Friday, January 25, 2013

Walk the Earth

" Caine, from Kung Fu."

That was the key phrase in the Pulp Fiction clip I put in yesterday's blog entry about living for six weeks out of one small suitcase. 

The reason I'll be traveling for six weeks is that I've chosen to devote the bulk of my seven-week sabbatical to traveling in Europe.  (I'm spending the first week doing community service here in Raleigh.) 

"Sabbatical?" you may well ask. "What sabbatical?"

One of the cool things that my company, Principled Technologies, does is offer to all full-time employees a seven-week, paid sabbatical each seven years.  The time is completely away from work; no one expects you even to be reachable.  You are free to do whatever you want with the time.  That said, if you will give at least one week to doing something to help make the world a better place, the company will either pay up to five grand of your expenses to go where that work is or donate the money to the charity involved.  At PT, we really want all employees to help make the world better.

After I do my week of work, I'm going to get on a plane to a European city I've yet to choose.  I'm picking it in advance only because I have to do so to get an affordable plane ticket.  Over the following six weeks, until I fly home from that same city, I'm going to do whatever I feel like doing.  I have no schedule, no reservations, no plan, and only a rough idea of some places I think I'm likely to visit.  When I wake up each morning, I'll decide whether to stay where I am or move on. 

I've always wanted to do something like this, and now I have the chance.  I intend to take full advantage of it.

To keep myself as mobile as possible, I'll be restricting what I carry to that small suitcase and a backpack.  For the first trip in my life, I won't be carrying physical books with me; instead, I'll buy a bunch of ebooks and have some sort of reading device.  If I buy things, I'll ship them home.  I'm not going, though, to shop; I'm going to live.  Just live, live somewhere different, live very differently. 

It should be an interesting time indeed.


Dan Campbell said...

O good! Enjoy!

(I have done this sort of thing on a much smaller scale. It is wonderful!)

Deb Franklin said...

That's a great perk! I knew a coworker a decade ago who wanted a sabbatical to finish his advanced degree, but the company was too hide bound and short sighted to let him go for the month. Yeah, he turned in his notice, finished, and got a better job elsewhere. Companies that are too big turn employees into numbers and forget that a little leeway can reap huge dividends, but not in the kind that gives immediate rewards to stockholders.

Enjoy Europe. I never thought i would ever get to go, but i finally was able to and it completely opened my eyes! Highly recommend a rail pass, and the automated stuff in Germany was like something from science fiction! I wish I could have stayed longer. BTW if you go to Baden-Baden, I do NOT recommend the Invigorator! "You see stars?"

Mark said...

Thanks, Dan and Deb. I have no clue if I'll hit one city or twenty, but that freedom is exactly what I want.

Tara Smith said...

Sooooooooooo envious. *sigh* That is a dream I have, and one day I will do. :)


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