Does Escape 101 Stand the Test of Time?

Written By: jeff

Posted On: January 12th, 2012

While I was out on my career break traveling in 2007, a book was published that raised the visibility of career break travel to the general US public. And, it was a hit. Escape 101 was the first book written by a real career breaker that took the concept and made it accessible. I first became aware of the book in 2009, but never took the time to read it. After meeting Dan Clements, the author, via skype I still never got around to reading it…like I promised.

On my recent trip back to the US, I was determined to read the book. It’s been 4 years since its release. And, since then, the world economy has been on quite a roller coaster. When Dan and I took our career breaks, people were still leaving voluntarily. The economy was good and no one gave much thought about the possibility or likelihood of significant economic chaos that would hit in 2008.

In 2009, I met a lot of people on forced career breaks. By and large, these were people that had decided to wait out the downturn and take the trip that they always wanted to take. Some had been planning a sabbatical. Others had not.

Now at the end of 2011, I was curious to see if what Dan had to say was still relevant. Would his words still be inspirational? Would the advice still be relevant? Could Dan still speak to working professionals credibly?  I was rooting for him. But, I was skeptical.

The answers are Yes, Yes and Yes.

Review of Escape 101

¨Leaving was actually easy. It was thinking about leaving that was hard.¨ This point still rings true. And, as Dan points out, there are a couple of meanings behind it. First, while many of us dream of taking time off to travel and see the world, we get stuck in our day-to-day lives. It traps us and mentally, it’s hard to make the decision to go. But, this statement also recognizes that there is work and effort involved in the planning so you can do it right. It’s worth taking the time to think through all the issues.

Dan states that taking a career break is about ¨living deliberately.¨ And, I couldn’t agree more. We only get one life on this merry go round. So, take the time to live it as you want to. Escape 101 is about taking the break without losing the parts of your current life that you enjoy. As he says, it’s about ¨taking the break you need, without losing ground.¨

The first part of the book explores why you should get away and focusing on your commitment to live deliberately. He then tackles all the big things that scares people about leaving: money, your job, your business, and kids. Finally, he goes through to talk about how to get the most out of your experience and how to re-enter.

He challenges you to think about why you want to go. I often find with many career breakers that there is a catalytic event that finally spurs someone into action. Dan calls these triggers. And, he argues that it’s important to know why you want to go: work, health, a desire to volunteer, a good old-fashioned desire to travel? Or something else?
From there, Dan provides concrete advice on how to start planning your time and away. But, most importantly, he stresses the need to figure out how to get the most out of your time off.

Are you traveling with kids? So did Dan and his wife. So, if a family trip is in the card for you, Dan has some great advice for setting out with them.

If you are looking for a great read on how to plan for your career break that goes beyond a tactical approach and gives you the philosophical underpinnings of why you should go, then check out Escape 101.

Disclosure: I was provided with a review copy of Escape 101. All comments and opinions are my own.

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