“With highs of 24 degrees, it could be the hottest day of the year so far. But by the afternoon, the sunshine will give way to thunder storms. The Met Office has issued warnings of heavy downpours, thunder and lightning.”
Listening to the weather forecast this morning I find myself drifting back four years ago to when I was travelling in Thailand on a year out. A group of us were relaxing in the outdoor pool after a tiring day of hiking up the mountains in exhausting heat. Closing my eyes I can picture it right now. The warm water lapping around my shoulders as I submerged myself under the water. It was a beautiful evening, the sun was setting and we’d just ordered a round of cocktails. It was heaven – a far cry from humid muggy London where I am right now!
We’d been planning what to do the next day and the sky piped up with the loudest grumble – obviously disagreeing with our choice of activity. Out of nowhere the sky darkened, it was like someone had switched off the light. And then the heavens opened and boy did it put on a show! It was my first experience of a tropical storm and one I won’t forget.
I snap myself back into reality and realise that I’ve been drooling over my cereal. I love travelling and would recommend it to anyone. Discovering new cultures, eating new food, exploring new countries and gaining new skills. It’s a fantastic experience, and even on those down days when you’re feeling home sick, you can learn more about yourself than you can with 6 months in the UK.
For those that are in full time employment, sabbaticals can give you the opportunity to get away from things and take that break to go travelling. So whether you’re ready to take the leap or you’ve only just thought about taking a sabbatical, I’ve got some great tips for you.
Tip 1: Start Saving
Before you even go anywhere, you’ll need to start saving. Travelling sure is great, but it’s also expensive. If you want to tick everything off the list and anything you discover along the way that’s not on your list, then you’ll need to save.
Set yourself realistic goals and try stick to it. Look into your finances, is there anything you can cut back on? Maybe you could walk to the office, or car pool? What about making your lunch, instead of buying lunch out. Whether you put away £10 a month or £1000, every penny counts and will help you achieve your goal.
Tip 2: Decide Why You Want a Sabbatical.
So why do you want a sabbatical? Do you want to get away from the stresses of daily life? Or perhaps you don’t enjoy your job or you want to experience new things. Maybe you simply want a longer holiday to fully recuperate and recover.
Whatever the reason, it’s important to know why you’re taking a break, otherwise you may return feeling as though it didn’t fulfil your expectations. So if you want to go surfing in Byron Bay or learn some new skills or qualifications like teaching English, knowing what you want to gain will help you achieve your goals to ensure you make the most out of the experience.
Tip 3: Find Out If Your Company Offers Sabbaticals
Now you’ve determined what you want to get out of you sabbatical and you’re financially on your way, you need to find out if your company partakes in sabbatical schemes.
If your company doesn’t have a policy then you’ll have to convince them how beneficial it will be.
You can discuss both personal and professional growth such as learning new skills like a language, improving current ones, for example communication and interpersonal skills and gain confidence. Plus your new experiences and skills could help bring a fresh approach to things in the office.
And if you’ve been with your company for a long time, it’s a great way to reward loyalty and keep staff happy rather than losing a great employee.
Tip 4: Plan Everything
The time’s come to approach your manager and propose your plan. Make sure you plan everything – the more prepared and informed you are, the less questions your manager will have. Think of all the questions they may ask including how long you plan on going away for, how your workload can be managed in the meantime, whether you can work whilst you’re away, what you plan to do, what you and the business stand to gain and any other questions specific to your situation.
Tip 5: Give Plenty of Notice
Don’t spring it on your manager 2 weeks before your plane leaves! Remember you are asking for a favour so it might take some time for your proposal to sink in and come to an arrangement. Timing is key and the more informed the company is, the more likely they are to agree. Make it easy for them and they’re more likely to make it easy for you.
So if you’ve been thinking about taking a sabbatical, maybe it’s time to make take that dream and turn it into a reality.
There’s a whole world out there, so go explore!
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Previously on The Euroffice Blog…