Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I’ve supported my family for the last twenty-five years. My husband
raised the kids, started a contracting business, went back to school,
and now has a high-school teaching job. We get insurance through his
job and I feel like I have earned the right to a sabbatical. I want a big
adventure. My boss, who adores me and swears he cannot live without
me, has agreed, sort of. He wants me to have a laptop with me, a
battle we will fight when I get closer to figuring out I am going to do
and where. I’ve never travelled outside the United States, so that’s
high on my list, especially the idea of a walking vacation in Spain. Do
you have ideas about how not to let this opportunity go to waste?
Ready for ??????
Go out and buy a journal. You can make it a simple school-
type copy book or something fancy. Call it My Sabbatical
Book. Take some evenings after work, some mornings with
a cuppa, and some time everywhere from park benches to
the library to write in it. Intentionally choose to be in
situations that are unfamiliar and perhaps even where you
are uncomfortable as well as in the known and usual
contexts of your life, though you can start with comfort. Ask
yourself the following question: What would make me feel
like I had a successful sabbatical?
Take notes on any ideas that float through. When you think
about traveling abroad, make sure you consider how much
time you want to spend on your own and how much with
folks you think you’d enjoy travelling with. That can be
family or friends, or even people you don’t know. Consider
lifestyle issues like biorhythms and food needs, similarities
of interests, and how much you enjoy that person’s
company. Investigate classes abroad, and possibilities to be
involved in projects—anything from an archaeological dig to
a social service project.
PS: Sabbaticals from work do not include being on tap for
your boss. Have the replacement trained and be helpful until
you get on a plane. Then adios!