The idea was to take a time out, do some travelling, some writing and some exploring of life in different and emerging markets. I also saw it as an opportunity to free up some head space to allow room for new streams of consciousness to pass through my mind and counterbalance the overload of thoughts about work. I’m sure creating space to ponder on random ideas is a form of meditation, it must be.
I’ve been on sabbatical for two months now and am getting use to life in the alternative lane. I spent my first month in beautiful Barbados. There’s nothing like Caribbean Sea air or a few weeks liming’ on soft white sands to help you quickly forget the grey skies and wintry conditions of London. However, it did take a while for me to completely refrain from thinking about work it didn’t help that I took my BlackBerry with me.
Lesson one of a sabbatical from work: stop checking email!
Lesson two: change your location and your routine. I hardly swim back home who has time for getting to a swimming pool, getting into a slow lane (in my case), getting your hair irreparably messed up and getting the smell of chlorine stuck in your nose all day? Yet, in Barbados I headed to the sea at Carlyle Bay on the Southeast coast as often as I could. This is a great beach for swimming as the water tends to be very calm. Better still, there’s no need to get in any lane or do the hair in order rush to work, so going for a swim becomes a relaxing experience, rather than dreaded exercise.
Lesson three: do what locals do. I spent a fair bit of time with my fit cousin who lives an active island lifestyle, which involves: cycling around the East Coast, where the scenery is dramatic and the rough Atlantic sea provides good conditions for surfers; swimming every morning; and hiking. Hike Barbados organises a weekly walk from Bridgetown to the parish of St. Andrew on a route that clocks up to 26 miles some weeks that’s five miles longer than the length of the whole island! While I didn’t manage to get up at 6am to join the official hike, I did get in a few long walks along the Platinum Coast in St. James and around Bath and Consett Bay.
After a month of unwinding to the point of becoming horizontal in the Caribbean, I think I managed to switch off from work completely and create the space I needed to fully appreciate this sabbatical experience and prepare myself for the rest of my journey.
Next stop: West Africa and the bustling city of Accra, Ghana.