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1 Year Sabbatical – 2010 Review

1 Year Sabbatical – 2010 Review

by Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical on December 30, 2010

1 Year SabbaticalAs we prepare to usher out 2010 and welcome in 2011 I can’t help but look back on how far this blog has come since first starting in September.  Yes, it’s hard to believe that this blog is less than 6 months old.

When I first started this I’m not sure I really believed that taking a 1 year sabbatical was even possible for my family.  Sure there are plenty of families out there that have either done it or are currently doing it but I figured they were able to make it work because they were either wealthy, smart or fortunate enough to be able to work remotely from anywhere in the world. 

It’s interesting that when we see people doing things that we think are impossible for us to do we always attach extraneous circumstances to why others are able to do it and we are not able to. But are we really that different?  I think the only difference is the level of fear that each of us is willing to tolerate.  To overcome that fear we need to look inside ourselves rather than always looking outside.

But the more I’ve started looking into taking a sabbatical and connecting with people from around the world that are living that life, the more I realize how it really is possible for anyone to do something like this.  That’s not to say it’s as easy as buying plane tickets and heading out.  It takes planning and sacrifices to uproot and change one’s lifestyle.  It’s tough but the rewards are enormous and offer a family the experience of a lifetime.

The original intent of this blog was primarily a way to publicly document and share our experience in planning, implementing and experiencing a 1 year sabbatical in Indonesia.  

…the stories of our adventure and journey will encourage others…

We wanted to be yet another shining example that it was indeed possible for a family of four to travel for a year on a limited budget.  My hope is that the information we present, the stories of our adventure and journey will encourage others to take that leap into doing the things they really want to do…with their families.

Failures (Learning Opportunities)

We’ve seen some failures during this life change process.  I hate calling them failures because failures are really nothing more than opportunities to learn and grow.  So it is in that light that I write about the issues we have faced.


The biggest issue is in adjusting our lifestyle to make room for taking a sabbatical.  We’ve really done a horrible job of budgeting to make it happen in the time frame we have set for ourselves.  We need to really kick this up several notches in the New Year if we are going to meet our target departure date.  This is going to involve making some heavy cuts in spending and large increases in saving.  We will also need to come up with creative ways to earn a few bucks on the road.

Along these same lines we haven’t put in the effort to figure out what our monthly expenses will be in Indonesia.  We have the advantage of having family there that can give us very accurate numbers on what to expect.  This information is invaluable for us in determining how much money we need to have available to us before we depart.


I’ve had difficulty finding the time to do everything that I want with this blog and with researching and planning our sabbatical.  Between working a full time gig, being a family man, running this and my photography blog and finding time for myself, there just has not been enough hours in the day.  Part of this is because I have perfectionist tendencies and spend way too much time on tasks than I should.

I’ve fallen short on offers to submit several guest posts.  I only blame myself for this.  Writing doesn’t come easy for me.  I spend way too much time honing a post before publishing when the reality of it is that it’s probably pretty decent as it is.  But more often than not the perfectionist in me takes over and I end up spending way too much time trying to put it all together in a perfect package.

Mailing List

Lots of you have signed up for the mailing list but I’ve been bad about sending out valuable content.  I didn’t realize how bad until someone emailed me saying they had signed up and didn’t know if it had worked because they hadn’t received any mailings.  I’m planning to utilize the mailing list more in 2011 to provide great information and resources.  So if you haven’t signed up yet you can do so over there in the sidebar.


I’ve been amazed at the tremendous growth and interest in this site within the short period of time it’s been alive.  I credit that to a message that seems to resonate well with people who are looking for more in life, who aren’t satisfied with what they are told they need to have or need to be doing.  I think more people are realizing that it’s not only good to take time off to relax, spend time with family, sort out what it is they really want to do with their life or just slow down for a bit; but that it’s necessary for good health and sanity.

Guest Posts

I had the great privilege of being able to guest post on some incredible blogs like Location 180, The Middle Finger Project, and A World of Inspiration.  This blog was also mentioned on several incredible travel blogs like Flightsters “40 Flightsters You Should Know About” and on Amy and Kieron’s blog “Don’t Ever Look Back” Our Favorite #rtwsoon travel bloggers.  I was even mentioned on Tammy Strobel’s blog Rowdy Kittens recently.

Great People

I’ve made some great friends this year.

I’ve also been blessed to have gotten to connect with and know some incredible people.  The first person I connected with that really inspired me to consider and then move forward with this sabbatical was Sean Ogle of Location 180.  Sean is an awesome guy and I love what he’s done this past year.

It’s not a big secret that I have a “man-crush” on Chris Guillebeau and his Art of Non-Conformity.  His philosophy on life really resonates with me and made me realize that I am free to do whatever it is I feel I am being called to do in this world.  If you haven’t read his book yet you should definitely check it out.

Mark Powers is another guy I’ve had the great fortune of meeting in person.  This guy has such passion for music and teaching what he knows to others.  I’m looking forward to working more with him this next year.  He recently started an incredible site called The Donating Drummer.

Another great guy I’ve really connected with this year is Joel Runyon of Blog of Impossible Things.  Joel has a way of making me believe that the impossible is possible.  I love that he has accomplished so many goals this year with big plans in the works for next year.

I met Ivan Campuzano on Twitter this year.  He runs an awesome self development blog and serves up content that really gets me thinking about life.  Looking forward to hosting him should he come to Indonesia.

There has been so many people that I really have connected with.  People like Srini who runs The Skool of Life and Flightster among other sites.  I’m looking forward to surfing with him in Bali.

When I attended the Unconventional Book Tour I got to meet Tammy Strobel and Tyler Tervooren and really like and enjoy what they are doing.

I’ve enjoyed conversing virtually with Matt Bailey, Ryan of Ryan Goes Abroad, Jenny, Mary, Betsy and Warren Talbot and Gillian and so many other wonderful and incredible people whose awesomeness can’t be contained on this page.

Momentous Occasions

We had some great things happen this year.  Our kids got their Indonesian citizenship and passports making our stay in Indonesia much less complicated (at least for them).

We were able to attend Chris Guillebeau’s Unconventional Book Tour and had a great evening.  Plus I got my book signed by Chris.

We traveled to San Clemente, unfortunately for a funeral, but decided to take our mind off our loss by spending a day at Disneyland.  The kids really enjoyed that.

I had my first real paying photography gig shooting promo photos for a new company called OpaCove that sells cool and fun life vests for kids that have a shark fin on the back.

Coming Up in 2011

This will be a very exciting year for us.  For one it’s our year of departure to begin our 1 year sabbatical journey and adventure.  But we still have plenty of other fun things lined up.

First is the World Domination Summit in Portland this June.  It’s a world class “unconvention”, with people from all over the world. I’m really looking forward to meeting in person so many people that I only know from the virtual online world.

We’ll also begin the process of selling off our belongings.  I’m worried that if we don’t begin that process soon we will end up rushing at the end to get rid of stuff which will only add to the stress of uprooting and moving overseas.

It’s getting time to purchase some plane tickets.  We have still not decided whether we will take a side trip to Cambodia before arriving in Indonesia.  I’d really love to be able to swing this and photograph Cambodia as well as spend time with friends there.  We are also trying to work out how to use our frequent flyer miles to help pay for the trip.

I love photography!  I plan on doing much more of it in 2011 and expanding my online business.  It’s been slow going getting it started but that is mainly due to a time constraint and prioritization.  One of the key reasons I want to take this sabbatical is to be able to spend more time working and growing my business and exploring the direction I want to take it.

I’m looking forward to connecting with more people this year and collaborating on more projects.  If you have a project or idea that you think I can help with I’d love to hear from you.  Let’s rock 2011!

Finally I want to wish you all a Happy New Year.  I read this quote the other day that I want to share with you.  It’s attributed to Edith Lovejoy Pierce:

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”

But it’s not just New Years that we open that book.  It’s every single day of our lives.  Every day we get a blank page to write our story.  Let’s work together this next year to make sure that the story we are writing is interesting, exciting, adventurous and above all personally fulfilling.

If you enjoyed this article be sure to sign up for the 1 Year Sabbatical newsletter over in the sidebar, as well as take a look at the RSS Feed.

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Jill - Jack and Jill Travel The World December 31, 2010 at 12:49 am

Congrats on a great 2010 year! Dang, everyone seems to have had a good one. Not that mine was bad… it was just ‘eh’ :p

But that just means that 2011 would be better, right? Cheers to that!


matt January 1, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Hi Jill! Happy New Year 2011 to you. 2011 is going to be great for you guys. I just know it! Cheers!!


ayngelina December 31, 2010 at 10:41 am

What a great 2010 review. I have also found that the greatest benefit of blogging is that you start to realize so many other people have the same dreams you do and it’s really not that hard to make it happen.

Feliz bueno año!
ayngelina recently posted..Yellow panties and effigies for New Year’s Eve


matt January 1, 2011 at 2:01 pm

Hi Ayngelina! I’ve been amazed by how many people have decided to drop everything and travel the world and even more amazed at the number of families that are doing that. Happy New Year and many new adventures in 2011.


Gillian December 31, 2010 at 11:00 am

Wow, what a great introspective post Matt! I love what you said about discovering that “the only difference is the level of fear that each of us is willing to tolerate” and that we need to look within to overcome it – so true. Those people we watch doing great things are no different than us – they’re just doing it that’s all. You and your family are going to have an amazing 2011! I have so enjoyed connecting up with you this last few months and look forward to meeting you in Portland in June!! Cheers!
Gillian recently posted..Leaving India- One Year Ago


matt January 1, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Happy New Year Gillian! Looking forward to meeting you at WDS as well. It’s going to be an amazing year of exploration and adventure. I’m going to do my best to embrace the fear of uncertainty, of the unknown, break through it all and make this an incredible year of personal growth. Wishing you the very best.


Mark Powers December 31, 2010 at 9:54 pm

Excellent, excellent post, Matt! Thanks a ton for the mention. And I can’t wait to see what we both cook up this coming year! Happy Holidays to you, and congrats on launching 1YearSabbatical . . . one of my fave sites!
Mark Powers recently posted..A Year In The Life 2010 Review


matt January 1, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Thanks Mark! Looking forward to connecting more with you this year and sitting with you at the top of Borobudur enjoying the incredible view.


Joel January 1, 2011 at 3:43 pm

It’s been great getting to know you this year too Matt! Looking forward to an awesome 2011!


matt January 1, 2011 at 3:47 pm

Hey Joel! Happy New Year! Looking forward to seeing you at WDS.


Priyank January 2, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Hi Matt!
It was nice to read your accomplishments and goals! Congratulations, I think this is terrific and all the best for the sabbatical!! Its nice that your kids have dual citizenship, that will come handy in future! 🙂
Priyank recently posted..My first ride in the Moscow Metro


matt January 2, 2011 at 11:51 pm

Thanks Priyank! The dual citizenship is a great asset to have and will really make things much easier for long term stay in Indonesia. Now we need to start working on my Visa.


Magda January 4, 2011 at 11:18 pm

All the best in 2011 Matt!
I agree with your point on how people tend to think that what others do is not achievable for them. I used to think exactly the same. I thought I had to be rich to travel. I thought only irresponsible people quit their jobs and travel for a year. But as soon as I started to research this topic and understood I was simply ignorant.
Magda recently posted..Misterious giants of Easter Island


matt January 5, 2011 at 1:48 am

Thanks Magda! All the very best to you too for an incredible 2011. It’s so easy to think we are different from all the other people doing the things we really want to be doing. But the truth is we all have the ability to achieve our dreams.


Financial Samurai January 8, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Hola Matt, I think we’re kind of in the same boat, however I discovered something amazing in 2010…. and that was taking my entire vacation allotted time of 6 weeks off! In the past, I had only taken 4 weeks off, and this time.. that extra 2 weeks made a huge difference.

Now, all I plan to do is take 6 weeks off every year and go on great adventures. Try it!

Financial Samurai recently posted..Financial Samurai 2010 Year In Review


matt January 8, 2011 at 11:24 pm

Hey Sam! I believe that I too get about 6 weeks off a year but I still find that not enough to make a trip overseas financially worth it. When you have to purchase plane tickets for 4 people it adds up pretty quickly. Last time we went to Indonesia was in 2005 and at that time I was able to negotiate 2 months off. I’m not sure I would be able to do that again. I would also imagine that if you really love what you do for work 6 weeks off a year is plenty.


Financial Samurai January 8, 2011 at 11:56 pm

Yup. So perhaps, the key is to find that job that you love to do? After all, nobody quits a job they love right?
Financial Samurai recently posted..A Weight Loss Tip To Die For


matt January 8, 2011 at 11:59 pm

And that may very well be the secret to life right there. What’s the old saying “Do what you love and never work a day in your life.”


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