Saturday, October 22, 2016
In T-minus two weeks, I’ll be hopping on a plane to Peru, via Mexico City. November 5 marks the start of my two-month “sabbatical” to South America.
I officially requested the unpaid leave in June and booked the first of many flights, but this trip has been in the works for quite some time. Last year, when I was feeling stagnant in my job, I dreamed of touring South America. But then I got a great new job opportunity with my employer and my family and I took a trip to the UK. Needless to say, the trip got sidelined.
But then, I won a contest from Travelocity’s nonprofit arm, Travel for Good, that awarded me with a small stipend toward a “voluntourism” trip of my choosing. I picked an animal orphanage in the Peruvian Amazon, and so the trip was back on, at least part of it.
I had just taken a lengthy trip and was in a new, highly demanding job. I told my boss about it the contest but knew it would be awhile before I could fulfill it.
By springtime of this year, I started feeling stagnant again, but not in my job. This time it was an uneasiness, or stir-crazy if you will, in greater SoCal. I’ve lived out here nearly 11 years and in the same apartment for the past five. That’s a long time.
The urge to take a lengthy sabbatical came back, so I started planning. Chile, Argentina and Brazil stood out as other places I wanted to go: Chile for Santiago and Patagonia, Argentina for its wine country and Buenos Aires and Brazil for its famous beaches and Rio.
Peru and Brazil are known for their coffee, as huge producers of their beans, so I shared my trip plans with my editor at the international coffee magazine I was writing for. He suggested I produce a couple articles out of the trip, indicating that the magazine would help pay for some of the field research expenses.
The stars were aligning and they were pointing to this trip being a reality!
The time finally came to ask my boss. I had been dragging my feet but I needed to get the time off, which was looking at nine weeks when all was said and done. Let’s just say the phone call was pretty awkward; she was definitely shocked, thus speechless, when I told her. So, I made sure to fill the silence with rambling as I am known to do when I get nervous.
She also dragged her getting back to me – understandably, considering the big request- but a month later she finally approved my leave request minus a week shaved off the front end. The dream trip I had been mentally planning for more than a year was approved!
Fast forward to today and I’m only two weeks out. I’ve made a lot of progress during the past several months, but I get a little anxious seeing the remaining holes in my spreadsheet. I have a lot of loose ends to tie up still. That said, I better get to it. TTFN