6 Lessons I Learned from my Sabbatical

So it is 10 months since I took my Sabbatical and I am now back home and back to work. So let’s go back a little, November Last year I left work and embarked on a journey to explore and experience something new, something different, something exciting. In this period i explored Germany, Netherlands, Peru and Bolivia while spending most of my time traveling and interning in Peru. I have experience so many diverse cultures, emotions, friendships, love, food that I cannot put in writing but through it all I will try and summarize all that I learned into 6 points:-

  1. Life can be us unconventional and interesting as you make   IMAG0211When you leave your comfort zone and venture to  a different zone, you realize there are so many people living well outside the status quo. Growing up and working in a status oriented society means anyone working a non white collar job cannot “make” it. During this period I have come to learn that your mind and creativity are the tools that make life what you want it to be. You love nature and bio diversity but are stuck in a research laboratory job you hate; leave go intern in a conservancy, marine centre, a botanical garden anywhere that will allow you to experience what you love. Your life is yours and only YOU has the power to make it be interesting
  2. Friends come easy when you are free and happy                                                                           IMG_1138I have never had a problem with making friends, this has always come very naturally but being away from home for this long without a continuous support system, I learned that when you are free and happy the universe energy  draws more people to you. You could be shy and timid but in a happy and free state you will find that this becomes easier. It could be attributed to have more free time to live life and that your life is more interesting hence you have intriguing stories. The cherry in top of this cake is its a beginning of happy life cycle. You are happy you start to make new happy friends. when you have friends you get happier and the cycle continues.
  3. Learning a new language is not as hard                                                                                           10983182_10155237154340456_5451363467796731712_nIts been 2 years since  I got the urge to pick up Spanish due to my Mexican friends in Nairobi. The idea of going to a class appalled me and I knew I would not learn it that way. From my own experience I believe the best way to pick a foreign language is to fully immerse yourself in that country, lifestyle, its people its culture and you come out not only knowing the language but with a life long abundance of knowledge and memories.
  4. The world will still be there when you return                                                                                 DSC00550This is most peoples worry and concern while considering a sabbatical. I was lucky that I had an open invitation to return to my job if I wanted it once I was ready to. Most people do not have this luxury and in most cases would want to return to  their old job. You  are worried your friends lived would have moved on, effects of revered culture shock. Yes the 1st week after getting back things will seem strange, it will feel different, you will be flat broke, you will feel out of place and you may be tempted to dive back to old habits and routines but be wise choose the parts of your old life that were awesome and replace the rest with all the greatness you have picked up during the sabbatical.
  5. Only birds should be location dependent                                                                                         IMG_1018Location independence is a hot topic that could be slightly controversial with extreme minimalists living life with 55 items to their names and making you feel like a hoarder. For me living a minimalist life is all about taking the time to get rid of the excess stuff in your life so you can live a more meaningfully and focus on what’s important. Taking advantage of our world where we have different climates, cultures, languages and currencies is a magical thing we need to embrace. I may not be able to live a fully location independent lifestyle but I can at least try.
  6. Appreciating Me times                                                                                                                           10898055_10155099079285456_7737876864011398756_nThis is an area I have been working on over the years. I can’t say I have  perfected it but I have definitely taken a mile stone. On a normal day of my life at work in Kenya, me times consists of solo showers, sleep time and the rain check solo dinners. Don’t get me wrong its not that i hate myself to being alone it’s just that I have amazing people who are around me always. I travel alone but had never been alone but in the last year there was a week where I took time alone went to the high heights of Copacabana  and spend loads of time enjoying views while thinking about what I want in life, what I was enjoying and what I wanted to enjoy. I have now adapted a 10 minutes per day ME TIME where all the focus is on you by you.

Conclusion

Sabbaticals can be a great way to reconnect with yourself, travel and explore new versions of oneself. It does not need to be expensive, in my case I opted to volunteer at an organization that offered me accommodation in return of part time working. Discipline is key and though you are spending almost half on what you normally spend at home, if you are not doing part time jobs it will mean that it is only debits on your account no credits on end. I may have returned to my old job and may still hang out at some old spots but something in me has changed and that is the true essence of life.

And I am Back Home

~Lea~

 

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