My Sabbatical (or My Five Months Traveling)

At the begining of  August last year I left my position at Deliveroo, where I’d been working for almost three years. Then, in  November I set out on a journey to travel Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia. I live tweeted some of the highlights in this thread below:

 

I also wrote up some of my thoughts on each country I visited:

Having returned last week, I’m settling back into London life and digesting the months that have just passed. It went by quickly and slowly at the same time and I wanted to share some thoughts.

  • Given the chance, people are more interesting than you might think – On a long trip like this your spend a lot of time meeting new people and learning a bit about them. In general, I found that people were more approachable and interesting than you might expect. Coming from London, where we never speak to strangers or mutter a word on the tube, it was refreshing.
  • SE Asia isn’t so cheap – SE Asia is often thought of as a cheap destination for Europeans. Of course, relative to European markets and other western holiday destinations it still is, but it isnt’t as cheap as it once was.
  • Everything can’t be ‘the best thing ever’ – When you go traveling, you often hear people describe things as ‘the best thing ever’ or any other range of superlative. For some reason, people feel the need to justify everything as being an amazing and life changing experience. In some cases, that might be true. But more often, its an over exageration. I had many great experiences travelling, but few I would describe as the best thing ever. If you’re looking for tips or recommendations its wise to take things with a pinch of salt.
  • Sabbaticals are really healthy – The overwhelming positive feeling I’ve taken from this experience is that having a longer period of time off has been really healthy for me. I’ve come back feeling happy, relaxed and enthusiastic for work again. I think a lot of people can relate that during a normal holiday, say 1-2week, it can sometimes be tough to fully relax. You still have access to work email. It takes a few days to settle in. Then toward the end you’re worried about it ending. Those holidays can feel fleeting and short. Having a longer period of time allowed me to fully switch-off, relax and recharge. I read lots of books, played sport, did nothing. This freedom of thought and activity is really nourishing. Whilst I did it for 5 months I think you could get an equivalent feeling by having about a month off. Of course not everyone will be able to do so, but I think its a healthy ambition to want to take a 1 month sabbatical every so often. I think if you could acheive that, you’d probably feel less stressed and more happy.