5 Inspiring Career Break Books To Read Before Your ‘Grown-Up Gap Year’

Do you dream of extended travel? 

I did too, scary isn’t it.

But dreaming doesn’t turn into reality unless you take steps in the right direction.

When my wife and I decided we needed some time out, I went looking for advice and I found it in the form of these five great career break and sabbatical books.

I worked my way though them, one after another, taking notes.

When I was done I had the confidence, inspiration and practical advice I needed to make my dreams a reality.

So if you’re like I was, and dream of a career break, start by reading some of the books from this list….

….and begin taking obstacles out of your path, one by one.

Vagabonding – Rolf Potts

Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel
  • Potts, Rolf (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 240 Pages - 12/24/2002 (Publication Date) - Villard Books (Publisher)

Vagabonding was the first book that really got me to think practically about long-term travel.

Packed with stories, tips and resources that will help you experience the world your way, this is a must have for any potential career breaker.

Covering off financing your trip, determining your destination, adjusting to time on the road, handling adversity and re-assimilating back into everyday life it really is an incredible resource for anyone considering extended travel.

The 4-Hour Work Week – Tim Ferriss

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich
25,562 Reviews
The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich
  • The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich
  • Hardcover Book
  • Ferriss, Timothy (Author)

If Vagabonding was the pragmatic guidebook, then The 4-Hour Work Week has to be my inspiration for considering a career break.

The book that catapulted Tim Ferriss to world-wide fame, is a modern-day manifesto against the 9-5 life.

It was the first time I’d heard the phrase ‘mini-retirement’ and, after finishing it, I set my heart on breaking my career up into smaller chunks, and not leaving all my free time until I retire.

The Career Break Book – The Lonely Planet

The Big Trip (Lonely Planet)
  • Planet, Lonely (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 352 Pages - 04/19/2019 (Publication Date) - Lonely Planet (Publisher)

Despite having been written in 2004, this book is still a fantastic resource for potential career-breakers.

It is an incredibly comprehensive guide, starting off by explaining exactly what a career break is, and then moving through the stages from requesting a break, tying up loose ends, practical travel tips and coming home.

Drawing on the wealth of experience Lonely Planet has it also gives some fantastic route planning guides to help you choose the destination for your break.

As it’s now out of print, you can pick this book up incredible cheaply, so (I got mine for 1p + P&P) so there’s really nothing to lose here!

Editor’s Note: This book has now been revised and updated and is called ‘The Big Trip’ which is the book I have linked to at the top of this section.

Gap Years for Grown Ups – Susan Griffith

Gap Years for Grown Ups: The Most Comprehensive, Practical Guide from the Leading Gap Year Specialist
  • Griffith, Susan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 416 Pages - 08/16/2011 (Publication Date) - UNKNO (Publisher)

With the tag line ‘because gap years are wasted on the young’, Gap Years for Grown Ups is a pragmatic guide to the world of career breaks.

This book covers the nuts and bolt details you’ll need to get through in order to plan in a trip.

Walking you step-by-step through financial planning, what to do with your home and pets and then onto the more fun elements of putting together itineraries, it explores in great depth every aspect of the ‘grown up gap year’.

The suggestions for the various types of break – from spiritual retreats to teaching abroad – provide lots of inspiration on how to use a career break to enhance your life skills.

The Career Break Traveller’s Handbook – Jeffrey Jung

The Career Break Traveler's Handbook (Traveler's Handbooks)
20 Reviews
The Career Break Traveler's Handbook (Traveler's Handbooks)
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Jung, Jeffrey (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Jeff is a man who’s been there and done it! 

Similar to alot of the books on this list, The Career Break Traveller’s Handbook is packed full of useful advice from health, tech tips, packing and even dealing with loneliness.

What I really loved about this book though were the personal testimonies. Not only have you got Jeff’s stories from his career break, but there is also a section with tales from 13 other solo travellers and couples.

All of these people have different reasons for taking a career break, providing amazing insight into the benefits of following this non-traditional break in a career.

Have you taken a career break?

If you’ve got examples of books than inspired you down this non-conventional route, then why not add them to the comments at the bottom of this post?

Hopefully we can build this page into a great resource library for the career breakers of the future.


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How Long Did You Take For A Sabbatical or Career Break?

If you have taken a sabbatical or career break (unpaid time off from work) how long did you take?