How to take a year-long vacation without ruining your career

I just finished reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, in which the author takes a year-long hiatus from her life to travel to Italy, India and Indonesia. In a way, I wish I hadn’t read it, because goshdarnit, I want to take a year off. Alas, I am not a best-selling authoress so working is definitely on the agenda for the next few years of my life at least.

But taking a year off doesn’t have to be out of everyone’s reach — even if you have a lucrative career, you can make an extended vacation part of your 5-year plan, according to this article from Forbes. In fact, some companies will even pay you to work in another country for a developing corporation. But if that’s not an option, and you’d have to quit your job to travel for a year or at least take an extended leave of absence, here are some tips:

  • Test it out first. It’s true — some people just don’t like to be on vacation 24/7, and that person might be you. Take some time to do nothing first before committing to do nothing for a while. This doesn’t rule out travelling completely — you can always work in another country!
  • Budget. When you’re not working, this is key. Make sure you have a nice travel fund set up too
  • Give lots of notice to your employer. It’s just the right thing to do.
  • Maintain a good relationship with your boss. Maybe you’ll find yourself and pursue a different career path. But then again, maybe you’ll return home broke and in serious need of your old job back, so stay on good terms.