There are many differing reasons why one might take advantage of the opportunity to go on a sabbatical. At Protiviti, we fully understand the value in that and support our team members as they find, define and live their passions.
That’s right — a sabbatical isn’t just an extended vacation!
We’ve caught up with some of our employees who recently took a sabbatical for a variety of different reasons. They shared with us what they learned, what they will take with them in their day-to-day, as well as their careers, and advice to anyone who is interested in potentially doing a sabbatical. This is a continued series from 2018.
Chapters 1-5 found here.
This chapter, we’ve caught up with Technology Consulting Manager, Stewart, who recently returned from a Protiviti sabbatical in the Fall of 2018. Enjoy his story below!
Stewart and his wife, Anna, kicked off their sabbatical with a major life event: Their honeymoon!
The pair, who met at Protiviti in 2014 and dated for a year and a half, got married this past summer in front of 156 friends, family, and Protiviti alumni and colleagues in North Carolina.
The couple planned an exciting honeymoon traveling through Thailand and the Pacific Northwest and were scheduled to leave a day after the wedding. That meant they had to be pretty organized and coordinated when scheduling the logistics of their sabbatical. But for these two avid travelers, the trip planning was no big deal. They had their bags packed and ready to go for their entire trip before they even left for their wedding!
First, they went to Thailand for three and a half weeks, traveling to different cities and areas, including Bangkok and Chiang Mai, and then to the islands and beaches and night markets. Citing the relaxed culture and atmosphere in Thailand, the couple said, “One thing that was cool is that you can go from beach towns, which are super laid back, to night markets, which are everywhere, and they’re so crowded and busy. But everyone is so welcoming.”
Signing up for group experiences with fellow travelers was a great way for the two to meet people from around the world and immerse themselves in the unique, local cultures of each area they were in. They signed up for cooking classes throughout Thailand, including one dubbed the “Thai experience,” which is set up as a dinner party with fellow travelers.
“They walk you through fix or six courses of local Thai cuisine and talk through how they prepared it, where it comes from in the region, the history behind it, all that stuff,” Stewart says. “And you spend the whole time talking to other people that are also traveling through Thailand and going through this experience with you.”
The cooking classes must have paid off, because the couple, who estimates they consumed “40 pounds of noodles,” says they’ve been working to recreate and perfect the Thai recipes at home.
After soaking up the sun – and the noodles – in Thailand, Stewart and his wife took a trip to the Pacific Northwest, visiting Portland and Seattle for a week and exploring the great outdoors. Two years ago, the pair took a backpacking trip to Olympic National Park and fell in love with the area, which prompted their return.
The timing of their travels couldn’t have worked out more perfectly. After visiting the Pacific Northwest, the pair flew to Washington DC to spend a week with Stewart’s family. Living in Atlanta, they typically are only able to see his family once or twice a year. This visit was an extra special treat: His sister-in-law had just given birth, and Stewart and Anna were able to meet their new nephew.
Stewart mentioned he considers himself lucky to work for a company that offers such a great program to its employees, and to work with a team of coworkers who were supportive and encouraging about their absence. This sabbatical gave him, and his wife, an opportunity to completely disconnect and start their life together – just the two of them.
“You’re always going to have a project, you’re always going to have things to do, but if it’s planned well enough ahead, there’s no excuse for anybody to not be able to do this,” says Stewart. “It really does allow you to reset. Once I actually stepped away and I wasn’t in that rat race anymore, I realized how hard and how fast we’ve been going for so many years.”
This is the third sabbatical highlight in our series – missed the first few chapters? Don’t worry we’ve got you: Chapters 1-5