The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to explore ways to stay for a longer duration. Over and over again I was being reminded that we only have one life to live. I came up with the idea to take a leave of absence from work in order to travel abroad. Here’s how I planned for it.
In order to afford this trip, we decided to move. At the end of our lease in December of 2017, we moved out of our comfy and spacious apartment into what I refer to as a “shoebox” (tiny hole in the wall) and signed a 5-month lease. This meant that we wouldn’t have to worry about paying rent in a space we wouldn’t live in for 2 months.
We went from a two bedroom to a one bedroom. The apartment space was much smaller than we were used to, so it required some major adjustments. Because we were only going to be there for a short period of time, we felt that it was unnecessary to move everything in, so we only moved what we needed on a day-to-day basis (no couch, no coffee table, no wall decor). Everything else was moved into storage. By moving into a smaller, much older apartment we were able to save about $400 dollars per month.
In addition, we only have one car which we finished paying on in December ’17, so we now had an extra $300 per month to contribute towards saving.
I’m lucky to work within an organization that supports my leave for travel. Because I started planning this so long ago, I presented this to my manager almost a year in advance. First, I casually shared this with him in person, then followed up with a formal written request. It was very specific and outlined exactly when I’d be leaving. I also followed up with my human resources department to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. If you’re going to do this, you have to be ready for either answer, be it a “yes” or a “no.” I was prepared for a “no,” but was confident I would be supported with a “yes.”