How would you like to take a sabbatical from life and the rat-race to live in France for a year or more? While on that sabbatical, you focused on doing all those things that you always dreamed about doing but never had the time because of work; write a book, stay home with the kids and explore France, start your freelance career or whatever else it is that your heart desires?
Of course you would but there’s that little issue of money, your job and all those other pesky things that keep stopping you.. right?
With some clever planning, a dash of courage and a pound of persistence, you can make that seemingly impossible dream of a sabbatical year a reality.
Here are 15 ways to make your year sabbatical dream a reality.
1- Ask your employer if you can take a year off.
Insurance can get expensive in the US if your footing the bill. Ask your company if they can give you a leave of absence with health insurance benefits. Not only will you not have to pay for insurance out of your pocket, but you’ll also have a job waiting or you at the end of your 1 year sabbatical or however long a sabbatical you negotiate.
2-Can you do your current job part time and remotely?
Technically, if you are working remotely, you are not really on a sabbatical. But if working remotely is your only option than take it. You can always work remotely from some beach.
3- Cut back on your expenses and save
Our family of five cut thousands of dollars from our annual expenses by simply cutting a lot of the fat out from our lives. We ate out less, we got rid of cable T.V., shopped at thrift stores and didn’t buy anything unless we absolutely need it. It’s hard at first, but once you start seeing how much money you are saving it turns into a game and gets easier and easier. Here are 20 easy ways you can cut back and start saving money today.
4- Sell Your Unwanted Stuff
It’s amazing how much crap you can accumulate. Instead of trashing it, why not sell your unwanted stuff to fund your sabbatical year abroad? Old electronics, all those CD’s and DVD’s. Old bikes, even old baby clothes? Some places to sell are eBay.com. In a garage sell. Online classifieds like craigslist.
5- Volunteer Abroad/ Trade For Lodging and Food
There are programs all over the world where you can volunteer. Some you will have to pay for while others will give you you lodging and sometime s a small monthly stipend in exchange for volunteering your time.
6- Home Exchange
If you live in a highly desirable place like San Francisco, New York or another popular destination then you could try exchanging your house with someone who lives abroad in an equally desirable location. Check craigslist and do a search on Google using keywords house swap or house exchange.
7- Rent Your Home To Offset Costs.
Consider renting your home or subletting your apartment. Renting our your place is a good way to offset your costs while also ensuring you have a place to stay when you get back from your sabbatical. If you rent your home fully furnished, you can rent it for even more. Look at places like www.sabbaticalhomes.com.
8- Go Somewhere Where The Cost Of Living Is Lower
Going to Thailand for a year will cost you a lot less than going to Paris for a year. Popular destinations are South East Asia, and South America and Mexico.
9- Start your own consulting business
If you have some skill that you can do over the phone or video calls like Skype than consider starting a consulting business that you run completely online.
10- Teach English or Music over Skype
I recently heard about people taking music lessons over Skype and thought how brilliant. If you are not musically inclined, you could always teach English over skype. There are so many people all over the world looking to improve or practice their English. All you would have to do is put up a one or two page website with your rates and some contact info and start hunting down clients.
11- Do odd jobs on the web.
The web is full of people looking for other people to do small odd jobs. Data entry, freelance writing, design a logo, computer programming and more. Check out Elance. They have thousands of jobs posted by people and companies looking your help. Some people make a living this way.
12- Sell your photography
If you have an eye for photography, and you love taking pictures you can sell your photos on stock photography sites like Istockphoto. People go there and pay you the rights to use your photo. There’s a lot of competition and it doesn’t pay much but if you love doing it then not get paid for your hobby.
13- Live simply while on sabbatical
Maybe you won’t be able to live it up in a posh area of Paris but there are lots of affordable places or things you can do on a sabbatical. Don’t go anywhere. Just stay at home but do all those things that you couldn’t do while you were working. Get a used RV and drive across the continent visiting famous landmarks.
14- Use your savings, retirement fund or sell stocks
Do this at your own discretion. When and if you return back to your homeland, can you start over? You’ll have to do a lot of soul searching for this one I suspect.
15-Sell Your Home
I know several families who have sold their house to fund their travels. Only you can know whether or not this is the right option for you to take. Were you planning to sell anyways? Is the market up? Your Turn: How will or would you finance your sabbatical? Leave your comments below.
There are so many more ways you can pay and afford to take a sabbatical to travel. You will need to pick and choose the ones that best suit your situation, your comfort level and your goals. Just remember, there will always be an excuse why you CAN’T take a sabbatical. The truth of the matter is, many of your obstacles are mainly fears. If you really want to make this happen than make it a priority and do it.