Uff that was interesting… after a few months on the road I am finally settled and with me a whole new experience to tell the world. Regardless of the objectives established in the beginning of my journey the only thing I have to tell you is: Just do it.
I had a few objectives for my escape, some money in my pocket and off I went travelling. Here are the takeaways:
Making a product VS Momentum
Taking a sabbatical to work on your projects is something that is widely discussed as being one of the prime objectives for taking a sabbatical in the first place. I totally agree, but if you’re planning to do something big, prepare to work accordingly. You need to have time. Even if you settle for a couple of weeks you’ll often lose the momentum if you keep being on transit. The concept of working straight hours and days is obviously not new but it’s definitely something you need to look out for when planning your own adventure.
Even if you plan on what you want to do you’ll often find yourself thinking about what to do and if your plan is on the right track. This can be a trap that leads you to panic or giving up on some objectives. Together with keeping momentum it becomes the biggest risk for letting an extended leave go down the toilet (Well… depends on the objectives of course).
The world keeps on spinning and you’re still sitting
It’s incredible the amount of people you can meet everyday when you are on the road. Every experience is an excuse to meet another person or at least to look around and see the amount of people moving everyday.
One of the best feelings I had was relating with people in similar situations and grow amazing relationships out of the blue. And to think that if you live in a city, glued to your computer and commuting between office and home everyday you rarely ever meet anyone new…
Keep confidence up
There is a common concern of becoming less competitive on the job market if you take an extended leave, after all, the rest of the world keeps working right? Wrong… Taking an extended leave is just another chapter for yourself, your motivation and drive is what matters. Be sure to make up for it in some way even if the reason is discovering yourself. From the recruitment point of view there will be interest in your adventure of course, the only thing you have to do is being consistent with your objectives and explain your motivations as usual.
Of course not. Having a sabbatical was useful in great many ways to me, here’s the evolution of my previous objectives:
Set Up a product involving mobile technologies and market it ⚒
Expand my back-end skills by setting up continuous integrated development and a scalable environment on my own ⚒
These were combined into one. And now I am working on them with an established team.
Expand my mobile skills by learning Swift / Objective-C ✓
This was a career decision that I was considering at the time. I did improve my skills in mobile but I always considered myself language-agnostic. I decided to play safe and learn other skills namely: Rust and Nodejs
Blog about my experiences and new skills ✓
Travel to Southeast Asia and meet other nomad entrepreneurs ✓
Refresh my musical skills on piano ✓
Done and done, not much to say about these except that I loved every bit of the time committed.
Towards another opportunity
There will come a time when I will again, look at my current state in life and go for another escape. But I won’t rush it, now is time to focus on my career and see where my new challenge will take me.
I hope you could take some takeaways from my experience above and I welcome any feedback or questions you might have about taking an extended leave.