I accidentally fell into a life of taking regular sabbaticals. When I look back, it's been the catalyst for every significant change in my life so far. This is my story.
I kinda like to travel. I’ve taken 9 extended travel breaks in the pursuit of this passion covering all 7 continents, reaching about 60 countries. Of course, there’s been plenty of holidays too — but that’s something entirely different to a having a real break, longer than a month, to travel the world. If I add it all together, over the last 15 years, I’ve spent about 3 of those on sabbatical from ordinary life.
What’s not on the Facebook feed, what you can’t tell from adding up all those months or countries and what I can never quite manage to communicate in the return stories, is the way it changes me. It’s the experiences, the rejuvenation, the breakthroughs and ideas that come to me while I’ve been on those trips that are the most important to me. It becomes something bigger. It goes way beyond the break and becomes the next milestone.
It’s almost like it’s something that I unconsciously do now. Like my soul knows I need to make the next big change in my life, so it starts the process of planning the next big break. I allow myself to run away and in the process, run head first into the realization of what I need to do next. I get the courage to leap. Without the break, change seems impossible, or at the very least, unlikely.
If I trawl through all the big moments in my life so far, almost all have been prefaced by one of these extended travel breaks. Without going into the details of the travel adventures (that would take a long time and would quite possibly only interest me!), here are all the life changes I’ve put in motion following each sabbatical.
Sabbatical 1 — Career change
Sabbatical 2 — Move to London
Sabbatical 3 — Break up a relationship
Sabbatical 4 — Move back to Australia
Sabbatical 5 — Break up another relationship
Sabbatical 6 — New job
Sabbatical 7 — Move to Amsterdam
Sabbatical 8 — Decide to set up my own business
Sabbatical 9 — Launch business
Don’t get me wrong, there’s been other big stuff I’ve done or had to face in my life — but most of the milestone moments have been decided or put in motion while I was on the road. The commitment and courage all came while I was living my passion, being the best possible version of myself.
Some amazing angels have helped along the way as well. Whispering the words I needed to hear, at the perfect time, giving me that gentle nudge forward. Sometimes the universe has just reached out, picked me up and dropped me in the middle of a life-changing experience. There’s also been the slowing down, the appreciation of simplicity, the lessons of patience and gratitude, disconnection from expectation. When I’m away from ordinary life, extraordinary things happen inside me. I become a better, stronger, passionate, motivated version of myself. I make the hard decisions and commit to the changes I know need to happen. And I move closer to being the person the world needs me to be.
So if you need to change…. Run like hell! Run away from your ordinary and into something extraordinary — that’s where the courage to change begins.
Where will your sabbatical take you?