May 12, 2011 | Suzanne Shaffer | Leave a comment We’re all in the process of planning our summer vacations. Should we go to the beach, take a trip to the mountains, schedule a cruise, or maybe head south for Costa Rica? Here’s a unique thought. Why spend $1000 on a beach vacation or theme park holiday when you can spend it on a vacation and find your dream job? Use your summer vacation to jump start your dreams by trying out a new job. When people spend their vacations trying out new jobs, it’s called a vocation vacation. Some of these are opportunities where people are responsible for paying their own expenses, and others are paid programs. What type of person might benefit from a vocation vacation? You find yourself heading off to college in the fall and are unsure of your major. You are graduating from college this month and are still unemployed. You have been working at a job and always dreamed of changing your career path. You are unemployed and are looking for a career change. You are ready to retire and want to spend your retirement doing what you love. These vacations give you the opportunity to experience jobs first hand and be mentored by experts in each particular career or industry. Vocation Vacations Have you ever wondered what it would be like to trade that cubicle for your own storefront? Have you always wanted to own and run a vineyard? Thanks to an Oregon based company, Vocation Vacactions, you can get an insider’s look into what it’s like to be an entrepreneur while on vacation from your current job. Brian Kurth, founder of Vocation Vacations, launched his company after being laid off in 2003 with no job prospects on the horizon. “I found lots of well-off people who were embarrassed about their careers,” he said in a CNN interview. “Scratch the surface, and you’d get the real story: ‘I’m a lawyer, but I’ve always wanted to be X’ — invariably, it was some passion left over from childhood. We’re not anti-corporate America,” he said. “We’re pro-taking your life back, and that means considering those intangible payoffs that are about lifestyle, not money. Work shouldn’t be a four-letter word.” According to Kurth, about 1/3 of “vocationers” actually make a career switch after taking one of their vacations. The other 2/3 realize that their “dream” is not what they thought it would be and the vocation vacation helps them refocus their career goals. The most popular vocation vacations are in the culinary fields, hospitality, sports, entertainment, working with animals, and design careers. The typical cost is around $1000, and provides direct mentorship, career coaching, and first-hand experience that can truly change your life and the lifestyle you want to lead. Wilderness Volunteers Have you always dreamed of having a job in the great outdoors? Does the thought of having an outdoor adventure and participating in the stewardship of America’s national parks give you goosebumps? Consider spending your vacation with the Wilderness Volunteers. These trips last one week and cost $299. You are responsible for your transportation and your camping gear. They provide the food. One volunteer put it quite simply, “Wilderness Volunteers projects are like fantasy camps for those of us who dreamed of being a back country ranger but found ourselves sitting in a cubicle.” Another Wilderness Volunteer became more interested in the environment and took a job working outdoors, which eventually led to his current job as an analyst with the Department of Energy. If you’ve wondered if this type of career path might be for you, spend a week in the wilderness, give something back and learn what it would be like to work in our nations parks or within the vast field of conservation. Transitions Abroad Have you ever wanted to travel abroad or even live and work overseas? Consider spending your vacation this summer working abroad. There are all types of short-term jobs available abroad, including internships, student work, tour guides, and jobs in the travel industry. If living and working abroad has always been your dream, summer is the perfect time to pursue this interest. Transitions Abroad can help you make this dream a reality by connecting you with available job postings and providing you with information regarding living and working abroad. If you take one of these vocation vacations and discover you need some additional education, you can search the many online universities on our site.