Whether you're full of the Christmas spirit, or have had enough of it all already, we're here for you with December Special newsletter! This features our traditional end-of-year round-up plus we're looking forward to January (our big announcement is coming then!). We've got all the best stuff of the year, our fun advent calendar, and a sneak peak of what you can expect from us over the next few months.
So grab yourself your favourite chocolate, your favourite festive latte, settle in your comfiest chair, and have a read.
TRAVEL ADVENT CALENDAR
As always, we/ve added lots of lovely new career breaks to our site over the year. It's hard working here sometimes because we always want to go on all the career break projects and courses that we write about! You can see all our career break projects here.
Every organisation we partner with is reviewed carefully by our team before we add them, and we require them to maintain our standards in order to stay on our site. We are really proud of our vetting system, and even more proud of our wonderful partners for working so hard for you - and their colleagues and clients abroad as well. All our vetted and approved partners can be found here.
Finally, our big highlight of the year was when our founder Rachel appeared on Radio 4! She talked about career breaks on You and Yours - which she said was "nerve-wracking but exciting." You can read all about her experience and you can listen to the program, too.
GET INVOLVED NEXT YEAR
We've been lucky that so many of you have contacted us this year with your stories, questions, feedback and all sorts. We've had some great conversations with you and lots of laughs too, especially on Twitter!
We're interested in anything you tell us, but we're specifically looking for the following:
- Your stories - what happened on your career break? Where did you go? What did you do? What did you learn?
- Your anecdotes - for one of our forthcoming projects, we are looking for micro-stories - those little gems in your journey that stand out to you for whatever reason.
- Interviews - we sometimes interview career breakers with a special story to tell, or who have an unusual experience.
- Your tips and advice from other travellers - this is really valuable because we don't have all the answers (even though we pretend to) and advice from people who have been there and done it can make another traveller's experience so much more special.
BEST OF THE BLOG THIS YEAR
Our best funny post was the Top ten most weird places on earth that you won't believe are real. We absolutely loved writing this post and are still planning to visit the abandoned cement factory in Estonia (but not Snake Island, we're not that brave!).
Although we write mostly about travel, as this is The Career Break Site, we also sometimes write about... well... careers. Our top careers post this year was called This is why you're not getting any of the jobs you apply for and is hopefully self-explanatory. It was inspired by our own experience of hiring... oh wait, we nearly said too much there!
The most sensitive - and one of the most popular - posts this year was 10 ways to look after your mental health while you travel. We've done quite a lot of work with career breakers who have mental health issues and one of the most enduring themes is that travelling can actually help your mental health.
Top guest post this year was one by seasoned traveller George, who shared her unique packing method for you to steal. We can't believe we didn't know about this before - it's so simple and makes so much sense! She followed it up with an equally-useful post about packing a carry-on bag - we love the reason for the extra long extension cable!
Far and away the most controversial post this year was A response to the critics of "voluntourism" - volunteering abroad. We got a lot of flak for this, but we also engaged with a lot of great people who enabled us to continue our research, and we're very grateful to them for a respectful and productive debate.
You can read all our blog posts from last year here - plus all the ones from previous years.
EVENTS COMING UP NEXT YEAR
BUNAC Summer Camp Fairs where you can be interviewed and even GET HIRED for a paid job in the USA next summer! They take place in Dublin, London and Glasgow. in January and February this year, and there's an online hiring one via Skype in March.
Projects Abroad information evenings to find out about volunteering overseas. These are really good because you can ask loads of questions and talk to previous volunteers. They're in London and Manchester in February, and there's one in Brighton in March.
Destinations Holiday and Travel Show with tons of travel companies and talks. The Manchester one is 16th to 19th January, and the London one is 30th January to 2nd February.
Click here for more details and to book (it's £8.50 but we'll let you know if we score any free tickets)
Adventure Travel Show, London, 18th and 19th January. We're not going this year but some of our partners are always there so it's worth going to. There are always loads of useful talks which are included in your ticket.
MESSAGE OF THE YEAR AND TIP OF THE YEAR
We got a lot of messages through Facebook this year, and it's always lovely to hear them say "I found out about you from..." and then tell us about their plans. We've also had a lot of people get in touch wanting to share their stories and insights, for us to share with you! And we still get people phoning us to have a chat about their career break options, which we love. There's nothing quite like talking it through with someone and hearing about all their ideas. So we can't pick a favourite this year, sorry.
Tip of the year has got to be "use a pen and paper". Our head of web development is a big fan of this one! In these days of abundant technology, lots of you take your phone, laptop and stuff with you, but a pen and paper still works if nothing's charged, there's no wifi, or if it's dropped on the floor. Also, some people find writing stuff down physically helps them to remember it!
If you have a tip or message you'd like to see in this newsletter, email us.
Q: What do you call a snowman party?
A: A snowball
Think you can do better? Tell us your best joke!
Next month, we're finally able to make our big announcement! Stay tuned for our January newsletter, which comes out MUCH EARLIER than normal, with loads of stuff to help you make 2020 your best year ever. Thanks for reading and we'll see you next week/month/year - all on the same day!
Until then, have a fabulous Christmas, and a very happy New Year.