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India’s Sabbatical Mindset: Resources for Your Time-Away Experience

Dhwani Ganyawala's 'village experience' in India during her 6-month sabbatical. Photo:

We’d like you to have a purposeful sabbatical – one with plans and anticipated learnings. We’ll push you to prioritize and choose carefully.

But sometimes we acknowledge that for certain individuals no plan might be the best plan.

Twenty seven-year-old advertising professional Dhwani Ganjawala took a six-month sabbatical in 2014. Her experiences gobsmack even the most adventurous traveler and sightseer.

With no plans or itinerary, she spent her time away backpacking across Europe, sometimes sleeping on beaches and in cars, trying her hand at organic farming in the Cotswolds, England, and living among villagers in Maharashtra, she always wanted to get one of the cars from the A Class deals to travel, but she was never able to afford it. Even though sleeping on a bench might not be your choice, wouldn’t you agree the total experience worthy of an adjective like “awesome?” That’s how Ganyawala felt about it.

So awesome for her that after the experience, she couldn’t imagine going back to her old job or living a humdrum life. So she quit. (Most people do not do quit their job after a sabbatical.)

With the discovery of her entrepreneurial spirit, this year Ganjawala launched Take That Sabbatical — a travel and experiential service. Ganjawala declares herself ‘chief wanderer’ and designs trips, divided into categories – mind, body and spirit. Her company arranges trips from a week to six months and you can choose from many sabbaticals – including village life, photography, diving yogi or cyclist.

Sabbatical is a Style of Travel

What would you want to do if you had six months away from your job?

Many individuals have trouble answering that question with specifics. The incredible gift of time away – hopefully paid – launches one into a cracker jack box of possibilities. Road trip, adventure (cycle, trek, kitesurf, etc.,) professional skill building, leadership renewal, local experience or volunteering – all come to mind when planning time away.

Ganjawala managed her sabbatical time in many activities and rare moments to savor. Check out Ganjawala’s  post on the her top most memorable15 experiences during her sabbatical. Drum circling, village living, trekking and organic farming – there’s something to intrigue every one of us. I’ll choose drum circling as a favorite intrigue.

What we know about a successful sabbatical is that this is an opportunity for an “experience.” An experience that may or may not include the top three activities you’ll find on TripAdvisor from tourists who have previewed your destination.

During 6-week stints this year, I carved out time in Santiago and Buenos Aires. People I invited came to visit for 8-10 days or so. What I observe is when individuals have a short time frame they come in “tourist mode.” This often begins as soon as they set their luggage on the floor of their beautiful rented apartment with no time to savor the surroundings or view from the terrace.  “Let’s go!” they say.

Armed with “must-sees/do’s” their agendas were marvels in jamming a day with museums, parks, monuments, theaters, restaurants, neighborhoods, zoos and shops. A day off from any of that was “wasting time in a place I might never come back to.”

I rarely set out to visit a place I know I’ll never be back to. I usually make up my mind as I leave though. Leaving my first visit to Patagonia was a “definite, I’ll be back.” (Oh my, those Andes Mountains!) Leaving my first visit to the Abacos was very different. A very “definite, I’ll not be back,” was said out loud on the ferry ride on the last day. (I found it culturally void.)

A sabbatical experience is so much different largely because of the time element. With an extended stretch of time, you can do much of what a tourist might do if you want.  The upside is you can avoid a hectic schedule that will wear you out. You’ll also be able to mull over how you’d like your day to unfold over morning coffee.  Today I think I’ll – walk around the neighborhood, sit on a park bench, join a gathering to watch the locals tango, watch the birds and savor the sun in a different corner of the world.

Sabbatical is a mindset far different from that of being a tourist. Fortunately, companies now specialize in helping you creating that kind of experience for part or all of your time away.

Could India Be Your Sabbatical Destination?

Who could imagine a more diverse country and vibrant culture than India to expand one’s horizons?

Partnering with a company that understands travel as an experience versus an agenda of “go/see” saves you planning time. In many cases you’ll garner experts who share your  specific interests such as eco-tourism or local health and education initiatives who smooth the way in a large country often difficult to manage such as India.

Innovative travel  experiences for a sabbatical are specific niches for companies. Take That Sabbatical offers a handpicked collection of unique, inspiring sabbaticals across India are specifically selected to encourage travelers to take the road less traveled. Their sabbaticals are designed to take you to places outside your comfort zone, teach you life lessons and make you grow into the person you want to be.

The TakeThatSabbatical online P.S. Message says it all:

P.S. These are not holidays or sightseeing packages.

No, you will not always be comfortable. Yes, there will be really hard bits.

Yes, you will question your decision.
But it will be worth it. Promise!

Other resources if you choose India for a sabbatical:

  • Journeys With Meaning -Their trips, says one reviewer, will give you a good hangover for life. Includes ecotourism, environmentalism, home stays and local experiences.

For all you wanna-be Sabbatical Go-ers whose company isn’t offering a sabbatical program soon, check out The Ultimate Toolkit for Writing and Presenting a Killer Sabbatical Proposal Your Boss Can’t Refuse. The Table of Contents and first eight pages available for preview.

We’re proud to offer this product. It’s everything you need to add a sabbatical to your life and still have your job when it’s over.

Just think of the experience you’d have in 2016 somewhere –  India? Chile? Kentucky?

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