How about turning your next time away from work into a travel sabbatical – a real break from work?
With a one or even a two-week vacation we barely get relaxed and stop looking at emails before it's time to go home and back to work. A longer break allows you time to reflect, to get to know yourself, to reconnect with family and friends and your dreams.
While you are away on your next vacation, spend some time dreaming about a longer one. Assume there are no boundaries. You have the time, the money to do anything or go anywhere. Answer the question “if you had two or more months off, how would you ideally like to spend that time?” That’s the beginning of your plan. You will have to shape it, but start with what you really want to do.
According to the 2011 Fortune Magazine survey, 21 of the best companies to work for offer formal, paid for sabbatical programs. Even if your company doesn’t offer one, you too can do it. I have taken four “Reboot Breaks,” as I call them, and I have interviewed over 200 men and women of all ages and from many different types of careers who have had the courage to request time off from their work. Each person said they came back better professionally and personally.
Start by giving yourself permission. Did you recharge your cell phone yesterday? What about your laptop? Have you taken your car in for a check up lately? When was the last time you took time to recharge your battery? Not just for a day, a week or even a month - when was the last time you took at least two months for yourself? Think of this not as ‘time off’ but as ‘time on’…investing in one of your companies most important assets – you!
Now that you have given yourself permission, here are seven tips on how to fund your travel sabbatical:
1. Create a Reboot Break account. There are several ways to do this. You can approach your company and ask them to pay you ¾ of your salary for now. They, in essence, defer paying you that money until you are on your travel break. This helps with tax flow as well.
2. Create your own savings account. Fill it with a monthly deposit out of your paycheck. This should not strap you, but should be a commitment that you stick to over the time before your break.
3. Ask family and friends to contribute in lieu of birthday and holiday gifts and deposit that savings to the account.
4. Use a "windfall," such as a bonus, tax refund, or inheritance. Sell assets you don’t need, such as a second home or car, and use it as a windfall.
5. Make money while on your break:
• Writing your own travel blog and getting it sponsored
• Working as a travel companion
• Being a guest lecturer aboard a ship
• Getting a grant for research while you are off
• Teaching English as a Second Language
• Offer to drive a car across the country
• Rent your home for a year
6. Cut expenses while you are on your vacation sabbatical. Examples include:
• Trading your home or apartment for one in another area if you are going to be away.
• Selling your car - or park it and cancel the insurance temporarily.
• Stopping your cable service and cancel club fees temporarily.
• Exploring ways to entertain yourself that are free while you are at home or on travel.
7. Learn to live light. Simplify your life so your load is lightened both financially and psychologically. The concept applies to packing light when traveling, to reducing the dependence on material things, to focusing on personal growth.
About the author:
Rita Foley is a co-author of Reboot Your Life: Energize Your Career and Life by Taking a Break. She is a Corporate Director, retired Fortune 500 Global President, and a committed leader in numerous organizations dedicated to improving the health and lives of individuals. She has taken 4 sabbaticals and loves to travel. For additional information please visit her website: www.rebootbreak.com.