Career Breaker Sherry Ott Heads to Antarctica

Amelia Tockston & Janna Wemmer

  • Sherry and dad in Nepal
    Sherry and dad in Nepal
  • Sherry and dad in Nepal
    Sherry and dad in Nepal
  • Sherry in Sri Lanka
    Sherry in Sri Lanka
  • Sherry in Mongolia
    Sherry in Mongolia
  • Sherry in Italy
    Sherry in Italy

Career Breaker Sherry Ott Heads to Antarctica

Amelia Tockston & Janna Wemmer

Flashback 10 years and Sherry Ott was in her early thirties, living in New York City, with a comfortable corporate job. Having just gotten her first passport at age 30, she had only recently gotten her first taste of international adventure. Though she didn’t realize it at the time, travel would forever change her life.

In 2006, Ott made a bold move.  She sold all of her possessions and quit her IT job to embark on a journey.  The first leg of that journey was a 23-country stretch around the world. Years later, that journey included racing 9,000 miles by car from England to Mongolia (in the Mongol Rally) and trekking 450 miles in Spain (on the Camino de Santiago).

Some of those adventures included her 76-year-old father. After hiking Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit and crossing the high altitude Thorung La Pass together, her father set his eyes on the next great adventure—Antarctica—and, of course, she said, “Let's do it!” Sherry’s father had once traveled halfway around the world on a freighter, so adventure travel was in her DNA.

That conversation with her father was 3 years ago. In December, we helped Sherry and her dad reach their dream destination—the great White Continent! Together, they embarked on the 126-passenger Expedition for 13 days, departing from Ushuaia, Argentina and sailing to the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula.

For those who do not know Sherry Ott, she has pioneered the career break movement in the United States as co-founder of Meet Plan Go, an organization dedicated to inspiring and educating others on the benefits of travel for one’s career. Sherry’s long-term goal is to see the words “career break” listed on every resume. For her, it’s not important how long you go, as long as you get out there and GO! Her popular blog, Ottsworld, chronicles her personal travel stories and photography.

Though there are many extraordinary places to visit during a career break, Antarctica is an ideal destination. First, for many career breakers, extended travel is an opportunity to reach those out-of-the-way “wish list” destinations. Antarctica is no doubt a phenomenal travel experience and atop many a bucket list. And for good reason. A wonderland for the eyes and treat for the soul, Antarctica is the most pristine, awe-inspiring and wildlife-rich destination on our planet. Like stepping through the cover of National Geographic Magazine, Antarctica sweeps visitors off their feet with incredible whale encounters, 100,000 penguins bustling about, and towering blue icebergs rising hundreds of feet out of the water... And, second, an expedition to Antarctica requires an investment of time, a challenge many working North Americans face with their limited vacation days. While a trip to the Antarctic Peninsula may be done in two weeks, expeditions including the Falkland Islands and spectacular South Georgia range from 17 to 24 days. Plus, without time constraints, travelers can experience some of the highlights of South America before and/or after the Antarctic cruise, such as a week in Buenos Aires, a tour of Iguazu Falls, or trekking through Patagonia.

Like Sherry, we believe that the best education is the world’s cultures. Taking a break before retirement can actually propel the direction of one’s career. There are always adventures to be had, insights to be gained, and lessons to be learned. Sherry Ott is an example of that. Travel has changed her life.