The idea of taking a month off and travel, a sabbatical of sorts, is one that many people daydream about, but few actually end up doing.
You have to believe that it’s possible to unplug from the emails and to-do lists and tune into adventures … and in this fast-paced work-oriented lifestyle, it may even be necessary lest you turn into a corporate zombie.
Here are four excellent reasons why we believe that it is necessary.
Most people run their minds and bodies like cars with R100 worth of petrol in the tank. Every evening after work we may get enough time to fill another R100 of rest only to use it up, stutter and stall by lunchtime the next day. That means often nothing remains to us for creativity, exploration, family and friends, all the qualities of life that encourage well-being and self-growth.
So it may seem like a lot, but a month is what you’ll need to fill up and have reserves. So trust it, go with it and enjoy the ride.
If you’ve been burned out for a long time, stressed, or just stuck in a rut, it can be easy to forget you weren’t always that way.
But at one point, you were lively and curious about the world, and maybe you still are but have become pre-occupied with the daily necessities of work and home life. Taking that month off to travel takes you out of the comfortably constrictive familiar zone, forcing you to think your way through new routes, different sleeping situations, unusual foods, everything that turns on your brain.
Traveling and seeing that the world is bigger and grander than you and your problems is incredibly freeing.
Once tuned into the world around you, you can rethink the person within you. What did you want to do as a kid, and do you still want it? What happened along the way; are you living your dream or did you find comfort in daily certainty?
Remember, there is no wrong answer, but the question must be asked, and there’s something about that exposure while traveling that frees you to ask the tough questions without fear and figure out what you really want.
Maybe you realized how much you do enjoy your job, or perhaps it’s finally time to move on. Whatever your decision, the hopeful result is that you got the time to really decide. You can take that next right step into the direction of self-fulfillment for the only life you’ve got.
By now, I bet you’re wondering how you might actually be able to pull this off? Well, here are some tips:
Pick something you can afford, start small
You don’t need to break the bank for a pilgrimage to the Himalayas for the magic to happen. Take a road trip and do the tourist thing in a few towns you’ve never visited. Swim with dolphins in Mozambique. Learn to scuba dive. Hike in the Drakensberg The only requirement is that you try something new.
Go with a loved one or two
While there’s something to be said about the solo journey, double the trouble can be twice the fun. Mishaps will likely happen during your trip, and what better way to roll with it than with a few good laughs between you and your friends.
Don’t just leave co-workers stranded
Chances are you’ll have to do a little work on the forefront to help prevent the backlog when you return. Add an extra 15-30 minutes in your day, maybe cut the lunch break in half, to get it done. Few experiences are worse than coming back to a workload that leaves you regretting your decision to take off — or frustrates your co-workers for having to pick up the slack.
Set up an auto-email
This sounds simple, but few do it, and it seriously adds to ease of mind. It lets people know you are unavailable, that they have to wait and that you can wait until your return to log in to your email. You can even ask someone to be your point-of-contact for the “emergency” emails if that makes everyone feel better.
Save the important numbers and turn the phone off
Go 1990s and write down the numbers of friends and family you think you’ll want/need to contact on your journey. Bring a real camera, even if it’s just disposable. This adventure is for you and maybe the ones you love most. Focus on yourself now, not the hundreds of people who may or may not see your photos later on their news feed.
Not enough time?
Take long weekends to unplug completely. Leave the phone at home or even in the car and camp in the mountains or at the beach. Visit with a friend you haven’t seen in years. Make sure to try something new, something that resets your brain and makes you see a different, bigger picture of the world and your place in it.