4 wonderful reasons to take a month off and travel

The idea of taking a month off to travel — a sabbatical of sorts — is one that many people daydream about, but few actually end up doing.

You have to believe that it’s possible to unplug from the emails and to-do lists and tune into adventures — and in this fast-paced, work-oriented lifestyle, it may even be necessary.

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Here are four excellent benefits to getting after it for an entire month.

Relax

Most people run their minds and bodies like cars with $5 worth of gas in the tank. Every evening after work, we may get enough time to fill another $5 of rest, only to use it up, stutter and stall by lunchtime the next day. That often means nothing remains for creativity, exploration, family and friends — all the qualities of life that encourage well-being and self-growth.

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It may seem like a lot, but a month is what you’ll need to fill up and have reserves. Trust it, go with it and enjoy the ride.

Reset

month off travel

Road trips are a great way to reignite your sense of adventure. Photo: Courtesy of Gayle Nicholson

If you’ve been burned out for a long time, stressed or just stuck in a rut, it can be easy to forget you weren’t always that way. At one point, you were lively and curious about the world; maybe you still are, but you’ve become preoccupied with the daily necessities of work and home life.

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Taking that month off to travel takes you out of the comfortably constrictive familiarity zone, forcing you to think your way through new routes, different sleeping situations, unusual foods — everything that turns on your brain.

Reboot

month off travel

Ponder the big questions with the lights off. Photo: Courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management

Traveling and seeing that the world is bigger and grander than you and your problems is incredibly freeing. Once tuned into the world around you, you can rethink the person within you. What did you want to do as a kid, and do you still want it? What happened along the way? Are you living your dream or did you find comfort in daily certainty?

Remember, there is no wrong answer, but the question must be asked, and there’s something about that exposure while traveling that frees you to ask the tough questions without fear and figure out what you really want.

Renew

Maybe you realized how much you do enjoy your job, or perhaps it’s finally time to move on. Whatever your decision, what’s important is that you made the time to really think it through. You can take that next right step into the direction of self-fulfillment for the only life you’ve got.

By now, I bet you’re wondering how you might actually be able to pull this off. Well, here are some tips:

Pick something you can afford and start small

You don’t need to break the bank with a pilgrimage to India for the magic to happen. Take a road trip and do the tourist thing in a few states you’ve never visited. Car camp at the beach. Learn to shark fish off the coast of Hunting Island. Hike the Appalachian Trail. The only requirement is that you try something new.

Go with a loved one or two

month off and travel

Double your pleasure, double your fun — even when you’re fishing for dinner when yours fell overboard. Photo: Courtesy of Kenneth Dingsor

While there’s something to be said about the solo journey, double the trouble can be twice the fun. Mishaps will likely happen during your trip, and what better way to roll with it than with a few good laughs between you and your friends.

Don’t just leave co-workers stranded

Chances are you’ll have to do a little work on the forefront to help prevent the backlog when you return. Add an extra 15 to 30 minutes to your day — maybe cut the lunch break in half — to get it done. Few experiences are worse than coming back to a workload that leaves you regretting your decision to take off — or frustrates your co-workers for having to pick up the slack.

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Set up an auto-email

This sounds simple, but few do it, and it seriously adds to ease of mind. It lets people know you are unavailable, that they have to wait and that you can wait until your return to check your inbox. You can even ask someone to be your point of contact for the “emergency” emails if that makes everyone feel better.

Save the important numbers and turn the phone off

If it’s not 9-1-1 worthy, it’s likely not important. (Facebook falls into that category.) Go 1990s style and write down the numbers of friends and family you think you’ll want/need to contact on your journey. Bring a real camera, even if it’s just disposable.

This adventure is for you and maybe the ones you love most. Focus on yourself now, not the hundreds of people who may or may not see your photos later on their news feed.

Not enough time? Nonsense

month off and travel

You have to sleep, right? Might as well do it in the outdoors. Photo: Charli Kerns

Take long weekends to unplug completely. Leave the phone at home (or at least in the car) and camp in the mountains or at the beach. Visit with a friend you haven’t seen in years.

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Make sure to try something new, something that resets your brain and makes you see a different, bigger picture of the world and your place in it. You’ve got the time. Trust us.