How To Take A Sabbatical: Stories From Five People Who Took Them

This was a conversation from July 2023 that was a conversation between Michelle Varghoose, Paul Millerd, Tobi Ogunnaike, Cécile M, and Matt Yao – all people with direct experiences taking sabbaticals.


Sabbatical Experiences and Motivations:

  • The participants shared their personal experiences of taking a sabbatical, discussing the challenges and rewards of leaving their jobs and taking time off. They emphasized the importance of creating space in their lives and the freedom they found in taking a break from work.

Mindset Shifts:

  • A significant theme was the shift from a scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset. This change was described as both scary and liberating, as it involved redefining personal definitions of success and abundance.
  • The participants also discussed the emotional journey of a sabbatical, which often led to a deepening of emotions and self-understanding. They highlighted the importance of sitting with and processing these emotions.

Financial Considerations:

  • The conversation touched on the topic of money and how to financially prepare for a sabbatical. The participants shared their strategies and emphasized that everyone’s relationship with money is personal and unique. They also discussed how their relationships with money changed during and after their sabbaticals.

Travel and Environment:

  • Travel was a significant theme, with some participants sharing their experiences of living in different places during their sabbaticals. They discussed how their environments influenced their experiences and how changing their surroundings led to new insights and perspectives.

Transitioning Back to Work:

  • The participants discussed the transition back to work after a sabbatical. They shared their experiences and insights, including how their relationships with work and money had changed as a result of their time off. They also discussed the challenges of explaining their sabbatical experiences to others, particularly in a work context.

Advice and Encouragement:

  • The conversation ended with the participants encouraging others to consider taking a sabbatical. They offered support and advice, emphasizing the value of reaching out to others who have had similar experiences.

Relevant Links


  • ​In this piece (one of my favourite), I share some of the big shifts that happened to me in the first 8 months of my sabbatical. I write about my journey into embodiment and my slow but definite move from a scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset 
  • Dreaming of a Sabbatical – a (free) little guided journey to help you think about whether a sabbatical is the right move for you.
  • On Sabbatical – a really cool (paid) guided journey with insight, structure and resources to help make your sabbatical a transformational experience. 
  • ​ ’On Sabbatical’, the substack where I share stories from the year I spent away from the corporate world including stories about money and about untying my identity from work
  • @cecile_mcm on Twitter





About Paul Millerd

Paul is a writer, creator, and curious human that is passionate about how people can reimagine their relationship with work to do things that matter. He published The Pathless Path in 2022.