Back in December 2013 I found out that my long time dream to go travelling was about to become a reality! After not taking a gap year before or after university I had started to convince myself that going to a new place each year on holiday would be fine. I would eventually get to see the whole world. However it didn’t take long for the realisation to kick in that that really wasn’t how I wanted to do it. A beach holiday somewhere hot, sandy and beautiful, followed by a few long weekend trips away with friends, possibly something family based (all of which are great and I love lots) but suddenly all your leave is gone and that dream of visiting somewhere new, exciting and culturally different for a substantial amount of time is gone with it.
So how have things now changed you may ask? If I’m honest a owe a little of it to my time working in HR; that may not be the starting point you expected. I spent 15 months in a job where I had great colleagues and friends but knew I didn’t want it to be my long term career. HR is however a great area to become familiar with everything your company has to offer you, I became highly familiar with company policy and the fact that after working for the company for so long you were able to apply for an extended leave of absence. Often used by academics for research it was also open to anyone who had a valid request and reason for wanting to take 6 months to a year out! A year after leaving HR to work with students in the university’s Careers and Placements service a lightbulb moment took place in the depth of my brain as I realised I could now apply for said Leave of Absence (LOA).
There was a few things going through my head in the run up to applying for my LOA which I will go into in another post, as with anything travel orientated, I am learning fast that things change a lot! But for now, as you have probably guessed, my request was approved just before Christmas and yes it has taken me almost 4 months to tell as many people as possible and write my first ever blog post (2014 looks set to be a year of many firsts).
I have to thank my manager at the time for her amazing support as I really was bricking it when I finally plucked up the courage to talk to her about taking a year out and of course my family for being 100% behind me as soon as I told them my ideas to go travelling, as they always are!!!
And the all important date, first flight = 18 June 2014, 1pm take off, London Heathrow to Edmonton, Canada 😀
Take off countdown: 85 days