About Me

Welcome to The Sabbatical Guide.

Hi, I’m Ben, founder and main content creator for the site.

A couple with owls on their heads at a winery in South Africa

That’s me with my gorgeous and smiley wife Becca on our first-ever extended break to South Africa.

And yes, they are owls on our heads…

…and yes, they are real!

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My Sabbatical Story

I always describe that I lost my twenties to work. 

I was working weekends and late nights when all my friends were off at university or out partying. I said no to more invitations and more nights out than I care to think of.

It was an important time in my life. Putting the work in allowed me to have a strong foundation for my future, giving us the financial freedom and credibility within the industry to make decisions.

But I couldn’t keep working at this pace forever, the balance needed to be re-addressed.

Something had to change…

…and early in my thirties, I made some brave choices.

In 2015, I decided to leave my job but built in three months before starting the next one. In this time I got to spend some much needed time clearing my head, but Becca and I also spent a month in South Africa, the country my dad moved to twenty years ago.

In 2017, we booked and took a three-month sabbatical away from work where we travelled through Southeast Asia. This was an incredible experience. It was the most time I’ve spent with Becca in our 10 years together and allowed us to travel slowly through a new part of the world.

In 2019, I got offered the chance to take a job in Australia, a great opportunity to see the world from a different perspective. Again I gave myself time off between jobs to spend time with family and friends.

READ MORE: My Sabbatical Story


Work & Why I Love My Job

Me in one of the many roles I’ve had within supermarkets in the Uk and abroad

I need to be clear from the outset though, I love my job. 

I’m not one of the ‘quit work and travel the world’ brigade, I love having the safety security financial independence and success that comes from a career. 

I’ve gone from sitting on a checkout in a local supermarket at the age of 16, to now running a business of over half a billion dollars worth of turnover and a team of over 1,500. 

I would not be where I am today if I hadn’t signed that contract at a young age and I owe so much to the people who’ve helped me along during my career.


Travel

An old scanned in photo of two men looking out over an African plain
Adventures in Africa: A photo of the early days with my dad in Africa

But my biggest passion outside of work has always been travel.

Travel became a central part of my world as a kid. My dad’s job took him away from home a lot, to Bangladesh, India and Indonesia to name a few. He would come back with incredible gifts of far-flung places that didn’t seem quite real.

When I was about ten he made a permanent move out to South Africa. My sister and I joined him in all the major school holidays to go on adventures that were almost unimaginable before. Road trips up to Vic Falls, long dark evenings playing cards in Kruger National Park or driving the Garden Route down to Cape Town. 

My dad was a brave man taking young kids on journeys like this, and I think it was these experiences that led to my deep-rooted need to travel. 

When you combine this with my mum’s skills as a teacher, you start to get a picture of why I became who I am.

Someone who craves travel, but also loves to learn and write about my experiences.

Someone who wants to have experiences that you can’t get at home, but also create a trail behind me reminding me of where I’ve been. Photographs do this, as do memories, but writing has always been my first love – whether it be music, poetry or now, sharing my stories through travel writing.

My career has helped me to do this. Giving me the money and annual leave to travel and more recently using sabbatical leave to see even more of the world.


Travelling As A Couple

Ben Reeve and Becca Reeve with fans

My companion through the last ten years of travel has been my wife Becca. When we first met she hadn’t done much travelling, but now she’s the one pushing us on! We’ve seen so much of the world together, and I’ve loved every moment of it. 

Time on the road would definitely be boring without her there. I’d be rattling through temples, museums and churches, but with her we’re paragliding, visiting zoos and getting every fun/train or tour bus she can find! 

Travelling as a couple is not always easy, being in such close company can push people to their limits, but somehow we’ve found a way. We’re both pretty easy going, which helps, but normally a quick sugar fix picks up whoever is the most grumpy! 

All I know is that I wouldn’t have seen half of what I have without her by my side. We’re not the bravest travellers in the world, and we like our home comforts, but we are the living proof that if you put your mind to it you can find a way to incorporate travel into your life.

And that the world doubles in excitement when you share it with someone.


Taking A Sabbatical

This site exists to help career-minded people finance, plan and book the sabbatical of their dreams.

I’ve worked hard to build this site into the best resource on the internet for sabbatical and career break information.

It’s broadly split into six categories:

Sabbaticals 101
The basic questions and mindset of a sabbatical explained

Sabbatical Inspiration
Sabbatical Ideas and stories from people who’ve already taken a sabbatical that will inspire you to take action.

Financing a Sabbatical
Learn how to make money work harder and put aside the cash for a sabbatical.

A Sabbatical & Your Career
In this section, I cover everything work-related which will reassure you that it is possible to take a sabbatical without ruining your career.

Sabbatical Planning
When your sabbatical is signed off there is still a lot of work to do. This section guides you through everything you need to do in the three months before you leave for your sabbatical.

Returning Home
Returning home and back to work after a sabbatical can be difficult to face. Here are some tips to help you through the tough times.


Welcome To The Sabbatical Guide

So, welcome to The Sabbatical Guide I hope you find what you are looking for here.

I hope you find some inspiration to build time and space into your career and to follow your dreams. This site will help you to realise those dreams by giving practical and pragmatic information, and helping you put the foundations in place, such as getting your money saved and clearly planning what you want to do with the time.

My wife and I Becca have been to some amazing places and seen some unforgettable things but we still are both fiercely career-minded. Building these mini-retirements into our careers has allowed us to have the best of both worlds and the aim of this site is to share with you what we’ve learned.


Awards and Honours

  • Nitestay.com – 55th in ‘Top 100 Blogs to Follow in 2018’

Places You’ll Find My Writing


Press Coverage

Scoot airline magazine
Feature in Scoot Airline Magazine

Other Places I’ve Been Mentioned


Some Non-Sabbatical Things I Love

  • Ryan Adams
  • Marzipan
  • Rugby Union
  • Snake documentaries (but not snakes!)
  • Blues guitar
  • Maps
  • The Simpsons
  • Cycling
  • Coffee
  • Cats
  • Everything French
  • The Western Bulldogs
  • Pinotage, Malbec, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc wines

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Very inspirational story. I would like this.

Danniel
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Hi,
It is a very interesting story. You give motivation to many of the beginners with your work.

Henry
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Hi,
This Guide contains a very great story. Thanks

Smith
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This is a very sensational story. I would like this very much


Useful Tools for Booking Your Sabbatical

Flights

I always use Skyscanner or Agoda alongside Google Flights to make sure I’ve got the best price. I use Google Flights to save a route and monitor price changes and a combination of Skyscanner and Agoda to get the cheapest tickets. 

If you are in the UK I would also highly recommend signing up for Jack’s Flight Club to get incredible flight deals sent to your email inbox every week.

Accommodation

When booking accommodation I always start with Booking.com as they generally have the best range and prices. I also regularly use Airbnb for longer stays and apartments in cities (use this link for £25 off your first stay). For a different experience try signing up to Housecarers for free house-sitting opportunities (get 10% off membership with this link).

Insurance

Travel insurance might seem like an unnecessary cost, but when a flight gets cancelled, injury occurs or you damage a piece of gear you’ll regret not paying in advance. I’ve used  World Nomads for two sabbaticals and (after badly damaging a hire car in Laos!) found the claim process to be simple and transparent.

Tours

Using local guides is one of my favourite travel tips. The easiest way to find a local guide is to use Get Your Guide who offer tours with local guides all over the world.

Gear

Check out my gear page for my favourite travel gear, here for a detailed 3-month packing list for men and women and here to find 38 great travel gifts.

Transfers

Getting from the airport to your destinations is an added stress after a tiring flight, so take the guesswork out and pre-book with JayRide.com. Their prices often beat the local taxis and I've found them to be reliable and easy to use.

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