The sabbatical wish list

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Why is a sabbatical wish list useful

One of the items that is repeatedly advised in every book or blog about planning a sabbatical is to carefully think about:

  1. What is your main motivation for taking the sabbatical, i.e. why do you want to go on a sabbatical?
  2. What do you want to get from the sabbatical, i.e. what is your wish list?

The answers to these two questions are paramount to plan the sabbatical. Issues like the criteria for where to live, the time to be devoted to the sabbatical or when to start with the preparations depend significantly on the motivation and expectations for the sabbatical.

Furthermore, it is very important to discuss expectations with your partner or anyone else that is coming along on the sabbatical. Throughout the months that we have been preparing the sabbatical we have often been surprised about the different visions we have about how the sabbatical will unfold. To avoid surprises, it is best to make the individual visions explicit as soon as possible and to devote time to discuss them with each other. This could be done through wish lists, but it could also be through drawings (some of ours are plotted at the bottom of this blog).

How to make a sabbatical wish list

Here, different authors recommend to be as broad as possible, that is, include big and small wishes, those that are feasible and those that are not likely to be fulfilled for different reasons (too costly, too lengthy…). So, we sat in different corners of the house and wrote down our wish list.

What we included in the sabbatical wish list

And this is how our wish lists looked like…something to say about our personalities and levels of ambition…(Side note: mine continues beyond number 11….).

Frank wish list










So, what did we discover?

Somethings became immediately apparent (apart from the length of the list…). Fulfilling our respective wish lists requires that we live by the sea (boat, diving, surf) and that we find opportunities to volunteer in something related with wildlife (counting wildlife, wildlife conservation, animal rescue centers). It also requires that we combine volunteer time with free/spare time (learn surf, play guitar, visit all national parks of Costa Rica, spend quality time with each other). And that we live close to a National Park or protected area where we can work as volunteers. 

Furthermore, when presenting and discussing our visions with each other, it also became clear that we prefer to live in a small, not very touristic town. All these visions and wishlists became extremely valuable while thinking about where exactly in Costa Rica we wanted to spend our sabbatical (next blog!).

The flipflop life, drawing Cris, hires

The flipflop life, drawing Cris
(c) Cristina Chaminade

5 thoughts on “The sabbatical wish list

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