Lusting after the gap year that you never took before or after university? Or maybe you did take one and are desperate to take off and do it all again – or do it all differently now you’ve got the Koh San Road out of your system.
Contrary to what people may tell you, travelling does not end when your student card expires. Oh no. In fact, it’s about to get a whole lot more interesting.
Say hello to the sabbatical.
A sabbatical is a specified time away from work, usually unpaid, agreed by your employer. It’s safe to say that I’m quite a fan of the ol’ sabbatical. In the seven years that I’ve been working since I left university, I’ve taken not one but two three-month stints off work. The first saw me taking off on a solo trip through Southeast Asia and China 4.5 years ago, while the second was an extended honeymoon earlier this year with my brand new husband, travelling round Australia, New Zealand, the Cook Islands and Los Angeles (I know. It was as good as it sounds).
Taking time out of your career can seem daunting. But trust me when I say that using a few months off to go travelling will basically be the best thing you’ve ever done. Here are 12 reasons why.
Why you need to get your sabbatical application in now
1. Refresh yourself
Repeat after me: taking time out isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it will give you a much needed break and see you returning to work happier, enthusiastic and ready to get stuck in. Three pretty good reasons right there to convince your employer to give you some time off, but if you need some more, take a look at this 5 Step Plan For Taking A Sabbatical.
2. You’ve got your whole life to work
If you were born in the 90s, and unless you become a millionaire at some point, you’re going to be working until you’re 70. At least. That’s an awful lot of your life spent at work. Come on, you can spare a few months off to go travelling.
3. Travelling = growth
One of the whole points of travelling is to experience new things – things you can’t experience in your day to day life in the UK. I’m aware how cringey it sounds, but a sabbatical really will help you grow as a person.
Image courtesy of Moyen
4. Travelling does not = failure
Your career will not stall because you don’t work for a while. Really, it won’t. I got a promotion when I came back from my first sabbatical. And after my second, I won Employee of the Year. I kid you not. If you put your all into your job while you’re there, it will be recognised. Just make sure you put your all into your time off too.
5. Some time out with help you figure it all out
Not working in your dream industry? Some time away will give you some perspective. Who knows, you may get a flash of inspiration on the road, or even do some networking with other career breakers. You might even fall in love with another country and want to move there. Hello, working holiday.
6. You’ll have a guaranteed job to come back to
Already doing a job you want to be doing? The beauty of a sabbatical is that your job will still be there when you get back. And it’s pretty great knowing that though your travels may drain your savings, you’ll have money to live on again once you get back.
Stop reading start doing! Image courtesy of Jaskirat on Flickr
7.Boost your CV
You could spend your whole sabbatical lazing on Thai beaches (no judgement). Or you could do something productive and boost that resume. Volunteering is a great shout, and shouldn’t conflict with the terms of your sabbatical, as you’re not undertaking paid work abroad. Work with children, on a conservation project, or with local communities pretty much anywhere in the world you want.
8. Age is on your side
In a way, it’s a great thing that you’ve waited until now to go travelling. You’re older and (hopefully) a bit wiser than your 18 year old self and, importantly, you’ve had some experience of the real world. You’ll savour each backpack-lugging, overnight-train-taking, bucket-swigging moment. You’ll seize every opportunity because you really appreciate that it’s better than sitting in an office.
9. You have money
You have a job! Which means you have the means to save to do the trip you really want to do. What’s the point of being in South America if you can’t afford to explore it? Hey, you don’t even have to slum it in the cheapest hostel around if you don’t want to. You flashpacker, you.
10. No regrets
If you have itchy feet, you need to give in to them. You don’t want to be looking back in 20 years wishing you’d gone travelling, do you? Answer: you do not.
Map or no map I think she's going the wrong way! Photo courtesy of Martina on Fickr
11. Your employer won’t mind (honest)
It’s not like you’re using your time off to sit at home, is it? You’re seeing the world, learning new things and generally bettering yourself. Employers value well-rounded people so you’re basically increasing your employability. On a beach. Sweet.
12. You only live once
Enough said. Get out there. Explore the world. Your time really is now.