Sabbatical Stories

Ellen’s much-needed sabbatical

ellen sabbatical in australia

Our trip around Australia to counterbalance a year in lockdown – Life changing experience

I knew I needed a long break to recover from a tough year, I just didn’t realise how much it would change my life

What catalyzed your sabbatical?

Negative event – death of a loved one, health/burnout, job loss, etc.

Describe any changes you made in your life post-sabbatical:

Sustained focus on slow, simple living

Tell us about your sabbatical:

ellen and J on sabbatical snorkelling

Our career break began with an unexpected 3 month lockdown which once we accepted used the time to rest, relax and get ready for our big adventure, 9 months travelling around Australia in ‘Bruce’ our campervan. The time revitalised and rejuvenated both of us. J lost 30 kgs and I had time to immerse myself in everything that I love, art, culture and the natural environment. We discovered snorkelling, a new shared hobby and flowed each day into the experiences that unfolded. It was life changing.

Activities you engaged in during your time off:
I kept a journal!

Ellen on sabbatical in Australia

How long was your sabbatical (in weeks)?


Did HOW you work change at all, post-sabbatical?
Committed to taking significantly more time off
(e.g. 4 day workweek, or summer’s off)

What kind of work did you return to?

Totally different work

How did your sabbatical experience change the way you thought about your employer?
It cemented what I knew to be true that the new leadership style was not for me

Why do you think others should (or shouldn’t) take sabbaticals? Are there occasions in life where it’s particularly helpful?

I’ve taken three sabbaticals over my life and each was amazing and very much needed at the time. In hindsight they signified periods of transition providing me with the space to grow and evolve.

Interested in reading sabbatical stories where partners took a sabbatical together? Check out Natasha’s story.

If you want to stay updated on our research, subscribe to our LinkedIn newsletter.

Get Access to the Field Guide

Discover your Sabbatical Archetype, your Sabbatical Readiness Score, and learn best practices (and what to avoid) from our research on sabbatical alums.

Join the Community