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Travel
May 01, 2014

Taking a Break

Text by Shaista Vaishnav

9 ways to make your sabbatical count for something. On May 1, what else are you looking at?

Since quitting your pointless 9 to 9 job and taking a break is the newest cool thing to do, you may as well make that break worthwhile. Considering that time is not of the essence any more, short of spinning a compass and trotting off in any direction it points to, you can pretty much explore a whole world of options. And there is really a WORLD of options out there. From the unthinkable to the relatively reasonable, here are some suggestions that will make you want to dig out that resignation letter template you’ve got saved somewhere, and finally send it. Keep in mind though – everything that makes a sabbatical worthwhile involves money, some more than others. So if you haven’t managed to save a good chunk, then save the letter for later and some of your salary for the following:

1. Teach English in Korea This is a viable option for many, including some successful travel bloggers. It’s how they’ve managed to make a living and live a dream. Kim-chi anyone?

2. Photo-trek through South India Sure, it’s home turf, but you’ll be surprised by how beautiful it is. From Coorg to Kovalam to Hampi to Madhumalai. Also, that expensive SLR you bought will finally come in use.

3. Get your deep-sea-diving certification Score a gorgeous white beach and a clear blue ocean for an out-of-this-land-and-into-the-water experience. You may not find a diving instructor that looks like Katrina Kaif (or a fellow student like Hrithik Roshan for that matter), but the word is that the instructors come with washboard abs. Koh Tao in Thailand and Bohol and Boracay in the Phillipines are some unspoiled, relatively undiscovered options.

4. Work in a farm in New Zealand So, you’re one of those people who believe that the culture of a place can’t really fully be absorbed unless you spend a few months there, right? Register here, click on the country of your choice, roll up your sleeves and prepare to work in faraway places. It’s a bit like Enid Blyton’s wishing chair.

5. Learn Spanish. In Spain. If you really want to learn Espanol, who better to teach you than the Spanish themselves. Sign up for a crash course and then practice with nuevos amigos!

6. Work with tigers…and crocodiles and meerkats and pygmy hippos and…. Certain zoos in South Africa welcome volunteers to stay for a few months and work with the zoo animals in return for basic boarding and lodging. Just don’t pack those leopard print leggings.

7. Discover the art of cheese-making Blue, cheddar, parmesan…you love the stuff. So why not learn how it’s made and possibly make some yourself. And what better place to churn that cheese than Pondicherry? While you are there, you can throw in a crash course in pottery too.

8. Learn shadow puppetry in Cambodia Not everything you do on this sabbatical needs to come in handy in the future or be a skill you actually use! (Get with the programme). Having said that, shadow puppetry can be a great way to entertain kids at birthday parties or make really memorable presentations at the workplace. (You will have to go back at some point, you know, unless of course you have a trust fund. And if you have a trust fund, you may want to read what to do with it here.) The kind people at Wat Bo are more than happy to show you your way around shapes, shadows, folklore and the art of puppetry.

9. Cycle across the French Riviera Ditch the usual backpacker trail and rent a bike to discover the Riviera. Not only will you get fit as you embark on a journey of a lifetime, but you’ll save money, get skinny and come back with calf muscles to die for.

 

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