Thinking of Sabbatical

Having worked for my employer for more than 10 years, one of the perks I get is a sabbatical. This is a six weeks off that you can take, without pay, to do whatever you want, and come back to find your job is still waiting for you. Although, this is customarily without pay, you can apply your time off to offset the loss of pay. Since I have more than 6 weeks of unused vacation time, I can essentially take a paid sabbatical, using my accumulated PTO to offset the loss of income for those six weeks.

I’ve been planning this since the mid 2010’s and I became eligible to take this six weeks off back in October 2019, and had been planning on doing an around the world travel adventure, essentially living out of a suitcase, hopping around to many cities, and ultimately circumnavigating the globe. I was planning on doing this some time around late 2020.

Some of the places I had initially planned on visiting at the time:

  • Amsterdam
  • Berlin
  • Prague
  • Moscow
  • Thailand
  • Singapore
  • Cambodia

Then, of course, COVID happened. International travel was shut down, and countries threw up various testing requirements before they would let you in, making hopscotching around the world much more complicated. Trying to hit this many places would been an endless routine of COVID theatre as I try to get from one country to another, always having the risk of getting locked out of an intended destination, throwing the whole plan into chaos.

Since then, travel has been essentially shut down entirely for us, with a few exceptions, though, we are planning a two week trip to Italy this summer. This will finally be our return to traveling.

After this trip, I plan to start focusing on planning sabbatical once again, and where I should go for it. Right now, I think I have two options, either spend the entire six week period in the Schengen Area, mostly Portugal, scoping out potential locations for retirement, as well as practicing my Portuguese, or spending only a week or so in Portugal, then for the other five weeks continue with my around the world plan. I can always scope out potential Portugal retirement locations post retirement, when will have all the time in the world to spend over there.

Over the past two years things have obviously changed in the post COVID world. Not only would there now likely be less switching between countries, but also, places like Moscow are now essentially a no zone because, well, there’s a war over there now, and spending money supporting that regime doesn’t seem like something I would like to do, sanctions or not.

Potential places I am thinking about now:

  • Chicago(still consider it my home)
  • Portugal
  • Berlin
  • Istanbul
  • Singapore
  • Cambodia

Of course, we could have another COVID wave between now and November this year and end up ruining whatever planning I have done. For now, I am just sticking to trying to price out flights in Google Flights, and exploring potential destinations in Google Maps.

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