Want To Take a Sabbatical? Breaking down the mental barriers

I’ll be upfront with you right from the off.

If you’re looking for someone to convince you to take a sabbatical, I’m not your guy.

This website is not about forcing you one way or another, it’s about giving you practical, actionable information that will help you make your own decisions.

If you want, you can browse the site top to bottom and read about the adventures I’ve had, the amazing things I’ve learnt and fantastic people I’ve met whilst on sabbatical. If they inspire you then great!

But that’s my life, my decisions and my consequences!

Only you can weigh up your own risks.

But I can help coach you through the decisions that lie ahead of you.

So let’s get started….


Do you really want to take a sabbatical?

I mean, really?

This is some scary stuff you’re thinking about here.

But that’s why you clicked this link 🙂

I suppose a better question would be the following….

Why do you want to take a sabbatical?

In my article ‘Why Take a Sabbatical?’ I list 8 key reasons I think someone might want to take extended leave:

  1. To travel
  2. To make a difference
  3. To stop you quitting
  4. To learn a new skill (or refresh an old one)
  5. To spend some time with a loved one
  6. To avoid burn-out
  7. To escape and re-evaluate
  8. To enjoy time off whilst you are still young

Which one of these categories do you most fit into?

It might be a combination of two or even more.

If you don’t fit in any, EMAIL ME RIGHT NOW and tell me why you are considering a sabbatical, and I will add it to the article! Maybe there are 9, 10 or even 50 reasons! These were just my opinions.


Time to take action

This site is about taking action to get you closer to your goals.

So here we go….

Grab a piece of paper….

I want you to take a sheet of paper, or a note taking app and write the reason you want to take a sabbatical at the top of it.

Done?

Ok, you should have something like this….

….to help I’m going to use myself as an example.

Want to take a sabbatical

Fear-setting

Next I want you to write down all of your fears.

What scares you about taking time a sabbatical? What makes you lie awake at night and wonder if you’ve making the right decision?

Keep it fluid, go with your gut. Just write without putting too much thought into it, we want all those inner fears to surface.

I’m keeping mine brief because it’s only an example, so don’t worry if you have lots more than this. Yours could be everything from not being able to find a home for the cat, to concerns about getting visas!

I want to take a sabbatical but am afraid

What if?

Ok, great.

Next we will complete a ‘What If?’ exercise.

Take all those fears from the last section, and turn them into a positive ‘What If?’.

Mitigating the worst case scenario

And as one last stage I want you to imagine the worst case scenario for each of the fears you listed.

If it’s about your job, it might be losing it. If it’s money, it might be losing all your savings.

But instead of dwelling on your fears, I want you to write down all the ways you could mitigate the worst case scenario.

Rinse and repeat

And there we have it.

Over the next couple of days, rinse and repeat. Whenever you have a few minutes, open up the note, and see if any new fears come up. If they do, work your way through the ‘What If?’ and ‘Mitigation’ phases.


Back to the beginning

Let me take you back to my original question.

Do you really want to take a sabbatical?

If you’ve done this exercise properly, you should have all the information you need to make that decision.

It doesn’t make it any easier, the decision itself will still be a tough one, but what you have now is a visual summary of everything that’s on your mind. There’s no hiding when it’s right there in front of you.

If the risks still seem too great, then your answer might be a no.

If you’ve managed to mitigate all your fears, then you might be leaning towards a yes.

This bit I can’t help you with.

Your life, your decision.

But if you’re still with me, then click the link below and sign up for my 20 step sabbatical planning guide, that will walk you through the rest of the process, from estimating your budget and approaching your employer to sorting out pets and packing.

CLICK HERE FOR ’20 STEP SABBATICAL PLANNING GUIDE’

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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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