Kirk Horsted is a part-time hedonist, present-minded professor and avid Dad.  He is also 1/2 of 2 Heads Communications, a Minneapolis creative agency known for its copywriting and ideas—and its peculiar practice of closing up shop to take sabbaticals. Since 1990, Kirk has taken four “BreakAways,” researched and written obsessively about the topic, and offered advice, speeches, and workshops that have moved others to chase their own dreams.


Kirk Horsted, The BreakAway Guy

Before 2 Heads (way back in the go-go 80s), Kirk held an executive position with Minnesota Monthly magazine for five years. Prior to that, he worked at an ad agency and two public radio stations. He has an MALS from Hamline University in St. Paul, MN, and a BA from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN.

Although Kirk typically prefers pursuit of authentic experiences over staring at a screen, he is easy to reach and welcomes your message at [email protected].


For nearly two decades, Kirk has believed in, preached and practiced the radical concept of taking temporary retirement throughout life, rather than waiting for some promised nirvana at the questionable end.

5 primary themes permeate his work, website, and life:

  • There’s more to life than work.
    Work is necessary, and ideally meaningful. But for your life’s work, it’s also essential to BreakAway—to recharge your batteries, chase a dream, and make time for what matters most. Why not Retire Now and Then, even if it means adding a few years to your career?
  • Live within your means—no matter what that means.
    Here are a few ideas how.
  • Keep your sense of self—and humor.
    The stuff that can steal our time, energy, and hope will come and go. Just don’t let go of your inner compass and laugh-ability.
  • You CAN have it all…just not all at once.
    When it comes to timing a BreakAway, rushing rarely works, but faith rarely fails. Live by the mantra: Everything is right on schedule.
  • The world, and its people, are a beautiful gift.
    Open it up. Meet. Discover. Explore. Share.

Selling this pitch isn’t necessarily easy in modern-day America. Especially as the markets have moved from Dow 1000 all the way up to 14 and back down to 8 (or lower?)… As our worry shifts from Iraq1 to 9/11 to New Orleans to Iraq2. As our bubbles of hope swell and burst—and swell and burst again…

But despite these fickle, cyclical tsunamis of change, Kirk has stuck to his story. And he has become ever more convinced that his message is relevant, regardless of the times. (Test audiences have overwhelmingly agreed.)

when | where | why

On December 17, 2008, Kirk embarked on his fourth Breakaway in 18 years. You can track that trip here. Meanwhile, here’s a rundown of his other adventures:

  • 2008/09—The Great Escape: 69 days in the West Indies & Caribbean
    Mission: to show his children another way of learning and being, escape winter, chase destiny, and launch this site
  • 2000/01—The RTW Tour: 18 weeks in Italy, Malaysia, New Zealand & more
    Mission: to explore unseen corners of the planet (with his wife & young son), chronicle it online and write a book
  • 1994—The Fantasy Trip: 1 year in the Virgin Islands & Europe
    Mission: to take a year off to find roots and bliss, and to test the portability of his business
  • 1990—The Sanity Break: 7 months at Midwestern Lakes & Europe
    Mission: to commemorate a convergence of endings and beginnings (jobs, houses, relationships, all the big stuff)


To capture the ideas, Kirk has drafted two books, Retire Now and Then and 355 Days, and logged an “around the world” getaway with photos and essays online.

He also launched this website and blog—with a little help from his friends—on December 17, 2008, the same day he left with his family for a 69-day BreakAway in the Caribbean.

Special thanks and high fives go to Polymer Studios who made the tech work happen, Dr. Kelly for manning the fort and cat, and the friends, family, and colleagues who have believed in my Big Idea and helped make BreakAways possible.

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