Taking a sabbatical often requires meticulous planning and a little bit of courage. In the third of this four-part series, Ros Walford provides a little inspiration by giving the lowdown on just some of the many things you could do during a career break.
What would you do if you had the opportunity to take a career break? Learn to hang-glide or speak Russian? Write a bestseller? Travel the world by boat? There are as many options as there are fish in the sea and deciding on an itinerary is all part of the fun. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Imagine swanning from lecture hall to classroom in a baroque centre of learning in Rome, notebook tucked under one arm. Each day after your Italian class, you hop onto your moped and scoot off. You meet your friends, Luigi and Maria, in a tiny trattoria around the corner from the Fontana di Trevi where you dine and parlare Italiano the whole night long before returning to your rooftop apartment. You have not a care in the world except for which form of subjunctive to use.
Sabbatical leave could be your chance to put the skills you already have to good use. How wonderful to have the time to write that novel that you’ve had burning inside you for years! Take yourself off to a remote Greek island, where the only distractions are the azure Mediterranean Sea and the lure of a local taverna.
If you’re seeking adrenalin, take an adventure challenge. Perhaps you have always wanted to climb Everest, join a polar expedition, or circumnavigate the globe by unicycle. Whatever challenge you aim for can be done, if you’ve got the determination to see through your convictions. Help others at the same time by raising money for charity. Check out charitychallenge.com for some inspiration.
The easy one: make a destination wish-list, buy your tickets, pack your bags – and go! Choosing where to go may be your only dilemma, but what a delightful problem that is. Should it be the clamouring souks of Marrakesh or a tranquil teahouse trail in the Himalayas? How about a steamy boat trip along the Amazon delta? Once you’ve figured out your itinerary, you could be wending your way slowly overland through Asia, following the backpacker trail around Australia and New Zealand, or embracing lively Latino culture in Central America.
Giving something back to the world can be immensely satisfying. There are thousands of volunteering opportunities available, from development to conservation programs. It’s an exciting way to see the world, meet new people and to live among cultures that are different to your own. You might find yourself caring for orphans in Calcutta, helping to build a new school or hospital in Bolivia, providing IT training in Uganda, or monitoring Orang Utan populations of Borneo.
If you plan to work abroad, you might find a professional placement before you go, perhaps in another of your company’s offices or partner organisation. Medical, engineering and IT professionals are in demand globally and anyone with a skilled trade, such as hairdressing or carpentry, shouldn’t have any trouble finding opportunities for work. Otherwise, depending on where you go, there are usually casual jobs to be found, such as bar or restaurant work, working in a hostel or other tourism-related jobs, such as on cruise ships or in ski resorts.
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