Lily’s note: This is an interview with Matt Koenig of 1 Year Sabbatical. Matt is married with 2 kids and is planning a sabbatical year with his family starting June 2011.
I used to only imagine unmarried 20 or 30 year olds taking extended time off from work. Matt’s journey has made me realize that with planning and thought, sabbatical leaves from work are also possible for people with families and kids.
Tell me about yourself and your profession
I’ve been married for 9 years and have two boys aged 4 and 7. I’m in my 40’s and work as an IT professional at a major medical company with over 15,000 employees and $1.78 billion dollars in yearly revenue.
I have what most would consider a great job; good pay, benefits, and great co-workers. Life should be good and for the most part it really is. But for the past several years there has been a nagging voice in the back of my mind questioning if this is as good as it gets.
What inspired you plan a sabbatical year?
A little over a year ago I decided I needed to take a break, to slow the pace of life down a bit and do some self-exploration. This is when the idea of taking a 1 year sabbatical was born. As we toyed with the idea we realized this was something that we had to do not only for us but for our kids as well.
What will you be doing with your time off?
Since my wife is Indonesian it was natural that we spend the bulk of our sabbatical there. Our sabbatical time isn’t going to be filled with hours lying on the beach watching the waves come in. We’ve got big plans and goals so as to fully take advantage of our year away.
I want to spend time growing and developing my photography (as a) business as well as spending quality time with my family. My wife has plans to further her cake decorating artistry and my kids will be students in the biggest classroom on earth.
How are you funding your sabbatical year and what’s your budget?
We will finance our sabbatical with a combination of savings, monies from selling all our belongings and making money while on the road. (See Matt’s article on How to Finance a Sabbatical for funding ideas.)
We’ll have reduced expenses because we will be living with family for much of the time. Right now we are estimating $1,000 per month as a minimum which means we’ll need to have $12K by our departure date in June 2011. We also want to save another $5K to assist us when we return to the US after the sabbatical. In addition to my starting my photography business and my wife’s bakery, other options for income we’ve considered are teaching English and freelancing.
What’s been the biggest obstacle in planning your sabbatical year?
One might think that finances would be the biggest obstacle. It’s actually hasn’t been. The biggest obstacle has been in changing our mindset to believe that taking a sabbatical with a family is possible, that it is actually something that we can do even with kids. The fear of uncertainty is a powerful motivator for staying with the routine. The goal is to make the fear of not taking the sabbatical greater than the fear of taking one.
I don’t want to wake up 20 years from now and have regrets about how I spent my time or even worse die before living my dreams.
Articles from Matt’s blog on preparing for his sabbatical:
- Picking a Sabbatical Location
- Combating the What-If Syndrome
- 4 Reasons Why You Need a Sabbatical (recommended)
- How to Prepare Your Kids for Traveling Abroad
>> Thank you interview Matt. Have you ever considered taking a sabbatical with your family? Do you have any tips for Matt as he plans his year off? Please share your thoughts below.
Other articles you may like
- Aussie lawyer turned photographer: Interview with Holger Mette
- Location-Independent Living: Interview with James Clark of NomadicNotes.com
- Reader Question: How Much Does It Cost to Travel?
- 15 Practical Ways to Start Quitting Your Job
- Yup, I Quit My 9-5 Job Today!