Sabbatical Update: 4 Months of Fun and Reflection

I’m about four months into my planned six month sabbatical.

At the beginning, I worried a little that I might not like life as a grownup without a job. Would I feel lost? Purposeless? Bored?

Nope. It turns out that I am excellent at not having a real job. I’ve learned a bunch, enjoyed life, seen a bit of the world, gotten healthier, and created some teaching materials that I’m super proud of.

In Marrakesh, Morocco

In Marrakesh, Morocco

My Mini-Guide to Having a Terrific Sabbatical

  • Travel as much as you can, within your budget
  • Be physically active every day, and work on becoming stronger and/or more healthy
  • Develop hobbies and projects you care about. Extra points for hobbies that get you out of the house and talking with people who you wouldn’t normally talk to.
  • Build regular “weekday” patterns for times when you aren’t traveling (because it’s still fun to have weekends)
  • Spend time with your family
  • Take naps

The cool thing about time spent on a sabbatical is that everything is up to you. That’s also the scary thing to some people. It has helped me pause and sincerely enjoy my activities and my life. Everything I do is intentional, and it’s up to me to make the most of this time.

Travel: The Netherlands, Morocco, Spain, California, Virginia, and More

Jeremiah and I have seen new parts of the world.

We flew to Amsterdam and spent a few days staying at a houseboat, and walking through the city, dodging out of the way of flying Dutch bicycles. We flew to Casablanca and took a magical tour of Fez, Meknes, Rabat, and Marrakesh. We spent a few days walking and soaking up the sun in Barcelona.

I visited family in Virginia and California. I headed to Liverpool for the SQLBits conference, then up to Edinburgh to see the sights and depart on a tour of Scotland.

Travel has been wonderful. Travel allows you to spend time with people you might never meet, and get to know people you love in new ways.

I Wrote a Precon!

I wrote a new day’s worth of content on SQL Server indexing. I presented the material at SQL Saturday Huntington Beach, and the amazing SQLBits conference in Liverpool. I thrilled to learn that my pre-conference session sold out. (Yay!)

Writing training material is time consuming, and writing a precon is definitely “work”. It took me about six weeks to write the content. I have no regrets about making the project part of my sabbatical. I really enjoy building training, and the project gave m a creative and intellectual outlet. That’s important, too.

I Love Working Out (For the First Time Ever)

When I’m at home, I walk my dog for at least 45 minutes each day. I also take fitness classes five days a week.

Fitness classes are well worth being part of your sabbatical budget (or your anytime budget). They get you out of the house, help you meet new people, and your instructors teach you all sorts of great things and keep you safe while making you stronger.

I always thought the best I could do with fitness was to make peace with having to do it. These days I look forward to going to my classes. I want to lift heavier weights at circuit training, or hold a plank longer. I want to get more mileage on my spin bike and go faster in hard intervals. I am so surprised to actually enjoy exercise.

I’ve lost about 30 pounds at this point, and I couldn’t have done it without the awesome trainers and community at Honest Training, here in Portland.

So, What’s Next?

I’m going to stretch this out a little bit. Summer in the Pacific Northwest is a little bit of heaven on earth. It’s sunny but cool and just perfect for walks, bike rides, and laying on the grass in a park, reading a book.

I still plan to write here, make videos, and create new training content. And I still plan to get back to drawing, I promise. I’m just going to keep the ability to nap whenever I want for a while… because life’s too short not to nap when you can. But I’ve got more fun projects coming, so stay tuned.

Some photos…

You can see lots more on my Instragram feed.

I got to teach in a pod at SQLBits

I got to teach in a pod at SQLBits

Even my dog things I smell awful after a workout

Even my dog thinks I smell awful after a workout

With my parents at the Grotto in Portland

With my parents at the Grotto in Portland

Discovering the beauty of Scotland]

Discovering the beauty of Scotland