Via magazine
Via magazine - Your AAA Magazine

Working Vacations

Vocation Vacations, an innovative travel agency, places people in their dream jobs for a trial run.

vocation vacationers prune vines
Photo caption
So you want to be a vintner?

What Brian Kurth has planned for your days off might come as a surprise to your boss. A year ago Kurth founded Vocation Vacations, an innovative travel agency that places people in their dream jobs for quick trial runs. Over a long weekend, a dyed-in-the-wool accountant might experience chocolate making; a disgruntled lawyer could learn about training dogs.

Each "vacationer" is assigned to a mentor in the business. After a couple days of hands-on work, Kurth's clients are exhausted, exhilarated, and wiser about their daydreams. "A lot of trips are booked by a spouse who's tired of hearing 'I wish, I wish,' " Kurth says. He and his team of career coaches offer more than 70 choices. Vintner in Geyserville, Calif., and brewmaster in Portland are only two of the West Coast options. Two-day packages start at $499 and most three-day trips cost $599 to $1,299, not including a place to sleep. It isn't a cheap getaway, but it sends you home with something more lasting than a tan. (866) 888-6329,

Photography courtesy POVA/Janis Miglavs

This article was first published in May 2005. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.