How to take a sabbatical in 10 easy steps
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Ever dream of traveling or taking an extended period of time away from work and your normal day-to-day routine? You’re not alone. The practice of taking a sabbatical has been around for a long time. The concept of sabbatical has its roots in the ancient Hebrew Torah, where taking a regular period of rest from work — or “Sabbath” — is commanded. Over time, the meaning of sabbatical has evolved to encompass various definitions of rest.
So what exactly is a sabbatical and what is the purpose of taking one?Read more +
At its most basic level, a sabbatical is a period of rest intended for the achievement of a specific goal or greater purpose. For example, it’s very common that academic institutions offer the academics they employ a paid year off to focus on a goal that will contribute to their education and career growth. Similarly, many workplaces offer their staff some version of sabbatical leave, which is a period of time off work that generally lasts longer than regular periods of annual leave. In this case, taking a sabbatical is usually unpaid, but nevertheless an excellent option for those who want to take a break in their career or enjoy extended time off work to dedicate focused energy to something else.
Traditionally speaking, a sabbatical is used to travel. There’s nothing that helps bring fresh perspective quite like changing environments, and travel is the perfect way to step out of your comfort zone and get re-inspired about your interests, goals, and dreams. Taking a sabbatical to travel is a great option for anyone who wants to take an intentional break and gain some new direction in life, learn a new skill, pursue a particular area of study, focus on a career goal, or simply reset.
Whatever the reasons, deciding to take a sabbatical is never a bad idea. Aside from learning heaps about yourself, you’ll have the freedom, time, and rest to really reflect on what you want from life. Whether your sabbatical ends with a big career shift, complete life overhaul, or a happy return to your current path, you won’t regret the amazing experiences and profound insights you’ll gain.
A sabbatical can last anywhere from one month up to six months and beyond. When planning how long to go on sabbatical, consider your purpose in taking one. A sabbatical is intended to be an escape, and your intentions and goals for your sabbatical should determine the length of your time off.
If you intend to return to the same career after your sabbatical, you’ll need to have a discussion with your employer about how much time you can reasonably take off. Depending on the company, this can be anywhere from one month up to three (and sometimes more). This is just getting out of the range of a standard vacation, and gives you enough time to fully immerse yourself in the sabbatical experience you choose.
On the other hand, if you plan to completely shift directions, make a major career move, pursue a personal hobby, find your passion, or live in another country, you’re probably better off giving yourself ample time to really make the most of your sabbatical experience. When traveling long-term, it usually takes around three months just to acclimate and feel comfortable elsewhere. Your language skills start to kick into gear, and you start to develop a better understanding of the lifestyle and cultural differences you’re experiencing.
If you’re considering a longer sabbatical, know that you’re dealing with a whole different kind of preparation. A longer escape can mean greater and more enduring benefits, but also requires a higher level of organization and planning. Leaving for three months might mean severing a few ties to your “normal” life, whereas leaving for six months or more might mean ending your current lease for (or maybe even selling) your home.
Before deciding how long your sabbatical will be, carefully consider your reasons for investing in time off in the first place. Define your goals, and be honest with yourself about what you want to achieve. Ultimately, whether you take a month, three months, six months, or a full year, the length of your sabbatical isn’t as important as its purpose.
Taking a sabbatical can sound glamorous and dreamy, but planning a sabbatical requires presence, dedicated effort, and some serious logistical groundwork. Before you can get to the exciting part of deciding what you’ll actually do on your sabbatical, you’ll need to plan how you’re going to put your life on hold and leave!
Decide on a sabbatical experience that aligns with your goals, and then consider the steps you need to take towards making your escape feasible. If asking for an extended leave from work or quitting your job altogether is too much for you, Worldpackers is a great way to make your travel and sabbatical dreams a reality.
Worldpackers connects you with hosts around the world where you can travel exchanging your skills for accommodation. The platform was founded on the idea that travel is a pure form of education, and is represented by a worldwide collaborative travel community that strives to make travel easier and more accessible to all.
Using Worldpackers to travel allows you to enjoy some of the world’s more unique sabbatical experiences, while cutting your expenses up to 70%! Maybe you want to travel the world full-time as a digital nomad, and use your sabbatical to give time to creative pursuits that will help you build your digital portfolio. Maybe you’re seeking a calmer, quieter pace of life, and would like to immerse yourself in a natural environment. Whatever your chosen sabbatical experience, Worldpackers has a project that’s right for you.
As create your sabbatical escape plan and confront the logistics of work, time, and money, having the support of the Worldpackers community behind you is an invaluable resource.
This is undoubtedly the most important aspect of planning a sabbatical.
Contemplate your purpose in taking a sabbatical; ask yourself what you need and what you want to accomplish. Journal about your reasons for taking a sabbatical. Examine your expectations for your time away, and be both realistic and brave about your aspirations. Make a list of all the things you want to achieve. If you have a clear idea of what you hope to get out of your sabbatical, determining the sabbatical experience that’s right for you will be much easier.
If you want to maximize the benefits of taking a sabbatical, doing a work exchange is a great way to learn new skills and actively participate in your destination’s local community. Moreover, if the focus of your sabbatical is travel, exploring the world via work exchange is an incredibly fulfilling way to see new places and have a profound cultural experience, while also practicing responsible travel!
Finally, the fun part! If you’ve made it this far, you’re committed to reaping the rewards of a one-of-a-kind sabbatical experience.
Consider the appropriate backdrop and environment for your sabbatical’s purpose and needs. Make a list of the destinations that call to you. Whether you want to take a sabbatical in a faraway place or venture somewhere new in your own country, work in a dynamic city or up your self-care practices in a sustainable community, chances are there’s a Worldpackers project to suit your needs.
Once you have sufficient destination inspiration, start browsing the Worldpackers site to narrow down your options. Each Worldpackers work exchange, social impact effort, and eco program has something truly unique to offer. You’ll find hostels, guesthouses, NGOs, sustainable communities, and permaculture projects where you can help out and receive stay, food, and other benefits in exchange for a few hours of volunteer work each day.
At this point, you’ve chosen your destination, researched potential hosts, and your sabbatical plans are more or less set in motion. If you’re a Worldpackers community member, your options for where to go on sabbatical are pretty much limitless.
A few weeks from now you could be...
This is just a small sampling of the types of sabbatical experiences available to you through Worldpackers. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the possibilities, here’s a few specific modern sabbatical ideas to consider.
The best of luck on your journey.
Volunteer abroad with Worldpackers
Volunteer at hostels, homestays, guesthouses, NGOs, farms, ecovillages and thousands of other places. Use your hospitality, marketing, gardening and bartending skills to help others during your sabbatical and save up to 60% on your travel expenses.
Content from the Community
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