A Boomer Business That’s Going Places

Good morning Boomers,

The latest addition to the Re-Invention Connection comes from Doris Gallan and Jacob Frank.  These Baby Boomers have pretty much seen and done what most others only dream about.  They gave up the corporate world for adventure and new experiences.  They traveled the world and along the way they found a way to turn their passion for adventure and new experiences into a business helping others explore the joys of travel with fewer hassles or headaches.      

Gallan & Frank, Baby Boomers Traveling

Doris Gallan (born 1959) and Jacob Frank (1955) are Baby Boomers who are living the dream: they quit the rat race to pursue their life-long passion of traveling.  The two left their corporate jobs suffering from burn out and in great need of something vastly different.  Doris had been Director of External Relations for the University of Southern California while Jacob was Senior Project Manager at Southern California Edison working in corporate communications.

They sold their Los Angeles-area home and everything they owned to travel the world.  The couple’s friends and family probably had more difficulty believing Doris and Jacob were selling their first home and 23 years of accumulated goods.  But for the two would-be wanderers, the excitement of going on a two-year round-the-world trip made all the preparations mainly pain-free.

The scariest part of the experience was leaving well-paying, secure jobs knowing the country was about to enter into a recession.  But they didn’t want to take leaves of absence as both knew they wouldn’t return to the same lifestyle following what the couple knew would be a life-changing journey.  Selling their house and using the money to fund their travels also meant the two Boomers wouldn’t be able to afford to re-enter the real estate market unless prices fell considerably.

The couple decided that they had enough things to think about to keep them busy with the world trip and that they wouldn’t worry about their return until later.  So they began their nomadic lifestyle in 2006 visiting all seven continents and 50+ countries and are still going five years later.

Finding little Boomer-specific information and travel services to assist in the planning and booking of their trip, the two did their own research, sketching out their journey a few months in advance.  They booked their two-year ’Round-The-World (RTW) trips themselves learning from their mistakes, other travelers, and industry professionals.

Along the way, they met many other traveling Boomers who asked for help in planning their journeys and so their coaching and consulting business—Baby Boomers Traveling—was conceived.

After 26 months of continuous travel, the couple decided it was time to settle down (sort of) but they weren’t ready to come home as the recession was raging.  Jacob became certified as a teacher of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) by attending a four-week, intensive course in San Jose, Costa Rica.  He found that there were many such classes offered throughout the USA and abroad.  He looked for a school that was certified by an international organization and chose to study in a foreign country as it would be less expensive than doing so in the United States.  As he had hoped, the school later employed Jacob as a teacher of English.  He also taught in Mexico and China.

Countries and schools differ in what they require in terms of credentials for English teachers and this would determine where we would live.  As many nations won’t furnish visas for teachers without a university degree, Jacob was somewhat limited in the number of countries he was eligible to apply to.  Developed countries such as Japan, Korea and almost all of Europe require university degrees while less developed nations do not.

The couple found life abroad to be very interesting as well as much less expensive than at home.  Living in Mexico and Costa Rica was relatively easy as both countries have many similarities with the United States and Canada where the two had lived before.  Also, Doris is fluent in Spanish and could manage quite well shopping, dealing with service people, and socializing.  That’s not to say there weren’t a good number of inexplicable incidents that had strangers shaking their heads about her Spanish or things she was doing!

China, on the other hand, was a whole different story.  Even though the two tried their best to learn the local Mandarin dialect they never got much further than learning to say a few polite words and “waiter, the bill please;” “a cold beer, please;” and “a box to take my food home.”  Doris did improve her pantomime skills considerably as she managed to do all her shopping—including miming washing dishes so she could buy a dish drainer—without more than a few words of Mandarin and a big smile.

Living abroad is an enriching experience that leads to a deeper appreciation of what we have when we return home, according to Doris.  The Boomer couple recommends the experience to anyone with a curiosity about the world, a love of culture, an interest in people, and an open mind about how things “ought to be done”.

There were so many “learning experiences” that Doris started compiling them in a weekly blog she named “This Expat Life”.  It dealt with everything from reading all-Mandarin food labels in Chinese grocery stores to volunteering while living abroad.  Creating the opportunity to live in another country—or, in this case, three countries—was the perfect solution to the question “What do we do when we finish the ‘round the world trip?”

So many Baby Boomers wrote Doris asking for advice about living abroad—much as they had earlier about traveling—that she began her coaching and consulting business to help others do the same.  While not everyone may be interested in traveling or living the way they did, Doris has a great depth and breadth of knowledge of most styles of foreign experiences.  Her advice is contained in The Boomers’ Guide to Going Abroad to Travel * Live * Give * Learn (which deals with what to expect when in another country whether on a trip, as an expat, as a volunteer or to study.

Having written a series of blogs—which are much like on-line journals—for several years, Doris already possessed the beginnings of her book.  She had her daily travel tips that had been e-mailed religiously for close to a year; many stories from her two weekly blogs (This Expat Life and Baby Boomers Traveling); and knew from the many questions she’d been asked over the years what were travelers’ most important concerns.   Doris researched the publishing industry as well as self-publishing options and decided to join an author coaching program that would help her through the process.

Living abroad and its lower cost of living permitted Doris to work at establishing her business (Doris Gallan LLC) and her brand (Baby Boomers Traveling).  As hers is a virtual business, she was able to do the work while in Mexico, Costa Rica and China.  Working with an international team, she created a series of websites to promote herself as an author (www.DorisGallan.com) and as an expert in traveling Baby Boomers (www.BabyBoomersTraveling.com).

She also developed her expertise as a social marketer by establishing herself on Twitter as BoomerTraveling (1,750 followers), Facebook Doris Gallan (1,600 friends), Facebook Baby Boomers Traveling (425 fans/likes) and LinkedIn Doris Gallan (680 connections) and continues to build her readership through these social networking tools.

Doris has since written a series of Insider Digests filled with travel tips specifically for Boomers.  She continues coaching Boomers on their travels, writing blogs, as well as writing as a guest blogger on Boomer and travel sites.

Daily travel tips and our latest newsletter Baby Boomers Traveling Weekly Digest are available and subscribers receive the Top Ten Travel Secrets Free when they sign up.

The Baby Boomers Traveling team has made presentations to industry leaders on the needs of Boomers and to groups of travelers interested in learning more about how they can take charge of their own journeys.

Doris and Jacob share their expertise with individuals, corporations, professional groups, and nonprofit organizations through speaking engagements geared toward the needs of Boomers at this stage of their lives.  They bring several decades of experience as consultants to their seminars and workshops. Doris received her MBA from the Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management at Claremont Graduate University (2000) with concentrations in Strategic Planning and Marketing.

Anyone with questions about any of the above is invited to write Jacob and Doris at admin@dorisgallan.com

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