Sabbatical – My personal break from everything

As you noticed I spend some time in Australia and New Zealand last year. Altogether I was away for nearly 3 months. It was one of the best times in my life – but one of my roughest as well. I want to share my experiences of my Sabbatical with you and how you should approach it. Where I made mistakes myself. What I’d do different.

 

Ashburton Lakes, Canterbury - New Zealand

Ashburton Lakes, Canterbury – New Zealand

Mt. Eden, Auckland - New Zealand

Mt. Eden, Auckland – New Zealand

 

The thing with the employer

If you pursue daily occupations and are employed you obviously have to discuss this matter with your employer, as long as you don’t want to resign. There are different options how you can realize it, provided that you have a nice employer. 🙂

For one you can arrange with your employer, that you can save your days off until you have enough for your trip. So you don’t have to deal with money damages.

 

Wild seal, Cape Palliser, Wellington - New Zealand

Wild seal, Cape Palliser, Wellington – New Zealand

Cape Palliser, Wellington - New Zealand

Cape Palliser, Wellington – New Zealand

 

Or you agree on a Sabbatical. That’s kinda like a longer unpaid special leave which lasts for 3 up to 12 months. There are different options for a salary agreement during this time. I guess the most popular one is, at least in my company, the version with the save up phase. This means, if you want to take 6 months off, you pass on half of your salary for 6 months before or after your time off. The other, saved half of your salary you get paid out during your time off.

Fortunately I wasn’t the first one with that idea in our company and so they already knew how to deal with a Sabbatical. Of course you have to ensure, that colleagues can undertake your work. My work was distributed to 3 of my colleagues – again thank you so much for it!

Everything was articled so that both my employer and me were on the safe side.

 

Cape Reinga, Northland - New Zealand

Cape Reinga, Northland – New Zealand

Cape Reinga, Northland - New Zealand

Cape Reinga, Northland – New Zealand

 

The costs

One shouldn’t underestimate the costs for such an adventure. Most of all the fixed costs which you still have at home. That’s a mistake I made. 😀

In the best case you saved up a certain sum of money before you start your Sabbatical, which you can use to cover the costs which occure beforehand. In my case I got a bigger sum of money from a payout of an insurance.

 

Cleopatras Pool, Abel Tasman National Park - New Zealand

Cleopatras Pool, Abel Tasman National Park – New Zealand

Dunedin Peninsula, Otago - New Zealand

Dunedin Peninsula, Otago – New Zealand

 

I let my apartment to my cousins during this time (in consultation with my renter), so there were a big amount of fixed costs which I didn’t need to take care of. But in advance you should think about, which of your insurances you could switch to non-contributory for the time you’re away. If you don’t keep your eye on this you have to take care of your money (like I had to) and can’t spend that much while you’re away, so you have to plan it very good before you go.

But it’s like everywhere. Some need more money, some less. Maybe you need in general way less money than I did and you didn’t get in such trouble. 🙂

 

Hamner Springs Waterfall, Hamner Springs, Canterbury - New Zealand

Hamner Springs Waterfall, Hamner Springs, Canterbury – New Zealand

Hokitika Gorge, Kokatahi - New Zealand

Hokitika Gorge, Kokatahi – New Zealand

 

Finding the right travel buddy

Especially for such a long trip it’s hard to find someone among your friends or your family who has enough time or money for such an adventure. So I had to ask myself the question: Traveling alone or maybe finding a travel buddy? Because I couldn’t imagine such a long time in a foreign country without someone by my side I chose the option with the travel buddy.

 

Jackson Bay, West Coast - New Zealand

Jackson Bay, West Coast – New Zealand

Kawarau River, Otago - New Zealand

Kawarau River, Otago – New Zealand

 

But I also have to say, that I probably would travel alone if I’d do the same again. Such a long time with a rather unfamiliar person can be really, really tiring and you unavoidably have a brush with each other from time to time.

Most of the time I get along with my travel buddy very well, not that you get a wrong impression. 🙂

I found my travel buddy on Urlaubspartner (German website; an English one is for example Your Travel Mates or 43km). You can create a request to find people for your journey. Or you can react on a already existing request. I had contact with 2 other girls before I ‚came together’ with my actual travel buddy. This webside is a really good thing and most of all, at least in my opinion, suitable for short trips. 3 months is a pretty long time. 🙂

 

Moeraki Boulders, Otago - New Zealand

Moeraki Boulders, Otago – New Zealand

Mount Cook, Canterbury - New Zealand

Mount Cook, Canterbury – New Zealand

 

Home sickness – what then?

Maybe this point is not that interesting for you, because you don’t have problems with home sickness at all. But I am, depending on the length of my journey, bedevilled by really bad home sickness from time to time. So in the 3 months I was away I guess had about one week in total bad home sickness. Especially in the evening it was awful and I badly missed my loved ones at home.

 

Noosa National Park, Queensland - Australia

Noosa National Park, Queensland – Australia

Nugget Point Lighthouse, Otago - New Zealand

Nugget Point Lighthouse, Otago – New Zealand

 

In my case came in addition, that my relationship with Mr. J. started 6 weeks before I started my trip. It was so hard when he brought me to the airport in Frankfurt and I couldn’t see home for so long. But of course I missed my family as well very much.

But what can one do when suffering from home sickness? I felt better when I just cried my eyes out. Sometimes it’s the only thing which helps a little in that situation. 🙂 Ando f course as much contact as possible with your loved ones at home. But fortunately nowadays it’s so easy! WhatsApp, Skype and phone calls make it possible and help to come over the home sickness. 🙂

 

Pancake Rocks, Punakaiki, West Coast - New Zealand

Pancake Rocks, Punakaiki, West Coast – New Zealand

Piha Beach, Auckland - New Zealand

Piha Beach, Auckland – New Zealand

 

An unforgettable time

But despite everything – despite my small financial distresses, despite the home sickness, despite the small negative experiences during the trip – I’d do it anytime again if I had the chance to!

If you have the possibility, but aren’t sure yet: Do it! Such a trip is just unforgettable and enriches yourself so much. Actually I wanted to it directly after school when I was 18, but more as an au pair. And what was the reason I didn’t? Because of my boyfriend I had back then. And when it was over 3 years later I of course was so angry with myself.

 

Punakaiki, West Coast - New Zealand

Punakaiki, West Coast – New Zealand

Sunshine Coast, Queensland - Australia

Sunshine Coast, Queensland – Australia

 

That’s why I’m so thankful, that I got the chance to do this 7 years later, even though it wasn’t a year. And it wasn’t compromising to my realtionship with Mr. J., quite the opposite I have to say.

So: My advice is, you absolutely should do it! You only have one life. And you just should enjoy it and be happy. 🙂

Have you been in a foreign country for longer? How did you manage it? What were your experiences? 🙂

 

Tongariro National Park, Waikato - New Zealand

Tongariro National Park, Waikato – New Zealand

Waipoua Kauri Forest, Northland - New Zealand

Waipoua Kauri Forest, Northland – New Zealand

6 Comments

  • Jessis SchlemmerKitchen 13. August 2017 at 19:27

    Liebe Diandra,
    das klingt wirklich traumhaft und dein Bilder sind toll. Australien und Neuseeland zu bereisen ist schon lange ein Traum von mir. Vor sieben Jahren machte ich mich alleine nach Australien auf die Reise, zwar nur für 4 Wochen aber auch diese Zeit war für mich unvergesslich und Neuseeland steht aufjedenfall noch auf meiner Reise Liste 😉

    Liebe Grüße
    Jessi

    Reply
    • bakingavenue 13. August 2017 at 20:03

      Liebe Jessi,
      Neuseeland ist auch einfach traumhaft! 🙂 In Australien hatte ich leider nur 10 Tage, aber auch diese Zeit war wirklich toll!
      Und ich finde es wirklich mutig, wenn man sich traut so eine Unternehmung alleine zu starten 🙂

      Liebst
      Diandra

      Reply
  • Katrin / soulsister meets friends 13. August 2017 at 20:58

    liebe Diandra,

    Danke für diesen spannenden Link bei meiner Blogparade #sonntagsglück! Ich bewundere alle, die so mutig sind und einfach losreisen in die weite Welt. Mich hat das Fernweh erst spät erwischt … und ich weiß heute noch nicht, ob ich so mutig wäre wie du. Tolle Bilder sind das auf jeden Fall und Neuseeland würde ich auch gern mal sehen.

    Ich bin mal gespannt, ob unsere Tochter nach dem Abi erstmal reist … im Augenblick sieht’s danach aus. Meine spannendste Reise allein ging in die Türkei … das ist allerdings schon über 25 Jahre her und war weit vor dem großen Tourismus-Boom – insofern auch ein spektakuläres Erlebnis. Die nächste Reise kommt bestimmt …

    herzlichst Katrin / soulsister meets friends

    Reply
    • bakingavenue 13. August 2017 at 21:12

      Liebe Katrin,
      ich danke dir, für diese tolle Möglichkeit der Vernetzung! 🙂
      Ja, sowas erfordert durchaus einen gewissen Mut und ist in jungen Jahren sicher etwas einfacher, als wenn man schon Mann und Kind daheim hat.
      Aber ich finde, man sollte seine Träume immer verwirklichen! Ich hoffe, deine Tochter macht das mit dem Reisen. Das sind einfach so wertvolle Erfahrungen. 🙂 Weiß sie schon, wo sie hin möchte und wie lange?

      In der Türkei war ich tatsächlich noch nie, aber höre immer gespannt zu, wenn meine Mama über ihre Zeit dort erzählt, als sie da gewohnt hat. Aber bei der aktuellen Lage ist die Türkei leider auch etwas nach hinten gerutscht auf meiner Liste muss ich zugeben.
      Und klar, die nächste Reise kommt immer irgendwann 😉

      Liebst
      Diandra

      Reply
  • One Million Places 14. August 2017 at 9:49

    Hallo Diandra,

    wir haben für unsere 6 Monate Weltreise auch ein Sabbaical mit Ansparphase gemacht und fanden es eine super Lösung. Das Gehalt und auch die Krankenversicherung läuft einfach weiter und man bezahlt sogar noch weniger Steuern 🙂

    Wir haben 28 Ländern in unseren 6 Monaten besucht und können dieses Erlebnis auch nur jedem empfehlen! Wir freuen uns auf einen Gegenbesuch: https://one-million-places.com/weltreise

    Viele Grüße
    Sandra & Michael

    Reply
    • bakingavenue 14. August 2017 at 13:34

      Hallo ihr beiden,

      oh, das klingt ja auch super spannend! Und 28 Länder ist wirklich beeindruckend. Da schau ich auf jeden Fall gerne mal bei euch vorbei 🙂

      Liebst
      Diandra

      Reply

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