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My sabbatical: "After 18 months of planning, its time to take the plunge..."

July 18, 2018, 11:02 a.m.

Our wonderful director-investor Paul is living the life he wants to lead. He’s started a sabbatical of a lifetime...to Italy, Ireland, Bali and more! Here he is in his own words to tell us how it all began and what he’s learned so far after months of planning it all...

When I got a real opportunity to take a few months break from work I just knew I had to do it. My opportunity came because of an enlightened change in sabbatical policy at the place I have worked for 20 years. So with a bit of forward planning and some other stars aligning I was all set for 3 months away from the 9 to 5 for the first time in my working life...

I just knew in my gut that it would be a good thing for me to do. Not just for the chance to have some great experiences, but also just to ‘exist’ away from the rat race for a while and see how that felt.

I’ve been lucky to do many great ‘bucket list’ type things so far in my life and a few things related to this concept have struck me:

1. I am very fortunate to have had these opportunities. You need people around you who will support you, especially if you have commitments, mainly through their understanding, their practical support. Sometimes you may need their financial help and also you might just need them to be there during the planning and all of the various stresses involved.

2. I have never found anyone who regretted doing something off of their bucket list. I’ve never heard anyone say ‘I could have had a bigger car / pension / etc rather than doing buckets list xyz‘. The experience may be better or worse than they expected but it doesn’t ever seem to be something people want to take back or go back in time to remove from their memory banks.

3. People are genuinely interested in hearing about these experiences and want to share their own. There is something about hearing someone talk passionately about something they’ve done that enriches conversations and sparks others. Also it is definitely not related to the size of the budget or wackiness of the experience, people’s attention is usually there whatever. Of course you get some bores or know it alls but thankfully they are few and far between.

4. A bucket list can be as big or as small as you like. It’s really just a way of describing something that you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t for some reason. Maybe it’s going to a far flung country or maybe it’s just as simple as spending some quality time with people who matter to you but for whatever reason, it never happens. Don’t limit buckets lists by size, just make it about what you really want to make happen, the stuff that you feel in your gut will be worthwhile and you never get round to.

And so my sabbatical begins, I’ve done most of the planning, got most of the tickets and have that healthy sense of trepidation mixed with excitement. I’ll let you know how it goes…

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