Hi Rachel [Founder and UK MD of The Career Break Site]
Our 20/20 Travel Project is launching this month. We've hinted about it on social media and in our newsletters, but people want to know exactly what it is!
Can you share details of the 20/20 Travel Project now?
I certainly can!
The 20/20 Travel Project is about travelling with clear vision. It's not just looking at the world with 20/20 vision (we're not all lucky enough to have that!) but it's also about experiencing the world with greater clarity and focus.
We have learnt from our own experiences, those of career breakers who come to us, and our partners. We know that travelling is so much more meaningful when you can immerse yourself in an experience, understand a place and connect with the people around you.
What was the inspiration for the 20/20 Travel Project?
I was talking to our new MD George (her interview is here) and she mentioned something about 2020 - how the year sounds like the term for perfect vision. And I thought, what if we expanded the idea of seeing clearly to include all kinds of travel experience? Travelling slowly and deeply, so you can truly experience what is around you and get a real sense of a place.
I've worked in this business for many years now and one of the consistent themes I see and hear is about meaningful travel and connecting with where you are. Instead of just steaming through, doing your own thing, people are looking for travel experiences where they can learn, work and give something back.
Although we're already offering those things through The Career Break Site, I wanted to both expand and condense the ideas into a single project.
We've long been focused on the "how to" of a career break (how to choose a career break, how to get the money together, advice on where to go, etc) and that's really important! But now we want to include what I call the "fluffier" side - how travellers feel before and while they travel. What they hope to get out of the experience. Who they'd like to meet. The stories they can share.
I know some travel bloggers and influencers (and companies for that matter) talk about the "perfect" experience and we're expecting to see that angle in other 20/20 projects. But we don't find perfectionism helpful - it can cause a lot of anxiety for one thing, and of course, one person's perfect trip is another's nightmare! We want to encourage travellers to create and enjoy their own unique experience.
How did you come up with the monthly themes? Were they all inspired by your personal experiences?
The first one was obvious - seeing beauty in the details.
The rest were mostly drawn directly from the themes we already have on The Career Break Site - having a positive impact, living like a local, learning new things, and so on.
Some of the others were inspired by personal experiences - not just mine, but those of other travellers we've connected with through this site and through social media.The food one was all me!
Is this something our readers can be involved in and how can they be involved?
The 20/20 Travel Project is not for everyone. It's not for you if you only care about your own experience, or if you only travel to relax and not really engage with a place around you.
If you're like most career breakers though, you will be interested in learning more about a place you visit, understanding its culture and traditions and connecting with its people. You'll be willing to face challenges and want to tread your own path.
We're encouraging you to get involved! We want you to share your stories - whether it's a micro-story (an anecdote) to share with us on social media, or a longer story you want to share in a blog post. We will be looking for people to interview if their stories are compelling enough too. And of course, it's 20/20 so we'd love to see and share your pictures!
We'll also be highlighting articles from other travel sites and blogs, so if you spot one you'd like to share, especially if it's your own, let us know! That goes for social media feeds too.
To get involved, use the hashtag #2020travel on Facebook and Twitter, and tag us - @careerbreaksite. If you want to stay anonymous or if you'd like to connect via email, drop us an email at email@example.com.
What is the ultimate goal of the 20/20 Travel Project? How will you know if you've achieved it?
The main reason for doing this is to help people have an amazing travel experience. There's no end goal as such, but if people are inspired to take a career break or other meaningful trip, or if they have a better time as a result, we will have achieved our goal.
We hope that the positive effects will extend to the destinations as well - with travellers being more culturally aware, giving back through work or volunteering, and by travelling responsibly. And by making connections with the people who live there!
When we're posting our 2020 annual retrospective, what do you hope to be sharing about the 20/20 Travel Project?
Oh wow, I hadn't thought about that! I suppose just being able to share the impact the project has had on people, how it has inspired people to look at their motivations for travel and the long-lasting effects that their trip might bring. I know from my own career break that the positive changes a trip like that can bring really do last for a long time!
From a personal point of view, I am expecting the 20/20 travel project to inform my own travel plans for this year - whether it's a work trip to meet clients, or a trip to visit friends abroad. I used to get very anxious before travel (I was afraid of flying for a few years) and I'm looking forward to having a different focus for this year. Instead of worrying about what might go wrong, I'll be focusing on the things that - not go right, exactly, but shape the whole experience.
I hope our readers will get as much out of the project too - if not more!