How to Plan Your Dream Sabbatical (Without Going Broke)

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By Keisha Blair

After my husband died suddenly from a very rare and tragic illness, just eight weeks after I gave birth to my second child, I decided to do some soul-searching.

I had two young babies and was now grieving the loss of my husband at age 31. There wasn’t one singular moment that stands out but a series of prescient moments that gave birth to the idea that the answers to my questions would come after significant soul searching.

I knew I would have to take a break from work for a while, and I would have to plan around that. I knew that I had to do this for my health and wellness and to chart a new path forward in life.

A survey by recruiting firm Robert Half Canada found that 38 percent of Canadian HR managers planned to offer a leave of absence or sabbatical as a benefit in 2022. The result compared with a report in August 2020 that said 30 percent of Canadian HR managers would offer this kind of benefit in 2021.

With record rates of mental health issues, depression and a loneliness epidemic stemming from COVID-19, if you are thinking about planning your dream sabbatical, I have some tips for you. The benefits of my sabbatical were life-transforming. 

As I wrote in the new Holistic Wealth Expanded and Updated: 36 Life Lessons To Help You Recover From Disruption, Find Your Life Purpose and Achieve Financial Freedom

“A sabbatical can ignite your passions and help you find your true purpose in life, as it allows you the free time to explore creative endeavors and helps you to sort through your goals. A sabbatical helps you to take a break from the day-to-day routines and design the intentional life you want. It allows you to discover your unique talents and to seek your higher self through spiritual self-renewal (daily yoga, meditation, prayer), as it allows you to disconnect from your routine and encourages new lines of thinking and challenges you in new ways, by giving you the time to explore your inner thoughts and desires. Once your passions are ignited, it becomes easier to find success in whatever field you embark on”.

Plan Well in Advance 

I planned my sabbatical to Jamaica a year in advance. A one-year sabbatical abroad can mean a lot of logistical work, so planning ahead is critical. At the Institute on Holistic Wealth, we have a sabbatical planning course that’s available to everyone. I also train my Certified Holistic WealthTM Consultants to factor in sabbatical planning to their client’s Holistic Wealth Portfolio. 

Many things can go awry on a sabbatical abroad, so engage the help of someone who has done this successfully and has had life-transforming results. Without proper planning, it’s possible to get into too much debt, spend unnecessarily and come back with few outcomes and success metrics fulfilled.

Define What Success Looks Like To You

Of course, defining what success means to you is also critical, and that’s also something I help clients with through coaching. With the Great Resignation wave and people making career transitions, this is also helpful in charting a new path forward. 

I focused on my own holistic healing and honing in on my passions, which also allowed me to find my life purpose. Once I was settled, I found meaning by helping others, developing my own recipes, meditating every day, tuning in to my own intuition and much more.

Have a “Sabbatical Fund”

Call this pot of funds your “sabbatical fund” and set up a budget and a way to build it up to a figure that can sustain you. If you are considering renting your home and car while you are away, start planning for that and think about how you will manage any assets (like real estate) and business responsibilities while you are away. 

I would advise anyone considering a sabbatical to take my free quiz at instituteonholisticwealth.com/take-the-quiz to identify your financial identity before you start planning. It will help you become more self-aware to plan ahead in a way that’s authentic to you.


Holistic Wealth Expanded and Updated: 36 Life Lessons To Help You Recover From Disruption, Find Your Life Purpose and Achieve Financial Freedom offers great financial, emotional, and professional insights for people who are considering taking a sabbatical and how to tackle this momentous part of their life.

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Keisha Blair is an award-winning, international bestselling author of “Holistic Wealth: 32 Life Lessons to Help You Find Purpose, Prosperity and Happiness.” Founder of the Holistic Wealth Movement and the Institute on Holistic Wealth, and host of the Holistic Wealth podcast, Keisha has been profiled in the New York Times, Real Simple Magazine, Forbes, the Harvard Business Review, and Essence Magazine. Her viral article “My Husband Died At Age 34. Here Are 40 Life Lessons I Learned From It” was viewed by more than 50 million people globally. Visit her at keishablair.com 

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