Should You Take a Sabbatical?
Updated: Aug 5, 2019
Taking a 4-month sabbatical through SE Asia changed my life in so many ways. I was able to focus my time on working on myself spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally. I created a routine for success and was able to implement this even with the constant change of cities or countries. I want to share with you what I learned from making this leap but also see if this is something you could benefit from. This picture to my left was captured in the beautiful Koh Tao, Thailand, my favorite place of the 40 plus cities I visited.
What you need to know before doing this
Currently, sabbaticals are becoming trendy due to the low amount of time off most companies offer. On average most companies only offer 10–12 PTO days off in a year, while companies in Europe offering triple that number. This fact is becoming more known due to the opportunities in the online marketing world. Employees are tired, they are stuck in a bubble that only gives them 10–12 days off in a year which we all know isn’t enough to go on a lengthy vacation or trip. Companies like Google, Microsoft, Deloitte,and Patagonia offer their employees monthly sabbaticals to adventure and see what the world has to offer. If this is something you are interested in doing and are working a corporate job, see what your company offers in regard to this. With the days off being low in over 80% of jobs, this is something you may want a backup option when it comes to finances.
Reasons you may be taking a sabbatical
The day I booked that one-way flight to Bali, Indonesia was the day my life changed forever. At first, I was scared, I was worried, I didn’t know if I was going to find a job upon my return but I did it for a few reasons which are below. These may be similar to the ones you have as well.
Wanting to travel
Wanting a new direction for your life
Wanting to explore/ challenge yourself
Wanting to get out of the corporate environment to experience new opportunities
Because your company supports it, believes in the benefits of one
Learn more about yourself
To pursue a journey of self-discovery
Wanting to give back/volunteer
Learning a new language
The 4 month sabbatical for me drastically changed my perspective on life. I was able to be surrounded by new cultures, new environments, new food, new people and a new me. During this time I worked on my podcast- The Fitness Journey Podcast and spent days and weeks creating the life I wanted to live.
Timing is really important when it comes to taking your sabbatical. But, don’t overthink it too much. For me I waited and waited and waited. I thought there would be a perfect time when in reality there wasn’t. Depending on if you work a corporate job or own your own business I would suggest doing it when you have the least amount of responsibility or can automate most of your processes. At the time I left for my sabbatical I was single, just quit my corporate job, was running episodes of the podcast on the go and happened to be moving out of my apartment that same month. It was easy, I didn’t have much holding me back but for you, it may be totally different.
Excelling in your business
Have bigger responsibilities
May not have the finances in line for the trip
Just moved into a new apartment, condo, house
Have several bills back home
Don’t want to leave your corporate job
These are just a few that may resonate with your current situation. I will say you might want to ask yourself these questions if this new adventure is something you want to embark on.
Are you happy with the career path you are currently on?
Would take this time off mess with other areas of your life back home?
Do you have obligations holding you back?
Why now? What are you wanting out of this trip?
Money… how much is this sabbatical going to cost? What will you be doing daily? Is it going to be expensive? How much did you spend during your sabbatical? These are the most asked questions I received upon my return from SE Asia, and I’m here to tell you all you need to know in regards to this.
Depending on when and where you travel, you will notice a wide range of prices. From airlines to hotels, to experiences and more. During my 4 months in SE Asia, I visited 7 countries, over 35 cities, jumped on 9 plane flights and spent under 8k during my time. If you are looking to make a trip to SE Asia, I would budget between $1500–$2000 dollars depending on what you enjoy doing.
With this sabbatical, it may be allowed through the company you work for. If not, I would suggest to start saving as much as you can before your departure. If you’re deciding on Europe, South America, the US, Canada, etc the prices will be different, so make sure you do the research before committing to the sabbatical.
I would suggest that you ask yourself these questions beforehand.
Do I have enough money saved up for the amount of time I will be traveling?
What places do I want to visit?
What budget do I need that will include food, transportation, and activities?
Is there a way I can make money during the sabbatical?
If so, what will I be doing and how much can I see myself making?
How much money will I have left over outside of the budget that I have created for the sabbatical?
Benefits of taking a sabbatical
I decided to take a sabbatical because I was at a point in my life where I wanted more. I wanted to serve, I wanted to learn, and I wanted a new experience that will align with my vision of my future. These are some of the benefits of taking a sabbatical that I believe will help you make a decision if this is best for you.
You can find inspiration for new ways to grow your business
Meeting new cultures, networking with people from all walks of life.
Seeing the beauty of the world
Gives you time away from your normal environment
Greater appreciation for home and family
It can reduce stress and enhance your creativity
Improves Social and Communication Skills
Creates Memories for Lifetime
Enhances Your Tolerance for Uncertainty
Many individuals I’ve spoken with have come to treasure the memories they’ve made traveling, voulunteering, or pursuing a new passion project. You could be using this sabbatical to help leapfrog yourself into a new line of work or career. The move could also be to help you gain a better understanding of your strengths, your weaknesses, and your talents.
If you are on the edge of something like this and need help breaking down those barriers of fear, please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and see if we can work together to get you at a place in life you want to be. Freedom is everything and an experience like this will give you just that.
How to Ask for a Sabbatical
If you are looking to keep your current job and are also wanting to do a sabbatical these are a few tips on how to ask your employer. It can be scary, it will feel different but if you outline the benefits and believe in it, it just might work.
You might begin the conversation by saying:
“I’ve been having tremendous success in the position I’m in now and believe taking a sabbatical will give me the time to learn more about myself, focus on ways I can be even better at my position and also become a better communicator and leader for this organization.”
“I’ve been wanting to find ways I can bring more value to my work and believe taking a sabbatical can give me time to learn new skills, hone in on my strengths, meet new people and become an even better version of myself. I have created a proposal I’d like you to review.”
“I’ve been working here for some time and want to stay fully committed to the growth of this company and for myself and believe going on a sabbatical will 1000% catapult me to a newer level of life and be able to learn more, create more and become a massive asset for the companies success.”