Enjoying a great day at Loro Parque — one of many adventures over this past year.

What a One-Year Sabbatical Can Do for a Family

A person sure can learn a lot in a year!

As I’m looking at the calendar, I have mixed emotions as I realize that my year-long sabbatical from banking is about to come to an end. At once I am:

  • amazed at the things that I’ve been able to accomplish,
  • critical of myself in that I was not able to accomplish more on a self-employed-professional level,
  • wistful about the memories I’ve made with my wife, Nicole, and our daughters,
  • nervous about re-entering the workforce,

And most of all, I am:

  • grateful that God has allowed us to create a life that was able to accommodate a year off of work, and a world that was open for our exploration.

It has been a year

The calendar tells me that we’ve reached the anniversary of the day I told my Chief Banking Officer that the position I’d held for the last three years just wasn’t a good fit for me and that I would be leaving the bank, and possibly leaving banking for good.

But, if I’m being honest, that is not the day this story began.

No, leaving the bank was just one part of this lifestyle that has taken Nicole and me most of our married life to build. I can’t remember when we made the change, but I know we had been living this lifestyle since at least 2003.

You can find out more about that period of our lives in this piece:

Had we not been disciplined with our spending, and committed to living debt free and beneath our means, we never would have been able to step out into the unknown world of self-employment/entrepreneurship.

As it was, our financial house was in order, so we could try something new.

Something new

It turns out, that something new was the Medium publication Publishous, and its sister website PublishousNOW.com.

Side note: If you’re interested in writing for either, please read through our guidelines and fill out the form here:

Publishous was an idea that came to Nicole as she was in the shower one morning, and, as it happened, we had a lot of time together to work on the specifics. Nicole was connected to a great group of writers and had been active on Medium for quite a while. I had the technical expertise to build out the WordPress website that helps our writers get a larger audience outside of Medium.

This was a great opportunity for Nicole and me to work together on a different kind of project. We’ve been together for more than 20 years, and we’ve worked on all kinds of things together — from home-improvement projects to parenting — but we’ve never “worked” together.

As of our last newsletter, Publishous had over 3,000 subscribers on Medium and PublishousNOW.com gets over 1.5 million hits per month. In my opinion, this has been quite an accomplishment.

I’m proud to be a part of this.

At the same time, I had hoped that I would have been able to establish myself more as an entrepreneur and/or consultant. But, I’ve spent most of my life working on my professional self: university, reading copious books, training classes, professional schools, graduate school, etc.

So, it was time I spent effort on things that really mattered.

For the last year, I’ve been able to learn things that no school or book can teach. Indeed, my teachers are far younger and far less experienced than any university professor or famous author.

In fact, one of them can scarcely write at all.

For example, I had no idea that having both your mother and father in the car picking you up from school was a special treat.

My daughters taught me that one.

They’ve also taught me many things on our time together on the way to school in the morning. My little one loves to listen to Iron Maiden in the morning, for example.

So many precious things have I learned.

Things that only time together can teach.

Growth and Gratitude

And we have spent much time together. Not all of it has been easy. Much of our time together has been quite uncomfortable — but growth can often be uncomfortable.

The first few weeks were especially uncomfortable as I learned what daily life was like around the house (i.e. the things that happened while I was at the office). I’ve grown to like having time with my family.

Then, there was the month we spent walking hundreds of kilometers across Spain on the Camino de Santiago. We were sore. We were exhausted. We were often cranky and upset with each other. We also learned much about ourselves and each other.

We made so many memories this past summer. Memories that we could only make because we were location-independent. These are memories that I — that we — will have for the rest of our lives. They are fond memories indeed.

I am grateful to God for allowing all of these memories to be made. I am grateful for this life He has allowed me to build. I am grateful for the wonderful people He has brought into my life. I am grateful He has allowed me to be born in a country where I can come and go freely and where I can freely travel the world.

A different man

I would be lying if I said that the prospect of going back into the workforce didn’t make me a little nervous. Just a little.

While I am well prepared, I’m also a different man than I was a year ago.

In case you missed the background to this story, you’ll find it here: