Traveling and not quitting your job: Dear sir, I am going away for 3 months but please don’t fire me

It is not usually okay to just come up to your boss and say, “I am going away for a 3-month sabbatical. But I want to keep this job,” a friend of mine did it. Last month, she was really worried how her employer will react with the idea of traveling while employed. Nope, she’s not quitting. She actually loves her job so much. But which employer will let you leave for a couple of months, come back and act like everything is normal? Like you were never gone? I gave her an advice on how to approach her boss and you can read it here.

Having zero idea of how the boss will react, she discussed it with him and he said, “we will look into this possibility.” The next thing she knew, her boss is asking her to draft a sabbatical letter to present to the whole league of bosses. What a good friend like me will do is to help her create a compelling letter that will eventually make her employer say yes.

Lesson of the story: Even if you think there is no way your employer will say yes to this, speak up. You’ll never know how your boss will react towards your idea(s). Make traveling and not quitting your job happen!

Please take note that my friend is not working in the travel industry. Her line of work is way far from travel but she’s making it happen!


Dear Sir,

Last month, I brought up the craziest idea any full-time employee won’t ever think about: I asked you for a 3-month sabbatical leave. I want to travel and not quit my job. I am not sure if there’s a way this will be possible but I am still taking my chance.

I am very thankful how open-minded you are towards my idea. Some companies only allow 30 days of leave per year and I am ridiculously asking you for 90 straight days. In this age of millennial travel, a lot of people my age already quit their jobs to travel the world but I don’t want to do that. I want to keep this job because I love it. I am happy here. I was never burnt out here. This is a kind of office environment that allows me to be me. It takes a while for people to find that cubicle that makes them happy — mine only took a few years. I have a very nice apartment, excellent workmates, and a middle-class lifestyle in the most expensive city in the world. All at the same time, I am able to provide for my family back home and afford to travel when I want to. This job made all that possible.

You see, it’s so easy to get out of this office and say, “I quit.” But my heart doesn’t say I should do that. You’ve been a very good employer and I want you to be involved in my thoughts, hopes and dreams for my future in this company.

I am going away for 3 months but please don’t fire me.

This year, I’ve spent weekends in our neighbouring countries that pointed me to this crazy idea. I feel very lucky for being able to spend my Saturdays and Sundays sipping coffee with the view of the Sydney Opera House and watching the breath taking sunset in Phuket. Even if it’s just a few days, I found joy in these experiences. This is the reason why every Monday, I get in the office full of energy, creativity, ideas and most of all, life. I am not like any employee who feels like a zombie upon entering these glass doors.

I want to take my traveling to the next level. This time, I don’t want to be a tourist. I am asking for 90 days because I want to experience life. I want to stay with local families and eat, sleep, cook and speak in any country I will choose to visit for this trip. To be honest, I don’t know where I am going for this sabbatical but I promise it won’t be boring. I know I will be able to learn, grow, try new things, get out of my comfort zone and gain more independence.

I’ve been working for you for 5 years already and I think it is right to discuss this with you. One thing that I learned from working here is that I need to be confident about myself, about what I can do to make this company thrive even more. So I am saying this with all confidence and honesty: Invest in me. Let me go for three months and I promise you, I will come back with knowledge, power, enthusiasm and new life learnings — things that will make this company better; things that I can never learn from my happy cubicle; things that will make me the best employee you will ever have.

I am hoping for your kindest consideration, sir. I want to go away for a few months and keep this job when I come back. I have a strong feeling you, the company and I will gain something wonderful from embracing a little change.

Respectfully yours,

Pamela


Have you tried your luck asking your boss to travel for 90 days and still being able to keep your job? How did you do it? Would like to hear your thoughts! 

Trisha is one of those people who left their comfortable life to travel the world and learn about life. Her style is to stay in one place she likes for 3 months (or more) to know what it feels like to eat, cook, speak, and sleep in another culture that isn’t hers. She'd like to believe she's not traditionally traveling but she just chooses to be somewhere else all the time. In no particular order, her favorite cities in the world are Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Mexico City, and Tel Aviv.

Comments

  • March 29, 2016

    I have not yet tried this, but it is in my long-term plans. Let me know how it works out.

    reply
  • March 29, 2016

    I love this Trish! I’m definitely the quit your job and travel type but I’m definitely going to share this with all my friends who I’ve inspired to travel and who want to keep their job ?

    reply
  • alex
    March 29, 2016

    Hey, please, update us what happened next. 🙂

    reply
  • Yan
    March 29, 2016

    If I were the boss, unless she’s someone indispensable to the company, I would look into it. I’m curious to know how this turns out. 😉

    reply
  • March 30, 2016

    What an interesting article. I have read about people quitting their jobs to travel but this is the first article that I have encountered about a leave. This certainly provides an attractive alternative to those that want to travel but still want to keep their jobs. You are an excellent friend for helping out!

    reply
  • robin
    March 30, 2016

    Holy now that is a well crafted letter. Be sure to post how this turned out for your friend!

    reply
  • Pamela
    March 31, 2016

    Wait for it guys! I will finalise the letter and send it to the management by today!

    And yep, I feel like I don’t need to *quit my job and sell all my possessions* to travel long term!

    Big thanks to Trish for holding my hand throughout this whole process! :*

    reply
  • March 31, 2016

    Wow, this takes guts! Good on you for recognising the love for your job and your desire to travel, and striving for both. I think we’re all excited to see the result, all the best!

    reply
  • Annie
    April 1, 2016

    They didn’t allow me so I dropped everything. kthanksbye 🙂

    reply
  • April 2, 2016

    I feel the same as Pamela about my old job (lawyer)- I loved it and after 5 years was so comfortable there. But I was ready for a new focus in life which is why I just quit mine.

    reply
  • April 2, 2016

    It’s such a brave thing to ask, but you’ll never know until you try! Love her boldness. I’d do the same thing if it has to come down to it.

    reply
  • April 2, 2016

    How timely! I’ve literally just told my employer that I’m going away for 3 months. I like my job, but I’m not going to beg for it and have taken the outlook of what will be will be – if they give me a leave of absence – great – if they don’t – well then maybe it isn’t the job for me. Because lets face it – with my travel habits – this 3 month excursion is not the first of its kind and it definitely won’t be the last! But good on your friend for going for it and keeping the job she loves!

    reply
  • April 2, 2016

    I have never had the guts to ask my boss for an extensive leave. I think I should try it soon, and get someone to take over some of my responsibilities when I am away.

    reply
  • April 3, 2016

    When I’ve had normal jobs in the past, I’ve managed to take off for 1 month and 2 months. But I always knew I could risk losing my job. I guess if travel is important enough to you, you should make it happen despite any possible consequences. And if you still have a job to come back to, that’s just a bonus!

    reply
  • April 3, 2016

    What an interesting post! Hope more & more bosses think on the same wave.

    For me, when it was difficult to manage with almost nil leaves, I had left my job. And since then it’s a breeze……

    reply
  • April 3, 2016

    if you don’t ask you won’t get! such a positive response from your friend’s boss.

    reply
  • April 3, 2016

    This is super inspiring! I write a lot about how to combine a job with traveling on my own blog, so I’m definitley going to share your article with my readers as well. I wish your friend all the best and I hope she can make it happen! Her letter seems very compelling to me and I really hope her bosses say yes to it. There is just so much you can learn from traveling and I’m sure it’s beneficial for the company as well.

    reply
  • April 3, 2016

    My employer offers a sabbatical program, but I feel like I haven’t been there long enough to take one yet. Hopefully in a couple more years and with this letter as my template, I’ll be setting off on my own 3 month journey!

    reply
  • April 4, 2016

    “boldness has genius power and magic in it”

    reply
  • April 4, 2016

    Awesome post! I did exactly this… When I was working at my current company for 5 months I asked if I could go on unpaid leave for 5 months! It was nerve-racking and so scary but I am glad I asked because my manager agreed and I could travel around New Zealand and Southeast Asia for 5 months.

    reply
  • April 4, 2016

    This is the sweetest letter and the boss it is written to is clearly very lovely – what every boss should be. I also really admire how it is written: openly, honestly, assertively and with a lot of respect for the job. The perfect template for someone who chooses to not quit their job and eat their cake at the same time!

    reply
  • April 4, 2016

    “You’ll never know the answer until you ask”. And that’s true. Sometimes we just need to take a chance and go for it. Love the fact that your friend had the braveness to do it because most of the people don’t. And, unfortunately, we can understand why. Not everyone is as open-minded as we, travellers, are. I hope everything turned out perfect to your friend. Waiting for the news update!

    reply
  • April 5, 2016

    What a great letter! I should save this for when i have a real job! 😉 On a serious note, you have a well drefted letter here. I’m sure many people will be able to use this to enjoy more extended travels!

    reply
  • April 5, 2016

    The thought of approaching my boss and saying this is something unimaginable. Haaha seriously, she’s brave and lucky to have if this will be approved. Crossing my fingers. Thank you Trish for inspiring us with your words 🙂

    reply
  • April 8, 2016

    I did this last year. It was great but 3 months went by too fast

    reply
  • April 9, 2016

    Ahahah! Pretty straight forward but why not!? After all, traveling might make you more productive 🙂 The question is: will you want to get back on the same job after your trip?

    reply
  • April 9, 2016

    Wow, I would love to hear what happens next? I got to do that a lot as a preschool teacher but then anywhere else, I don’t know. Traveling may just make the employee come back with more eagerness to work so why not ?

    reply
  • April 18, 2016

    Wow! Amazing post!
    It is true, if you don’t ask, you will never get!
    Looking forward to read more!
    Thanks for sharing.

    reply
  • July 13, 2016

    I would love to try this someday! Right now, I can’t since I just quit my job and about to start to a new company. Haha! 🙂

    reply
  • July 22, 2016

    I love this! I’d long to do more extended travel in the future but was never sure how – everything you read is very “quit your job and just GO” but I actually love the work I do, the city I live in and lazy weekends at home (definitely not a nomad). This makes me feel like wanting to take a long trip but come back to a job I love isn’t such an impossible thing – I’ll give it a go in future.

    reply
  • April 26, 2018

    This post just made me want to go on sabbatical T_T I don’t want to quit my current work because I love it but I also want to pursue my other passion which is travelling. I really hope I will get the courage to leave everything behind for at least 3 months next year ?

    reply

Post a Comment

Currently under construction but I’ll be back soon!

P.S. I'm On My Way is a blog by Trisha Velarmino. She didn't
quit her job to travel the world. She made a job out of traveling and you can do it, too.