Taking a career break is nothing new in 2016. Quite many CVs include sabbaticals nowadays. So will mine within a year. If you think about it, there’s not really that many long and “stable” periods in your life these days. Rather, we all face ups and downs, happy and down times in our everyday lives. They may involve changes in work life, family setting, health or other areas. People deal with them differently. More and more pack their bags and just go.
Our need for a break became real some 2 years ago. I had studied (did my MBA) in two years while working on an intensive and rather difficult development project at work. After having. constant headache and neck locks with stress anxiety I realized that’s not the way to continue. My husband had been suffering from even worse stress symptoms and continuous sleep deprivation, which we and the doctores considered quite dangerous. On top all of a sudden we were surrounded by serious sicknesses or incurable cancer, two suicides, divorces and depression. (Sounds horrible, I know! Luckily none were within our immediate family!) As scary as it sounds, it touched us.
For us our break became more than a thought during Xmas break in 2014 with in the caring warmth of our sauna in our summer house (yes, it’s not only a summer house…). We decided to take a break from work and go travelling with time. For us that’s a dream come true. Ever since we started dating we’ve had two “rules” or a silen agreement based on two guiding thoughts: 1) let’s not make things too complicated, that is KISS “Keep it simple” (stupid!) and 2) we live “now-when” and not “then-when” kind of life. Life is happening now, not somewhere in the future. You never know what comes around the corner. These two philosofies or guidelines were to be good fundamental thoughts for our break-to-be too. The first major step to make the break and travelling long-haul during it was to make the decision of putting our dear and loved house “Graceland” for sale.
A break and long-haul travel like this divides people. People form different opinions about it. And it requires quite many arrangements… From early on we’ve faced some opinions according to which this is insane: why would you sell your beautiful house just because you want to travel for longer time? Or it is too risky to take your young child (yeah, our 7-yr-old..) to such dangerous places in the world? And then, we’ve (luckily) come across those opinions that encourage to live your life to the fullest, enjoy the moment, explore the world if you can and that way provide a wider perspective and grounds for your child to grow up. Ok, you may now think why do we even care about others’ opinions? Well, we don’t. I’m just saying what you face with a decision like this.
The decision of selling our house was not entirely based on us wanting to travel. We’ve financed quite heavy travelling before too – while living in that big house for 7,5 years (by that time). It had more to do with the stress described here earlier. The house was getting too big for us three (since the “teens” had or were soon moving out). In addition to our love for travelling we love spending time in our summer house – all year round. Having two big real estates with all maintenance work, effort and costs is not too easy while both adults have quite demanding jobs. We decided to dedicate more time, money and energy to our leisure activities – at the expense of reducing our space at home. Call me lazy or not, but I’m certain that our stress symptoms were partly due to maintaining the two places.
So we put the house for sale in Feb 2015 and were sure it would sell that spring and we would be off to travel around the world in fall 2015. Little did we know. At some point it got quite frustrating, however, luckily we were not in a situation of being forced to sell the house – with that low market period. The house was sold in July 2016 – 1,5 years later. Good thing about that was that at least we had plenty of time to study, read and plan our trip =)
In June 2016 (before we even knew the house would sell within a month!) we decided we’ll take the break anyhow. We decided that we would finance it otherwise (don’t ask me how?!). See, going on a round-the-world trip with a child is not surely a cheap thing – even if you travel with a small budget. And especially if you don’t have any income while away… I will break down our budget later on, but surely you need to prepare for a good sum of money to make it happen. Spending a fairly big (several thousands per person alone while away plus flights…) amount of money is again a topic that divides opinions… is it a complete and ridiculous waste of money or an investment in ourselves…
Our break, the Big Plan, will take place this December. We’ll be off of work for eight months and travel round-the-world for 6,5 months.