Vacation is the time of year I used to look forward to the most. I’d spend so much of my free time counting the days till my time off and detailing the most exciting plans for Europe, Asia or the Caribbean. I’d save up as many extra days as I could to extend my time in exotic locales and I’d convince friends to join me on a trip or jump at an invitation to join them. On my return to the office, I’d feel reinvigorated. After a brief few days of reliving memories, I’d launch myself back full steam into work. There isn’t much other option, right?
Standard vacation time in Canada is three weeks per year. I’ve often wondered if that is enough. There are some European countries where anything less than five weeks vacation is unheard of. Is three weeks really enough over the long term to keep employees refreshed? On the flip side, companies tend to worry that if too much vacation time is allowed employees will have more trouble getting back into the swing of things. What about productivity??
After quitting my job and traveling for six months around Africa and Asia with a focus on my favorite region: South East Asia, I find myself in New Zealand looking for work. Not only have I had six months to forget about the 9 to 5 grind, this is the first time in almost ten years that I’ve actively looked for a job! On top of that, there was definitely some reverse culture shock that I experienced on reaching NZ. What is this Western city feeling? It feels too much like home! Why is it so cold here? I miss humidity and short sleeves and most of all – cheap food!
Luckily I’ve now adjusted to the cold and high beer prices (*sad sniffles*) and I can’t believe that I’m actually excited to apply for jobs! Sure it’s not all fun – there are emotional ups and downs of sending in applications, following up on leads and receiving rejection emails. Despite that, I truly am excited to be looking for work right now. Travel has given me a full reset: right now all I care about is finding a job I love and that means I’m happy to accept the inevitable pay cut given my past job as an actuary.
Did I really need a six month travel break to get this excited about work again? I can’t say for sure, but what I can say is that I’m currently exploring all kinds of possible industries outside of the actuarial world and I couldn’t be happier. Look out NZ, here I come!