Sabbatical Stories

Marina Travels and Finds Herself

marina on sabbatical for healing - indonesia

Marina takes a 32-week sabbatical as a way of healing from her physical and mental health crises. Through her travels, she gains the courage to transform herself and engage in activities she truly likes.

Healing travel: 8 Months, 14 countries, many stories

I went from an ulcered me to experiencing the best phase of my life.

I always wanted to travel the world, but I never had the money to do that.

When I got my dream job, I worked almost 4 years as a salesperson. So when the pandemic came, I started to work from home and I didn’t realize that I was getting sick. The first year was great, but the second one was challenging. My mental health got destroyed by the comparison and competition. Was I a good salesperson or the worst person in the world? The company’s pressure was high, but I pressured myself more and more. Over the year, I thought about quitting but I was afraid. I had a career, a great job, great salary, and I was going to be promoted soon.

First I discovered gastritis, then the ulcer — it was terrifying. I promised myself: my health is the most important thing in my life. I remember looking in the mirror and not recognizing myself; I was sad, down, worried, anxious and sick. So I took my treatment for 3 months, while I thought about quitting. I realized that the only way to become myself again, was to take care of myself — deeply. It wasn’t a “rational” decision, but I was connected with my heart and I was sure that this could be the best decision.

Here’s my advice: you will never be ready, until you do it!

Success for you is different from success for others – stop caring about other people’s opinions and comparing yourself. You won’t give up of everything, you will just change the route – your experience and knowledge, will always be yours. You might not get the answers you need, but you will understand what you need in the journey.

Financial planning is the key! Plan and pay what you need to, then save money to cover extra costs.

Saving money makes you feel more comfortable and open to take risks. People who love you will understand your decision — they had their decisions, you should have yours as well.

List activities you engaged in during your sabbatical:
Trekking, scuba diving, Spanish classes, boxing classes, muyai thai classes, snorkeling, swimming, riding a bike, going to museums, etc.

What catalyzed your sabbatical?
Negative event – health/burnout.

How long was your sabbatical (in weeks)?

Did HOW you work change at all, post-sabbatical?
– Went from full-time to part-time
– Went from company-employed to self-employed (totally different work)

Describe any changes you made in your life post-sabbatical:
The way I manage time, how I connect to people, relation with money and job, how I allow myself to change my life, who I am without my corporate role

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

Everybody deserves a time off, just to do what they want to do — study or do nothing — it doesn’t matter.

People work from a young age, and many of them never ask themselves if they like their career, if there is another way to live, if there are other cultures they like, or if they have other passions. There is always another story, another person, another job, another love, another answer and another question.

Stop pressuring yourself to do what needs to be done, it’s the best way to discover who you truly are and face your fears. What would you do if you didn’t have obligations? Having a life without a badge allows you to be whatever you want to be, with no shame, fault, or judgement.

If you need to start over, do it — as often as you need to.

We only have one life and we need to do what truly makes us happy. All the people I met taught me to be more empathetic, ignore my ego, truly care about people, and give all of me without expectations.

You can connect with Marina Videira Rodrigues here.

Interested in more sabbatical stories about traveling? Check out Renee’s story.

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