I’ll be 45 in October next year (2022), and lately, I have been thinking a lot about taking a personal sabbatical – a PAUSE in life so to say.
Until this morning – literally – it was just an idea I was playing around with only to put it aside, then Khushi and I were talking about her taking a gap year abroad before starting university the year after and I thought to myself that this would be the perfect time for me to take my personal sabbatical – to live in Italy for a period of 3-6 months. Italy always reminds me of how Italians value and celebrate all aspects of life. From taking time to eat and drink well, to spending time with family, to appreciating beautiful architecture and design, as well as living in a lovely warm climate.
If you’ve been following my journey over the last year or so, you’ll know how much I’ve been going on and on about:
- How I’ve simplified my life and given away/donated/sold/upcycled/thrown away more than 70% of my overall belongings (this is, of course, ongoing)
- How I’ve decreased my living costs as much as I possibly can and learnt live more frugally, BUT in the process – feeling more content than ever
- The realisation of how little I need to actually live well (will share more in a separate post in the future)
- This is a big one which honestly, has been life-changing; Learning to live within (and below) my means
The scariest part of taking a sabbatical is, of course, money. But because I’ve spent the last 12 months simplifying my needs, expenses and more, and knowing how little I need to live well – I know money won’t be a problem.
And that’s the beauty of what we do, we can do it from anywhere!!! the possibilities are ENDLESS.
Why I am taking a Personal Sabbatical
I’ve been in LOVE with Italy for as long as I can remember and I once dreamed of living there. Somehow, life had gotten in the way of that person I’d dreamed of being, despite having made some really good progress if I can say so myself.
I have and live an amazing life – which I am eternally grateful for: I live in a beautiful apartment on the seafront of St Leonards-on-Sea, I have a wonderful family and friends, I love what I do and earn enough to live good and well, I am debt-free and have got savings plus a retirement fund put aside.
I’ve spent the month of March doing some much-needed deep inner work, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I truly wanted for the next season of my life, so I’ve been plotting my dreams on a timeline.
Taking a big leap, deliberately
I am nearing my mid-40s, so unlike a 20-something, I do feel like I have a lot more to lose, however, you and I both know that life is way too short and when you hit a certain age, you want to live it fully – simple.
So I have today, started putting a plan in motion – planning my sabbatical – all I know for now is:
- I want to live in Italy
- I want to stay for somewhere between 3-6 months
So here’s the process I am going through:
#1. I am giving myself permission to dream
What would I do during these 3-6 months? To my surprise, my list (so far) is pretty basic, but that is what I LOVE about it, like:
- Bucket list stuff
- Learn to cook authentic Italian food
- Learn Italian (need to start now though to be somewhat fluent until I get there)
- Challenge me to live out of a suitcase (this should be interesting, but I know I can do it)
- Explore and learn the Italian way of life
- Italians are known for their slow living – I’d love to embrace that even more
I truly believe that experience will prepare me for my living a life of less when I move into my houseboat or tiny house when by the time I hit the big 50!
#2. I reality-checked my dreams
The only thing I have checked is actually how much it’ll cost to rent living space – and that varies from €300 -1300.
#3. I started to think about decisions I need to make
Decision #1: How much money will I allow myself to spend?
I’ve been fortunate enough to put aside money towards savings for the last few years, and with my new frugal living skills, I won’t need that much money to spend on a daily basis apart from food and essential living costs.
Decision #2: What would I have to give up?
The main thing I have to give up in order for my sabbatical to take place is the apartment we call our home and all of our possessions, as Khushi will be away for 6 months to 1 year and I’ll be away from 3-6 months, so it’s no point paying rent for an apartment we won’t be living in.
But the exciting part about this is that we can find a new home in a new town on our return – I’ve got Bath, Somerset or Cornwall on my mind.
My tips on how to plan your personal sabbatical:
- Identify why you want a pause
- How much time do you want?
- What would the start and end date be?
- Do you want to land, sea, mountains, oceans, or lakes?
- What will be different from where you are now?
- What is on your bucket list or in your dreams that you can incorporate?
- How would you finance your sabbatical?
- How would your structure your time?
- How would you re-enter the workforce?
- What is the purpose; what do you want to learn from this valuable time?
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