When I first spoke up about my plans to travel, a multitude of people tried to talk me into, rather than quitting, taking a sabbatical; an extended period of planned, unpaid leave, agreed upon with your manager under the contractual obligation that you return to work after a determined time-frame.
…For me, I can think of nothing worse.
Awesome if you are on your chosen career path and don’t want to risk losing out while you are still climbing the metaphorical ladder. Great if you have a passion and a talent for your profession but want to see the world a little. Amazing if you have ties to your home country; children, a mortgage, long-term relationship. Brilliant if you only want to travel a few months or a year, safe in the knowledge that you can come back and return with life just the way you left it (well almost, nothing is the same after travel).
I think I laughed in the face of the first person who suggested a sabbatical to me.
I have a degree that I am yet to use for anything other than voluntary work that just leads to more voluntary work. Okay, so whose decision was it to get a degree in Fine Art and Art History and expect a well paying career at the end of it? And so, I am in a dead-end job with no room for progression and an almost un-livable wage. I leave work every night feeling so uninspired. The days drag on and I am constantly itching for the weekend. I am literally wishing my life away. That is not living.
I am jacking it all in to travel.
I have no dependents, no house, no car, no relationship. And right now, I can think of nothing better. Pure unadulterated freedom. And I love the endless, terrifying possibilities. The idea of coming back to this job, or even one like it, makes me miserable. Being contractually obligated to return to it? Not far short of horrifying.
I have made a promise with myself that I won’t let that happen.
It may seem counter-intuitive then that I am working 50+ hour weeks, beavering away into the evenings and giving up my weekends in this place I can’t stand but, the end is in sight and my eyes are firmly on the prize. Now, I am constantly itching for that paycheck. Transferring a chunk of hard earned cash straight into that savings account is the highlight of my month, seriously, and handing my official notice in was liberating. Terrifying, but liberating.
My last day is October 23 and then, I can officially describe myself as “Artist, Nomad and Wanderer of the World”.