Feeling Burned Out at Your Day Job? Consider Taking a Travel Sabbatical

Sometimes, a week of vacation isn’t enough when you feel like a post-wildfire forest. If you’re feeling burned out at your day job, it might be time to evaluate a sabbatical.

If you’ve dreamed of traveling the world as a photographer, a sabbatical can help you decide if the digital nomad lifestyle is right for you. As a photographer, it may give you some much needed time to turn your camera hobby into an occupation. A sabbatical is traditionally a year long, but six weeks to six months is a fairly realistic range to consider.

Coming to you from the photo-snapping, globetrotting duo, the Vagabrothers share their insights on how you can set yourself up for a longterm trip. It’s really special to see brothers who share a passion for travel and visual arts. We’ll see if I can convince my twin brother to hit the road.

The video title highlights quitting your job, but I found the opening points the most compelling, and they have nothing to do with turning in your notice:

  1. Introspect. Spend some time journaling to understand why you want to quit. Heading into a trip aimlessly is a recipe for disappointment and a financial mess when you get back.
  2. Remove obstacles. What is holding you back from some time on the road? We often hold ourselves back due to illogical expectations. Make sure you recognize and outwit the cognitive biases that influence your reasoning.
  3. Set expectations. What do you want to get out of your time away? Articulate why it will enhance your life.
  4. Set goals. Are you going to investigate a risky career switch? Invest in some hobbies? Whatever you decide, make it count by setting concrete goals. For example, if you want to turn your travel photography into an occupation, set genre and learning goals so you can improve with intentionality.

Have you taken a sabbatical to travel the world? Did you take your camera with you?

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David Rogers's picture

Most companies, even Silicon Valley companies, do not allow sabbaticals any more. A survey by CEO Magazine a few years ago determined that most folks returning from sabbaticals are either fired or quit when they return. So it is just not as beneficial to the company as it was once thought to be. In fact the new CEO at my wife's company was specifically asked about this in his first all company meeting a month ago. His answer mentioned the CEO Magazine article and said that anyone was welcome to take a "permanent sabbatical" anytime they wanted to. I thought that was pretty funny.

Jonathan Lee Martin's picture

Ouch! That's a shame to hear. The workaholic mentality in the US is depressing, I was just perusing through this:


Sure, you'll get compensated more for less vacay, but as you highlighted, it's expected that you take very little time off. Compared to say, Switzerland, where your peers expect you to take at least 4 weeks off; you pay for that time off one way or another, but at least your peers expect it of you =)

Deleted Account's picture

Part of the reason could be people who travel extensively get to immerse themselves in cultures that are much better at the work life balance than the states; and that can be hard to go back to... While a little better than the US, up here in Canada we are way behind many European countries where 4-5 weeks off is encouraged and is seen to work to keep employees fresh and avoid burnout.

Arun Hegden's picture

Waited almost 5-6 months after asking for sabbatical, I quit my 9-5 its been awesome than ever. :D

Jonathan Lee Martin's picture

That's amazing! Are you sticking to a sabbatical, or planning to make it more longterm?

Arun Hegden's picture

I quit my office. Been travelling and taking up freelance assignments, making videos and doing Workshops. Make me more happy.😀

Jonathan Lee Martin's picture

🙌 Inspiring, do you schedule overseas workshops or from a "home base"? Seems like it would be really tricky to get one filled up.

chrisrdi's picture

If I tried this my boss would give me 2 options" A.Take the sabbatical and never come back or B. Get my ass back to work.

Jonathan Lee Martin's picture

Hah, in light of B, option A definitely sounds like the less terrifying option.