leave them at home. You won't die if you're apart for a bit and if you're worried about one of you straying, maybe you should ask yourself if you should be in that relationship at all.

4. Work can't do without me

It's admirable that you're so committed to your job, but like the cat / grandma scenario above – how much of this is you needing to be needed? If you do a good handover, couldn't a temp do your job for a bit, or your colleagues cover for you? Plenty of people take sabbaticals these days because they and their work find a way to manage their absences. You can too.

5. I wouldn't know where to start

Most people who've taken a career break have been in the same place as you at the outset. They don't know what's available or what would suit them. A good place to start is to browse through the career breaks that tickle your fancy, or follow people like us on Twitter. You'll soon stumble on something that sounds right up your street!

6. People like me don't do that sort of thing

Sadly, this kind of thinking traps people like you in silly little boxes – when you could be out using all your fantastic skills and talents to benefit yourself, and others. There are all kinds of people who make a decision to change their lives, and lots of them are just like you. In fact, some of them have more reasons not to do it than you do - whether that's a crippling anxiety disorder, no money or trouble planning stuff.

7. I'm too old

As long as you can do something, you're not too old. You don't have to hare around the world with a backpack, sleeping in hostels and climbing mountains. There are tons of things for older people to do, and many volunteering organisations actively recruit older folk because of the buckets of experience and skills they've acquired.

8. I'm too scared

All the more reason to go. Facing your fears is the best way to get over them! To get started, have a look at some forums on the countries you'd like to go to, or the things that you'd like to do. Ask questions, tell people what you're nervous about, and you should get plenty of reassurance from people who've been there, done that, and come back in one piece.

9. Everybody's doing it these days and I don't want to be one of the crowd

Actually, not everyone is doing it. It's true that career breaks and similar experiences have really taken off in the last few years, but if you go too, you'll still be in a minority. Besides, if you're worried it's too mainstream, you can always opt for a more unusual career break – there are loads of weird and wonderful things you can do that are a bit out of the ordinary. Whatever you decide to do, your career break will be unique to you.

10. I don't want to

Fair enough, but then why are you reading this?! Maybe you're telling yourself you don't want to because it's too difficult, expensive or any number of other reasons. If you truly don't want a life-changing experience then fine, but if a part of you does, don't you owe it to yourself to at least see what's out there?


The best place to start is by looking at all your career break options here.