I took a career break for 13 months in 2011-2012 and managed to return home and find a good full-time job again! I have written and spoken about saving and budgeting, packing, dealing with logistics like insurance and easing back into "regular" life after you return, including finding a job again.
Nearly all of my travel has been solo and I highly recommend it!
I've volunteered in Russia, Tajikistan and Armenia, with 3 different organizations. A recent speaker about volunteering at the Women in Travel Summit, I can advise on everything from finding the right volunteer opportunity for you to how to make the most of it once you arrive.
I have spent nearly a month in Georgia, visiting most regions, from the capital of Tbilisi, to the port city of Batumi to the small town of Mestia up in the mountainous Svaneti region.
I have spent time in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova and Russia – my most in-depth areas of knowledge are Russia, where I spent 3 months, and Ukraine, where I spent 6 weeks.
I spent 3 months total traveling through Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan, including a month volunteering in Tajikistan. I spent 11 days in Turkmenistan, which is far more than most people who only skip through quickly on a 5 day transit visa.
I spent 3 months in Russia, including a month each in Moscow and St Petersburg and another month traveling the length of the Trans Siberian Railway from Vladivostok back to Moscow.
I spent 6 weeks volunteering in Armenia and living in Yerevan.