It’s been a bit quiet on here in September as you might have noticed. Life got reaaaal busy as I’m preparing for something super special: I am taking a sabbatical from work!
Since this is quite a big thing for me, I thought I’d go ahead and answer the questions that people usually ask me when I tell them about it.
When? How long for?
My sabbatical officially starts on 1 January 2020 and ends on 30 June 2020 BUT I did get permission to take my entire years worth of holidays before that and I’ve got two extra days that I can take off on overtime which means that I officially start my sabbatical on 14 November 2019.
This gives me roughly 7.5 months off work!
What? How can you afford that?
It’s a scheme at work that my company offers to everyone who has worked there for at least three years. Working at the same place for three years is kind of a big deal for me since I usually get bored super quickly, but with my current job it’s been a rollercoaster of stress that I actually enjoy, so I’ve definitely earned some time off!
The way the scheme works is that you basically let them know how much time you want to take off. The maximum amount of time you can take off is six months. Six months prior to you having time off, you start to get half your salary and whilst you’re off work, you still get half your salary.
Even though that’s considerably less money every month, you also get taxed less, which means that the money you get at the end of every month is actually more than half of what you got before. Makes sense?
How did you save up?
I started saving up for my sabbatical after I got back from Colombia in January 2018. I really badly caught the travel bug again in Colombia and was sooo sad when I had to go back to work. Ever since then, I’d been longing to take another big trip and started saving a little bit every month. When I then found out about the sabbatical scheme in work, I started saving up even more by cutting back on my shopping for new stuff and generally watched where I spent my money. Like this, I’ve managed to save up a considerable amount and since I do still get paid whilst I’m away, that should do for time of travelling.
When I went to Southeast Asia in 2015/2016, I spent less than 7000 Euros in 5 months, but I am aware that the destinations I’m choosing are going to be a bit more expensive so I saved up to be prepared.
What happens when you get back to work?
When I get back to work in July 2020 I will be back in my old job if I want to. My company is obliged to save my job for my return that’s why we are currently training someone to fill in for me while I’m gone. We’ll see what happens though – maybe I’ll want to do something different or maybe I’ll want to go back to what I’m doing now.
Where are you going?
Me being me, I just browsed the internet for the cheapest flights I could find when I had the confirmation for this sabbatical. I was thinking about China, Indonesia and lots of other places, but I knew I’d want to be somewhere warm. I loved my time in Panama and Colombia and really wanted to see more of Latin America.
So after quite a few hours of browsing Google Flights, I decided to buy a ticket to Cuba! Now, this is where it gets funny. Three weeks after I bought the non-refundable ticket, a uni friend of mine invites me to his wedding in the middle of November. Sweet, right? Well what’s even sweeter, is the wedding is in blimmin INDIA!
That means that my travel plans for now are: flying to Pune, India on 16th November, fly back to Germany 25th November and then on the 27th of November I fly to Varadero in Cuba where I’ll spent 2 nights in a fancy schmancy five star resort because after all that flying, I’ll be happy to even remember my own name.
Since Cuba is quite strict with immigration, I also bought a flight to Mexico City on the 23rd of December where I’ll spent Christmas! After that – we’ll see!
How are you preparing?
Remember at the beginning of this post where I said that it’s quite stressful at the moment? Well, I’m aiming to be a bit more prepared than last time when I thought I’d be gone for a month which turned into five. I’ve also got a lot more to think about. I’m currently looking for someone to sublet my flat to, I just bought travel health insurance, I need to clear out my room, I need to see the doctor to check if I need any vaccinations, I need to get my visa for India… There’s lots still to do!
I’m not gonna lie, I’m getting super nervous but I know it’s going to be the best adventure ever!
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