Sabbatical Stories

Milena Designs Her Sabbatical

Plan Your Sabbatical Like A Futurist

Learning how to enjoy the little things in life, such as a long lunch

I leverage design thinking and strategic foresight to solve problems, both in my job and in my life outside of work. When it comes to the personal stuff, there is a delicate balance between when to use your design-thinking brain, and when it’s best to turn it off. I haven’t yet mastered this, but am learning that friends/family don’t necessarily LOVE doing design workshop activities as much as I do.

I especially apologize for forcing a 2×2 matrix upon us when we couldn’t agree on which pizza to order – strategically mapping out pizza toppings on one axis and restaurants to order from on the other just made sense to me at the time! This is an example of when I should have turned the design thinking brain off.

On the other hand, using my design thinking brain when planning a sabbatical turned out to be a good thing.

While I am not the first or last person to ever take a sabbatical, I can share some questions I asked myself and frameworks for getting the answers I was looking for. These considerations and tips might save you some time (or head/heartaches) if you’re looking to take off for a few months with purpose, be it an extended vacation, a sabbatical, or even taking the leap into a nomadic lifestyle.

milena leverages design thinking to create an innovative approach to designing sabbaticals

I spent 3 months living in Arles (a small town in the South of France). I chose Arles as the location because I come from Toronto (a big city) and I was craving a slower paced life with a community-first focus. Found it in Arles!

I took 3 months off of my work without pay and so did my partner. We saved up for 6 months in advance of our trip and happily spent all the money we saved. During the days we would spend our time reading in the sun, learning French, and visiting the local attractions (museums, art galleries, etc). In the evenings we would often cook with friends and go out for a patio drink in the town square.

Some of our sabbatical activities:
– biking
– hiking
– reading
– speaking french
– community
– shared meals
– friendship
– travel
– eating my way through France

What catalyzed your sabbatical?
Someone you knew took one, Partner-enabled – either through their company or otherwise

How long was your sabbatical (in weeks)?
12

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?
Same company, same role

Describe any changes you made in your life post-sabbatical:
Built in time to be creative, started writing more, take more breaks and generally move through life a little bit lighter

How did your sabbatical experience change the way you thought about your employer?

Positive experience, and felt lucky to be employed by an org that allows leaves like this

Why do you think others should (or shouldn’t) take sabbaticals?
Invest in yourself!

You can connect with Milena Tasic here

Interested in more travel sabbatical stories? Check out Marina’s story.

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