Want More Than A One Week Vacation?
*DISCLAIMER - The information provided in this post is not legal advice. It only serves one purpose, to inform and provide you with information regarding my own personal experience*
Confrontation is never easy. My whole life I have been horrible at it. I once tried to quit a job 4 different times. When I finally did it, they convinced me to stay.
This all stems from my constant desire to want to please everyone around me… everyone.
When I had the opportunity to go to live in Spain to do the Language Exchange (please message me if you would like more information on this program), my options were very slim.
I wanted to take this opportunity more than anything… but… equally as bad, I was not prepared to leave my job knowing I may not get a chance to return.
I'm sure many of you have been there before. Being in the horrible decision of work and travel. Countless, sleepless nights trying to decide what is best for you and what move is the "right move."
Well truth be told, you are the only one who can indeed make that decision. You have to stick with your gut feeling and just go all in.
After many weeks of consideration, I decided to do something I didn't even think about at the start. I decided to ask my bosses for a 5-month leave of absence so I could go to Spain.
As one can imagine, it is not an easy task writing a letter asking for five months off to travel. Usually leave of absences are granted for sickness, pregnancy, or the death of a family member.
Many times I changed my mind about it. I would convince myself that I am absolutely crazy for even thinking they would say yes. But that little travel devil on my other shoulder kept reminding me that I had nothing to lose. If they say no, then they say no.
So, I sat down and thoughtfully wrote the following letter. Of course, there are many different angles you can take with it, but here is a simple guideline of the letter I wrote.
Dear (to whom it may concern)
I would like to inform you that I have accepted to do a 4-month language exchange program abroad in Spain (make it specific and detailed, if possible).
After 2 weeks of careful consideration (include a time frame), I have decided to accept this opportunity. This was not an easy decision for me as I love my job here at (insert your job place), and love the team I work with. I have decided that this opportunity is a once in a lifetime offer and if I don't accept it, I may never get another opportunity like it.
I would like to request a 5-month leave of absence to pursue this opportunity. If possible, I would like the leave to begin on (insert date here), with a return date of (insert return date).
I understand this is an extensive request and can accept that this may not be possible. If a leave of absence is possible, I would be very honoured to return to my position in the New Year. If not, I understand if another individual will be required to fill my position permanently. In both cases, I am more than happy and available to help find an adequate replacement.
Thank you very much for your time and consideration.
Please feel free to ask me any further questions you may have.
(Your name here)
NOW, like I mentioned above. Don't read this blog post and think "OH, Elaina used this letter to get a leave of absence for travel and it worked, so I shall copy it and it should work for me."
To be completely honest with you, the MAIN drive for writing this blog post is because when I was considering asking for a leave of absence and trying to write a letter, I could find absolutely nothing online about it.
Of course, there are many generic templates for asking for a leave of absence due to unforeseen circumstances, but NONE of them regard a leave of absence for the purpose of travel.
This is the drive behind Redhead Round The World.
To put all the valuable information I have learnt out there available here for others. As when I was searching desperately for it, I could not find anything.
If you are thinking about asking for a leave of absence from work for travel, my advice is DO IT!
The worst thing that can happen is they say no and decline it. Then the situation becomes a little complicated because you will literally be in a position where you have to choose between your job and travel.
But of course, I would pick travel.
Think about it. In the case you are granted time off to pursue a BEAUTIFUL travel adventure that will change your outlook on life and help you to perceive life around you more positively, you will come back performing much much better at work. And you will also feel very appreciative, fortunate, and grateful to go back to the job you loved.
I am sure when an employee comes to you asking for a leave of absence for travel you are not instantly thinking about the possible benefits. I recognize that it can be undesirable to find a temporary replacement, but- if you’re willing to help, if it strengthens your relationship and helps you live your life how you want to, what's wrong with that?
I am not pulling all of this out of my ass, I have come across research that proves this.
Here is an excellent Harvard Business Review - Are We More Productive When We Have More Time Off?
In this article, the researchers compared 20 different countries. They examined how many days of paid vacation are given to employees. Australia ranked very high being granted 18 more paid vacation days a year in comparison to the United States. That's a little messed up, don’t you think?
Vacation is healthy and completely necessary. You should never have to apologize or explain yourself to anyone regarding your urge to travel.
Travel is incredibly transformative. When you visit a new country or a new place, no matter how many times you've been there, it has always changed in some way shape or form. Every time we go out and travel, it changes us in many significant ways.
I sincerely hope this blog post can be helpful to anyone out there seeking advice regarding this topic.
If you do move forward and take the risk to ask for a leave of absence for travel, PLEASE let me know how it goes! I would love any feedback and comments.