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Coming Home After a 3 Month Sabbatical

Coming Home After a 3 Month Sabbatical

by Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical on February 21, 2013

Glass Bottom Boat Tour Bali Indonesia

We have been back “home” now for a little over 2 weeks.  The return flights were good and on one leg we even had a free upgrade into business class.  Score!!

This leg of the sabbatical has come to an end and the transition to the next leg has begun.

Leaving Indonesia was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do.  It was actually not only mentally painful but physically as well.

After 3 months filled with incredible experiences, delicious food, beautiful people, culture and tropical weather and then topped off with 2 weeks on the beach in Bali it was very difficult to give that up and return to a routine we had already grown disenchanted with.

The last time we had been in Indonesia was in 2005 and we had spent 2 months there.  The time went by quickly and we never really felt like we connected with the community.  This time it was different.

This time we made lots of connections, we created a lifestyle we thoroughly enjoyed and one that we didn’t want to end.  What a difference 1 month can make in your mindset.


It’s been a tough transition since returning.  For one we had quite the battle with jet lag.  We were up all night and slept all day.  We’re now mostly back into a more normal sleep schedule but for 2 weeks there is was very difficult.

We have sticker shock at the markets.  While in Indonesia we were able to buy all the tropical fruit right on the street for pennies on the dollar.  Many of the fruits we enjoyed are not even available here.

We frequented traditional markets where you can negotiate the prices.  Apparently Safeway is not into price negotiation; instead you can get a club card.

I’m constantly comparing pricing on everything to what it would be in rupiah and lamenting about how I could buy a kilo of mango for what 1 cost here.  Of course while in Indonesia I compared prices with dollars with the big difference I was much happier with the price in rupiah.

It’s been reverse culture shock.  I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve wanted to drive on the left side of the road.

Back to Work

I returned to the cubicle after being away for 3 months.  As you know it was a rough journey out of the cubicle that led into this sabbatical.  But we persevered and made it happen.

I am not the same person I was when I left the cube and I’m worried that over time I will slip back into complacency rather than pursuing my dreams.  We don’t want that.  We need to strike while the iron is hot; while the sweet memories of this sabbatical are still fresh in our minds.

Next Steps

So you might be wondering, now that the sabbatical is over, what are the next steps?  What is the future of 1 Year Sabbatical?

I don’t know where this journey will lead.  We have some new plans but I’m not ready to divulge them publicly just yet.  Rest assured however that they are much bigger and more inspiring than a 3 month sabbatical.

In the meantime, as our journey continues to evolve I will be posting more stories and images from our sabbatical.  These are stories I wanted to post while in Indonesia but they had to wait because we knew that making experiences had to take priority over updating this blog.

So if you’ve been craving more from this site we will be filling your plate with much more.  I have 42 posts sitting in my drafts folder right now with stories about flying foxes, crazy food and even getting robbed!  So be prepared to laugh, cry, snort and maybe even soil your undies.

Dream, Save, Do

Dream, Save, Do is the book by my friends Betsy and Warren Talbot that we used when planning our sabbatical.

I’ve written about it before but I want to mention it again because it’s an incredibly useful tool when planning your own dreams AND it’s been updated and released in its second edition on Amazon.

So if you want a guide that will help you create a personal action plan for making your own dreams a reality then go buy yourself a copy today.  It’s a small investment on what could be the changing point in your life.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Gillian @OneGiantStep February 21, 2013 at 9:33 pm

Welcome home Matt. I know the feeling all too well; don’t worry about losing the momentum – you guys are committed and inspired so you’ll make a next step happen, I know it! Keep your memories close, share your stories over and over again at dinner with the kids, remind yourselves of the goal. It’s just one more step.
Gillian @OneGiantStep recently posted..A Day At Huay Tueng Tao Lake, Chiang Mai


Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical February 21, 2013 at 9:47 pm

Thanks Gillian! I was just watching a Google Hangout last night with Warren & Betsy Talbot of Married with Luggage where they talked about the Art of Ask. They mentioned that you really need to tell everyone about your dream because you never know when that person may be the key to making it happen. I think that too is key to keeping the momentum going and keeping the goal in the forefront of our minds.


Betsy Talbot February 22, 2013 at 12:29 am

Matt, welcome back…I think. 🙂 This has been a life-changing experience for you, and I can tell the difference just by the relaxed look on your faces in the photo. I wish you much success on your continuing journey…wherever it leads. We’ll be staying tuned to hear your new plans.

You did it! (Which means you can do just about anything now, and isn’t that a GREAT feeling?)
Betsy Talbot recently posted..5 Practical Steps to Asking for What You Want


Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical February 22, 2013 at 10:33 am

Thanks so much Betsy! And YES! WE did it!!! It’s funny, after arriving back home I got a fortune cookie that said; “You are able to do what others say you can’t do.” The cookie sure nailed that one right!

You and Warren have been such inspiration for our own journey. We have certainly learned and grown so much over the past 3 months and our outlook and perspective of the future has certainly changed. It’s amazing the things that happen and the new direction your life takes when you just let go and start living your dreams.


Tony February 27, 2013 at 11:29 am

Good to see you back in one piece!

I can really relate to the reverse culture shock. When I returned to the UK after living in Thailand I was walking around in a daze for several weeks after. The insights and breakthroughs and internal changes from those days (I’m talking 2003) are still with me to this day. It changed my life. This kind of experience can’t be lightly shrugged off. More recently I was in the Philippines with Ana and coming back was very, very hard. The difference in lifestyle is very hard to explain – I’ve tried a few times on my blog and through speaking with people, but I can’t get across how different the lifestyle is between South East Asia and the West. I guess it’s like the Matrix – no one can tell you what the Matrix is – you just have to see it for yourself.

But you are now in a difficult situation aren’t you – you’ve had a bite of the forbidden fruit – and now you’ve got a taste for it. And I’m not talking about the Durian! You’ve tasted the life beyond the cube – and isn’t it sweet?! 😉

Very excited about what the future may bring for you. I’m staying tuned to see what develops.

Good luck!
Tony recently posted..The joy of lunchtime walking


Matt | 1 Year Sabbatical February 27, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Hey Tony! It’s been a tough adjustment being back. We are all definitely changed; I mean how can you not be changed after an experience like this?

I know what you mean about the difference in lifestyle. It’s very hard to explain to someone who hasn’t been there and experienced it themselves. It’s just a different pace of life with different motivations and priorities. For me it’s more in line with how I want to live my life. I’m definitely more comfortable, happy and healthy while there. I’m sure it’s different for everyone.

LOL!! Yes, the forbidden fruit has been tasted and it was incredible. It’s definitely given us pause for thought on how we really want our life to be and to really consider what. There will be some exciting times coming up I can guarantee that. The last thing we want to do is slip back into complacency which is so incredibly easy to do. Good things to come!


Marc Baillon March 12, 2014 at 2:32 pm

Hi Matt,
I just found your site. Congratulations on taking the leap into a mini-retirement. My family and I spent 11 months in Europe in 2010-11. Hardly a week goes by that we don’t talk about it. We are currently planning our next adventure in New Zealand. I hope that you have transitioned well back to life at home…I found it difficult. As you say, good things to Come!
All the best, Marco
Marc Baillon recently posted..Our trip – by the numbers


admin April 5, 2014 at 6:22 pm

Hi Marc! Sorry for the delayed approval and reply. I think about our journey all the time. It’s been a tough transition back for me. The kids are back in the swing of things but I got a taste of what I would like my life to be like. I tried to adjust by buying a motorcycle and plan to take a few road trips this summer. But ultimately I would like to travel Internationally again soon.

I like your ‘Trip by the numbers’ post. Fifteen jars of Nutella!?! New Zealand will be awesome!



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