First Step to Travel Dreams
Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Some people ask us, “How do you do it? How do you leave for a year?” Some tell us, “You are crazy; I would never do that!” These people usually think of a vagabond as “a person who wanders from place to place without a home or job” as does the dictionary but I prefer Ralph Potts’ definition from his book Vagabonding it is
'Vagabonding' is about taking time off from your normal life — from six weeks, to four months, to two years — to discover and experience the world on your own terms.
In this season of harvest with Sukkot and Halloween upon us, so soon after Yom Kippur, I reflect on the stories in the Torah about our people’s journey from slavery to freedom. These tales belong to other people in another time, but they are also my own travel stories. They are like signposts for all of our travels in both a literal and figurative sense, and they can inspire us.
I ask myself, “What are we personally enslaved to today? And how is it possible with so many time-saving devices, from the microwave to the personal computer, that we have so much less time?” Leaving both our homes and careers can free us to think about our paths and what is it that we want to do with our lives. If you are considering a long vacation or a career break you might wonder, “What can we journey from and what can we journey toward? What will the trip be like? What happens in this ‘wilderness’?”
As the Torah stories tell us, one year out of every seven the fields must lie fallow so that they can continue to be productive. And every seventh day on Shabbat we are offered the opportunity to rest. So a Sabbatical may allow us to step back so we might give more to our lives. The research agrees and was posted in an academic study, "Sabbatical Leave: Who Gains and How much? conducted by researchers from the US, Israel and New Zealand. In August 2010, American Psychological Association in its Journal of Applied Psychology worked to measure the impact of sabbatical on health and attitude. The study states: "Sabbatical leave promotes well-being...the present study confirmed the beneficial effect of a respite on positive well-being."Continued on the next page