I agree with Matt Koenig, “Everyone should take a one year sabbatical.” Next year in June, Matt and his family, plan on taking one year off. I love the way his blog has the countdown to the day with minutes and seconds.
Matt gives four reasons why and I agree with his reasons, but being older than him, I’d like to add a fifth one.
1) Find Your Purpose
2) Health and Rejuvenation
3) Family Time
4) Travel & Experience the World
5) Live your life today. Don’t postpone by using excuses of kids, health, money, elderly parents to take care of etc.
I would argue that too many people put off doing what they want to do, until retirement. How many times have you heard people say, “We can’t move now, the kids would hate to leave their friends.” Or, “We can’t move to (name favorite place you’d like to move to) until we retire.
Before my family moved for a year to Belize, (both my husband and I craved adventure and change) we heard different comments like, “What about your kids? What do they say?” To which we responded, “It will be good for them to experience life in another country.” Now that we’re back in the US, I would do it again in a heartbeat.
My mother died when I was 25. For those of you who have lost a parent at a fairly young age, I believe you gain a different perspective on life.
Many people go through life unhappy. Get up, go to work, and as Matt puts it, “live for the weekend.”
We expect our kids to go to school, get a good education which we hope will lead to a good job, purchase a nice house and car and then save until retirement. (I might be a little guilty of that myself, as far as my sons getting a good education, however, if they choose to live abroad, or do something they’re passionate about in a third world country, that’s fine with my husband and me. We just want them to find their own thing.)
As Matt says, “It’s the typical delayed or deferred life plan that all of us are so familiar with. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. For many it works. The thing is for others like me it is what makes us so miserable.Would I ever find the thing that I was truly passionate about and then be able to turn that passion into a life quest?”
Matt mentions what Chris Guillebau says in his life manifesto, “The Art of Non- Conformity: “Once in a while it really hits people that they don’t have to experience the world in the way they have been told to.”
Now Chris Guillebau is a man I truly admire. I just listened to a half hour interview with Chris Guillebau on David Garland’s blog: The Rise to the Top.
There is so much good stuff for writers and bloggers building a platform and for those who want to travel to each of the 192 countries around the world, like Chris. The difference is he’s visited 151 countries so far, and will achieve his goal by the age of 35.
But enough for today. Chris Guillebau, has such a fascinating outlook on life, and as a person who loves to live a Gutsy Life, I shall talk about him on Thursday. Hope you join in the discussion:
Do you agree with taking a one-year sabbatical?
Why? or why not? If so, what would you do, and where would you go?
Taking a year off is very popular here in Sweden. In fact, you can leave your job and come back to it later. Lots of families go to Thailand, for example.. It's called a 'Thaim out'.
Doctor Eclectic says
I was fortunate enough tio have a year's sabbatical when I was a career Navy dentist in that I was chosen to attend the Naval War College where our requirement was to attend classes outside our field of training, stay current with current events. and interact with about 250 peers from several different nations. While tis wouldn't be what you describe, I contend that it was a life-altering year for me and my family.
Hi Sonia! Thanks so much for mentioning me in this wonderful post. I love your addition of the 5th reason to take a sabbatical. It's true that we never know how much time we have left so we should treasure every minute of every day. There is no time like the present to do the things we are passionate about. I am encouraged by your family's year in Belize and how it transformed your family in many different ways. We are certainly hoping that it does the same for our family. I'm excited about the adventures and the things our kids will learn while in Indonesia. I really look forward to connecting with you and learning more about your year in Belize.
@Matt, I think you're doing something wonderful I don't know how old you are and if you have kids, but when we moved to Belize, we had several reasons. I think my family suffered from the suburban family syndrome: stressed out parents, defiant teenager, kids with the entitlement attitude, and we wanted to get away from it all and "heal" our family. I've traveled since childhood, so I know the benefits.
Good luck to you Matt, and to your family, and thanks for introducing me to Chris Guillebeau and "The Art on Non-Conformity." That is so me.
I like the "Thaim Out" concept. Here people go to Thailand for cheaper surgeries, and other things. Perhaps I need to move back to Scandinavia.
Thanks for comment. Good to see you, or should I say, hear from you. I can truly appreciate how interacting with peers from several different nations can be life altering. Good for you. I love international experiences.
Ballerina Girl says
I kind of feel like for my children and I, we are constantly on a sabbatical!
I mean, they still go to school, and my husband still works, but we live in such different locations that we get to experience everything all the time!
I feel very blessed and lucky!
I've experienced many sabbatical years! 🙂
I must say that it's totally different to travel and live abroad.
We visited in Casa for a weekend from Cairo and we thought this was a 'paradise' after life in Egypt.
How wrong we were!
We've been here now for 7 months and ready to leave when the contract is over.
We've learned a lot. Mostly about ourselves. We are not teens anymore – we like comfortable life – did not know that before. With comfortable I mean: kitchen where everything works, quiet neighbors (now we have 3 kids running and playing 12 hours/day above us – you hear every step here. Imagine them running and throwing things on the floor…), enough hot water and pressure to have a shower etc.
All these we have to remember when we move on…
@BG I hope you're keeping a journal.
How much longer in Casablanca?
I can imagine the frustrations of daily life, and actually prefer living out of town, like we did on Ambergris Caye, Belize.
Madame DeFarge says
I'd love to take a year off, but can't bear the risk of losing my direction in life. Not that I have one, but just not a risk taker I guess.
Patricia Stoltey says
Definitely! I interrupted my work career to spend two years in France, and thank goodness I had the guts to do it. I'd sure hate to be looking back now with regret. It was awesome.
Lynn MacDonald says
I agree. Both of my parents died when i was in my 30's and they didn't live to see my kids grow up! You need to enjoy life while you can. Great post
Lynn MacDonald says
Great post. I agree that you need to live while you can and not put it off.
I do agree with it, if it is what you want to do. I think a lot depends on one's personality.
For example, I wouldn't mind doing some more travel one day. But I have traveled a lot in my life already. I'm learning new things everyday and enjoying my life such as it is now.
I am in what I would refer to as a whole new chapter in my life. So everyday is bringing something new for me. And I'm really enjoying it, for now anyway! Love Di ♥
Rinkly Rimes says
Thanks for following me!
At the age of eighty I have few regrets. But my main one is worrying about what other peope thought of me! In old age one becomes a Non-Conformist and wishes one had done so years ago!!!!!
Robert the Skeptic says
As a struggling parent, two kids each between us, mortgage, debts, I would have LOVED to have taken a sabbatical. There was no way we could afford it; an out-of-reach luxury.
Nancy resigned from social services when she was threatened with death by a crazed client. She did real estate, which she loved, for three years. But it didn't pay the bills and she had to go back.
I envy these stories of people who take a year off and travel or pursue some dream.. but I always ask myself, who is footing the bills? Nothing is free, and I fear sabbaticals are for people who have the luxury of affording them.
Think of it as a way to get more topics to talk about. I just love to see what others are thinking and doing in this "small" world of ours. Wish I could go all over the place and experience different cultures.
Glad you did. What did you get from those years?
Sounds like you had the same situation I did, as far as a parent not seeing your kids grow up.
I think it's wonderful to find something that brings you joy at home too. Sounds like you have that.
Thanks for visiting me. Glad to hear you're a non-conformist, and I agree wouldn't life be so much better for younger people to feel that way. A gift of growing older, I guess.
@Robert the Skeptic,
There, I beg to differ. If you have a house in the US, you can always rent it or sell it. That's what we did. Many move to Belize and can live off social security checks there, without a pension, which they struggle with here. You can live cheaper outside the US than inside, in many countries. We did with two teenagers and one ten-year-old. There's nothing to buy that US kids want and they learn to enjoy life with less. So it is possible. Rents are also much cheaper in many countries than here. That's one of the problems. We often think life costs a lot in other countries, when it's cheaper. Thaks for your comment.
Expat in Germany says
Yes, yes and yes! Everyone should do this. I turned down 3 good jobs right out of university to go teach English "somewhere" (which later turned out to be S. Korea and Thailand) and I was so glad that I did this and was away for 2 1/2 years total. I think it's great that you and your husband moved your family to Belize for a year, it must have been a wonderful experience for them and for you all to experience together as a family.
I can't wait to do this! I think about it almost daily, and have not yet figured out where I would like to take my family, but we will do something. A friend of mine is doing this now, with her family, and it is fun to watch their adventure:http://bft1.wordpress.com/ They have put in perspective some of the challenges of travelling with kids. Very inspiring to hear your adventures! Thanks.
I´m about to go on a six month journey to Costa Rica. Just me and my 3-year old. I want us to experience another culture and her to learn Spanish (I already speak it).
I think we all learn so much from traveling and it´s even more special if you have time to stay in places long enough to make connections with the locals and live a simple life (not really go hard on the touristic activities).