Sabbatical

Have you ever felt that you are surviving on fumes, and then you’re surviving on fumes of fumes, and then you’re surviving on the mere memory of fumes? That you’re burnt out, or so far beyond burnout, that there’s nothing left to burn?

After finishing an incredible summer leading 26-day adventure road trips around the east coast of Canada, I have reached this point. Truthfully, I probably reached this point before the summer, but then somehow powered through another intense 5 months of it. The tour guide life is a 24/7 all-in kind of life, rewarding yet exhausting, and leaves practically zero time for anything else.

So, this fall I’ve decided to take a personal life sabbatical: a break from the intense lifestyle of tour guiding to focus on personal and professional goals, to rest and recover from burnout, to reconnect with people and invest in personal relationships, to develop a more sustainable and balanced approach to life going forward. 

The root word of sabbatical comes from the same root word of sabbath, and means “to rest.” However, this is an intentional, focused period of rest, different from simply taking a vacation or time off.

The idea of the importance of rest goes all the way back to the beginning of time, according to the biblical creation story: God works – creates – and then rests. God then directs his followers, the Israelites, to observe a weekly day of rest, the sabbath. While the idea of keeping sabbath is typically observed within a religious context, and sabbaticals are more traditionally observed in academia, the value of taking a period of focused rest away from one’s regular routine is becoming more commonplace in the wider working world as well.

Forbes magazine describes a sabbatical as a time for an employee to step away from their role at work to “focus on personal enrichment and professional development,” with a goal to “return to work with more focus and energy.” Who among us couldn’t use more focus and energy?

Sabbatical can be more than simply a time to recharge, as well. I love this article on taking a sabbatical as a way to make the most of a transition, as “an opportunity to be a bit more intentional with your one wild and precious life.”

As I’ve finished my summer contract, I have reached a natural point of transition. Sure, I could have jumped straight into another job along similar lines – I am thankfully not without options in this regard – but I have been feeling for some time a growing urge to figure out my next steps in life, that restlessness marking the advent of a crossroads. Hence, the perfect time to take a sabbatical, to be more intentional with my wild and precious life going forward… Always forward.


I am over a month in to my sabbatical now and, while it’s not without its ups and downs, it is going incredibly well. I hope to share pieces of what I’m learning and how I’m using my sabbatical time in some of my coming posts. Simply having the time and space to write is one of my sabbatical goals, which Nano Poblano is giving me the motivation for, shout out to my team of fellow Cheer Peppers! 

How about you? Have you ever taken a sabbatical? If you could, what would you do with it?

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3 thoughts on “Sabbatical

  1. A sabbatical sounds lovely and I hope you accomplish your goals with it. 🙂

    Also, in ancient Israel, they would give the land a sabbatical too. 🙂 They would have seven plots for farming, and every year they would only plant six, and give the 7th a rest so it could replenish nutrients. 🙂

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