When/Where to go on sabbatical

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by JasonH, Aug 2, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. JasonH
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    JasonH Silver Member

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    My company allows a 5 week paid sabbatical every 5 years. The issue always is where to go. Right now I have two options (three I guess if I make it a staybatical):

    Option 1 - January
    The wife and I are already booked for a 7-day Caribbean cruise and a few extra days in San Juan that bring it up to 13 days including travel days. That leaves me 3 more weeks to plan something else.

    Option 2 - July/August
    We have planned 2-3weeks to travel to St John's, Newfoundland, St Pierre and Miquellon, Halifax, Moncton, and PEI.

    So my question is first (obviously) when would you take your sabbatical? Second, if you took January, where else would you go? I would want a few days of home time before going back to work, but other than that it doesn't matter too much. I don't know if I would go back to Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, or Luxembourg and no Canada. Taking option 1 would also mean any subsequent travel would be solo as the wife has to be back to the SBUX monster.
     
  2. JohnDeere19
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    JohnDeere19 Gold Member

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    Do you have BA miles because you could do a crazy trip with the free unlimited stopovers!
     
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  3. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    First of all, is it customary in your company to use this when eligible and to take the entire five weeks away? What do people do? Are there expectations of charity work, further study, etc. or is it just viewed as a longer paid vacation? What are your interests and things you would want to do that not only technically fit within company policy but also would be viewed as career enhancing? This might be the time to exhibit leadership or invest in something such as language study that could be helpful to the company later or that could make you eligible for a promotion or overseas assignment. (I've heard some bosses say that if they can do without you for six weeks, they can do without you permanently, so be careful about just taking a long vacation.)
     
  4. JasonH
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    JasonH Silver Member

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    Mile balance is with Delta (200k or so) and UA (75k or some such thing). I also have 80k Starwood points and a handful of Marriott and Hilton points as well.

    It is customary to use it as soon as you earn it. You don't start earning again until you use it. You are required to take the full time at once and you can't use vacation time to extend it in any way.

    What do people do? Well, my previous boss was in China for 5 weeks in Nov and my current one spent his racing a Mini Cooper from Turkey to China. Another person is in Thailand right now. Greece was popular last year as was Ireland. The founder and CEO just came back from his third sabbatical in Australia. One person I know of used it for volunteer work. He quit to stay in the Ukraine and work with orphans. There are no expectations and by and large it is used for extended vacation and world exploration.

    My interests are in history, travel, and aviation. All unrelated to my job integrating media software systems :confused:. I already speak French and can survive in Spanish and Italian countries so that isn't an issue. Unlike the general British/American view of work I relish long (and frequent) vacations. Last year I took 3 weeks of accumulated adjustment days from weekend/holiday work and went to Paris. I refuse to work hard if I can't play hard :D
     
  5. MSPeconomist
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    OK, this sounds like you want to use all five weeks as soon as possible in one big chunk for a major overseas adventure, probably someplace that you don't already know and where the extended time would make a difference. It's expensive, but a cruise/trip to Antarctica would be cool (no pun intended). You could explore Russia, including taking the trans-Siberian railroad. Another idea would be China, including Tibet. Five weeks in Australia would be fantastic, but it's relatively expensive now, as is Japan.

    When you say media software, I immediately think of Japan and Korea being cutting edge, plus possibly other Asian countries, maybe France.

    There's history everywhere, so this doesn't help to pin down your choices, but have you ever considered volunteering for a historical archaeology dig, for example in Turkey? Of you could hook up with a history museum and help them to create a multimedia presentation, either on site or for their website. There must be places that could use help in dealing with old airplanes or restoring former iconic airports, such as the historical area at DCA on the way to Terminal A or the architecturally-important buildings at JFK and STL.
     
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  6. NYC_Gal
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    NYC_Gal Silver Member

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    I would do Asia. 5weeks is perfect time frame to have a good tastes of each country. Bali, Bangkok, Chiangmai rai, Vietnam... All reasonably priced. Beach, city, shopping, sports..etc. Great food and wide range of activities. And much more affordable. I always think you can do Paris or London on a short week. But Asia, you need to have the time.
     
  7. Hi Jason,

    If you've got a few weeks off and you're not going to get such a long period of time off again then how about looking at something really different. Companies like this http://www.inspiredbreaks.co.uk/ have loads of great career break style trips that are like gap years with a mature element, a good idea if you want some adventure or to take a tour of somewhere like Cambodia and see all the hidden sights! Hope that helps!
     
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  8. unityofsaints

    unityofsaints Active Member

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    Whatever you do, don't go on a cruise. I couldn't imagine a more boring use of 5 weeks of holidays.
    Otherwise, do what feels right :cool:
     
  9. JasonH
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    JasonH Silver Member

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    It's always interesting when I say what I do at the most basic. Sadly we don't have anything flashy like Adobe stuff. My company IS the most advanced in the world right now when it comes to broadcast media software systems that control TV, radio, and cable.

    I do like your ideas though. I'm not sure how to go about it, especially since most museums are in a recessionary mode and just trying to stay afloat.

    Thank you for the link. A lot of very interesting things listed. If nothing else I'll be sharing the link with my coworkers that are coming up on their sabbaticals.

    HA! I am not thrilled about the cruise, but the cost per island was right and there are some places you can really only see by ship. Just found out or Desktop Support Engineer is on his way down south for an Antarctic cruise.

    I'm starting to lean toward places my wife doesn't really want to go (from fear or general uncomfortableness). That would exclude most of Europe and Asia. I was thinking the Middle East, but I've not seen a lot to do in places like Doha or Abu Dhabi. Thoughts?
     

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