Who's out there now?

Who’s Out There Now? Ryan and Jen

Written By: jeff

Posted On: August 24th, 2010

career break travel adventures in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Ryan and Jen in Argentina. Copyright ConsultingRehab.com

In this week’s ¨Who´s Out There Now¨ interview, we bring to you Ryan and Jen from Consulting Rehab. As the name implies, this couple is recovering after a professional life the best way I know how: travel.  Earlier this year, they left behind their careers, sold their house and moved down to Buenos Aires. Oh, and they got married along the way.

1.  So, where in the world are you answering these questions?

Santiago, Chile

2.  Once you made the decision to take a break and travel, things happened pretty fast. Tell us about what was the catalyst for getting you so motivated.

There were a lot of things.  We had taken a 2 week vacation to Guatemala a few months earlier and while we were there we started to get a taste of what life would be like without all of the stress of our jobs–we liked it.  We also noticed a number of other travellers that were there doing Spanish immersion classes–we were intrigued. That is when we started thinking about it.

When we returned to San Francisco we immediately got sucked back into our 15+ hour/day jobs.  It was a rough transition.  Escaping to Latin America was definitely in the back of our minds, but it was very hard to find the time to give it any real thought.  Also, we were trying to plan a wedding which made us even busier, made our financial situation more difficult and forced us to stay put to do the planning.  Over time (and with plenty of work-induced stress), we got more frustrated with our jobs and more willing to put off a big  wedding.  There was nothing specific.  One day we just decided; and once we decided to stop working, we wanted to get ourselves to a lower cost country ASAP.  So, we packed up our stuff, put it in storage, got married at a county clerk’s office, did a quick road-trip to Seattle to drop off the car and hopped a plane.  3 weeks.

career break travel adventures in Chile

Ryan and Jen riding around Santiago, Chile. Copyright ConsultingRehab.com

3.  I’m a former consultant myself so I understand the demands on your life that career has. Have you gone through various stages of change since you left your career and life in the US behind?

Definitely.  The first couple of weeks just felt like a normal vacation.  We were accustomed to only having 1-2 weeks of vacation at a time and in the past had always wanted to fit in as much as possible.  So we maintained our high level of intensity, we just applied it to exploring Buenos Aires (all the tourist sites, top restaurants, walking tours, etc.).  After that phase, it began to sink in that we really weren’t going back.  This was a pretty incredible feeling–some kind of strange mixture between incredible excitement and extreme relaxation (for the first time in a very long time).  We basked in this feeling for a while.

Meanwhile we had begun taking 20-hour/week Spanish classes and getting into a rhythm with that.  This helped us to feel productive and like we were accomplishing something rather than just being bums.  It was also an incredibly humbling experience.  We had gone from being highly-educated, senior advisers for huge global corporations to only being able to communicate at the 3rd grade level.  This provided some solid perspective.  Every day. Whether we wanted it to or not!  It was frustrating at times, but also incredibly refreshing to be outside of an environment in which we got paid to sound as intelligent and important as possible at all times into one in which people clapped for us if we only made 4 mistakes when trying to explain where we went for lunch.  Good times.

After a few months we stopped taking classes and suddenly had a lot more free time on our hands.  This is when we realized that we needed to find a purpose again; it didn’t necessarily matter what the purpose was, but we needed something to do that felt like it was productive.  We’re still sorting out what that is.

career break travel adventures in Argentina

Iguazu Falls. Copyright ConsultingRehab.com

4.  Backpacking, flashpacking, career break. How do you characterize your style of travel?

Career Break for sure (though we had never heard the term before we left).

5.  What was your first ¨We´re not in Kansas (San Francisco) anymore¨ moment?

I think it might have been when a waitress enthusiastically recommended that my wife order the “Mondongo Argentina” which we understood to be some sort of meat stew.  It turns out that “Mondongo” means tripe and while it’s quite popular in Argentina and other parts of the world, it wasn’t quite what my wife had had in mind.

career break travel adventures in Chile

Daytrip to see the Echaurren glacier outside of Santiago, Chile. Copyright ConsultingRehab.com

6.  What was your first ¨local¨ experience?

A day trip kayaking and doing an asado with some great Argentine guys that run a kayak company and their friends, then sitting around chatting and drinking mate after dinner.  While it was technically a paid tour, it really felt more like being invited to hang out with a group of friends at their vacation house – awesome.

7.  I saw your list of restaurants from Buenos Aires, a city not known for its diversity of cuisine.  Where was your favorite place to escape steak and pizza?

Definitely Fabrica del Taco – great Mexican tacos

career break travel adventures in Argentina

In the wine country in Mendoza, Argentina. Copyright ConsultingRehab.com

8.  So, how many of your former colleagues are living vicariously through you right now?  Has anyone been inspired by you to follow suit and take their own career break?

Hard to say.  I know that a lot of them follow our blog and have heard from more than a few that we’ve inspired them in one way or another.  As far as we know though, none of them have taken the leap and gone on a career break (yet).

9.  What has been your most embarrassing moment?

Every time we try to speak Spanish

10. Some people might think that this isn’t the time for a career break given the current economic environment.  Why did you take the contrarian view and go for it now?

I think that there is never a good time.  If you wait for a time for it to be convenient, you’ll never go.

11. What´s your secret for getting the most out of your journeys?

We made the conscious decision to stay in one place for a long time rather than travel around a lot.  This is my first experience with this kind of traveling, but I’ve become a big fan–sticking around long enough to make friends and fully immerse yourself gives you a much more authentic and (I think) rewarding experience.  That said, you probably do need to pick places that are big enough to keep you interested for a long time.

12. What are your short-term and long-term travel plans past Argentina?

Still working that out.  We actually relocated to Santiago, Chile a few weeks ago and really like it here.  At the moment, we’re actually trying to sort out if we should find jobs here and try to live here for quite a while.  We’ll see…

career break travel adventures in Argentina

In the salt flats outside Salta, Argentina. Copyright ConsultingRehab.com

13. Finally, our lightening round. (Just a quick short answer please. If the answers are different for each of you, just label the answer as such).

a. Best dish you´ve found so far - Bife de Lomo at our favorite parilla in BA, El Estrebe

b. Most exotic food eaten – Mondongo :(

c. Most breathtaking moment - Iguazu Falls

d. Biggest disappointment – Our highly recommended private guide in Salta

e. Most memorable place – Probably El Estrebe (we went there at least once a week and got to know the staff)

f. Most memorable person – The slowest moving and most inept (attempted) purse-snatcher we’ve ever seen

g. Best thing to have on a long bus ride - Light, heat (we wish we’d had these things)

h. Worst thing to have on a long bus ride – Loud movies about alligators and the life of Mother Theresa

i. Best thing you packed - Tie between laptop and Vonage phone (so nice to still be able to connect with friends/family back home)

j. Dumbest thing you’ve ever packed - Summer clothes (have not been useful down here so far…)

k. Funniest travel habit of the other – Jen is adamant that we need to be the last ones on the plane every time; Ryan is adamant that we need to be the first ones there for any form of transportation

l. Place you wish you could’ve stayed longer – I think we feel good about how long we’ve stayed in places, just have more places to see!

You can follow Ryan and Jen online at Consulting Rehab, on Facebook and on Twitter @consultingrehab.

Every week, Career Break Secrets profiles a different traveler or traveling couple who are embracing the ¨Because LIfe Is Out There TM¨ travel spirit.  These are people who have taken the plunge to embark on a career break and are currently traveling the world.

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One Response to “Who’s Out There Now? Ryan and Jen”

  1. [...] Topics: Career Break stuff, Thoughts on having a real job Hello there! If you're new here, and curious what this is all about, you may want to check out Our Consulting Problem and maybe our FAQ – If you like what you see, don't forget to subscribe to the RSS feed to receive new updates.Powered by WP Greet Box WordPress PluginWe got featured on the “Who’s out there now” segment of Career Break Secrets.  You can check it out here:  Consulting Rehab feature [...]

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