The Meanderthals

What JUST GO means for Dr. Ryan James

It took sixteen years of California living and a doctorate degree from the University of San Francisco to convince Ryan James he needed a year abroad to reassess his life. That was in 2001, when he was unable to find a job suitable for his qualifications so he and his partner decided to take off.

Fourteen years later, Ryan, a licensed clinical social worker and university instructor, and Ron are still living away from the U.S. and have created lives for themselves in a part of the world they never imagined living.

As one of the people featured in our book, Just Go! Leave the Treadmill for a World of Adventure, Ryan shares what “Just Go” means to him:

“After graduating with a doctorate in International and Multicultural Education in 2000, the frustration of not finding a teaching position in any state in the U.S. where we wanted to live was beyond overwhelming. So, one day out of the blue, I said to my partner “Let’s just go and travel for a year”. He was able to retire early without any penalties from his pension and little from Social Security so we took off. The plan for when we returned was to settle into a new city and state where I would look for work.

This was one of those instances of life happening when you’re not looking and circumstances pointing you in the right direction. After leaving California in July 2001, our plans were delayed in New Jersey by the September 11 tragedy. We finally got to London and traveled until December when we hunkered down in Budapest, Hungary for the winter.

Serendipity kicked in in Budapest as I was offered a job as an instructor for a Hungarian university. I taught there for 12 years, teaching nine classes a semester as well overhauling the curriculum, then decided to take semi-retirement. To supplement our income and provide travel money, my partner and I started a bed and breakfast and I was later hired as the Frommer’s travel guide writer for their Budapest books. I wrote two complete Budapest & the Best of Hungary books and contributed chapters to five other titles including Europe by Rail, Eastern Europe and Europe. Fourteen years later, we still call Budapest home.”

For more about Ryan and stories from other people featured in Just Go!, get it here in paperback or ebook.

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