Planning for A Sabbatical

The trip feels so long off still but at the same time it seems like time is speeding up. So it is time to start planning out the next few years in order to able to head south with confidence.

So what needs doing?

1. Research and Purchase an Overland Vehicle – Whatever I have at the start of July 2020 will be what I live in for the next 14 months or so. This is the fun part as it is exciting to think about my first new vehicle in well 5 years and my first new car since 2009.

2. Determine what to do with my house – Sell or rent? From an investment perspective then renting it out is the best. That said who wants to be a landlord from 20,000 km away.

3. Learn Spanish – Knowing more than Ola would probably be a good idea. Plus how can I make new friends without that?

4. Paperwork – My paperwork is fairly basic but now I am importing a vehicle into and out of many different countries, not all of which like each other. Taking the Motorbike into Europe was easy because one set of rules governs everyone…. South America will not be the same.

5. What to Take – My kit will take some sorting. The balence is going to be between too much and not enough. Beyond personal gear will be recovery gear for the vehicle (don’t have any at all), electronics (want to blog, photograph and video my entire trip) and finally repair kits for the vehicle and me.

Thats all I can think of at the moment. So the plan at the moment is….:

1. Next summer I plan on heading out to the West Coast of Canada and rent a small motorhome to ensure that this is the right idea for me.

2. Fall of 2018 finalize and purchase the overland vehicle.

3. Summer of 2019 drive the Trans-Labrador Highway as a test of equipment

4. Summer 2020 away we go!

Looking forward to it!


The Plan

So you have 14 months of time away from work, you have saved up so you will be paid for the entire time and you have a job that you will be going back to. What would you do with your time? For quite a few years I didn’t apply for a sabbatical as I didn’t have an answer to that question. I encourage my students to consider gap years, this will be mine.

I am about two and a half years away so plans are beginning to become solid.


My first and most solid plan is that I will be Overlanding. The idea is to head down the length of the Pan American Highway to the end in Ushuaia, Argentina. Once there I plan on seeing if there is a way to get over to Antarctica. My trips recently have at times centered on the idea of remote roads that end in amazing places and this is the next step for checking off some cool locations from the bucket list.

More specifically though a trip that includes the Amazon Rainforest, Atacama Desert, the Andes Mountains and Patagonia and has a turn around point at a sign that says Fin Del Mundo sounds like a fun trip to me. For many years I have been reading stories of other peoples trips and now I want to be there myself.

For the uninitiated Overlanding is self reliant travel to remote places. Usually self reliant means that you have all of the stuff you need to sleep, eat and get out of any issue you may find yourself in as a part of your vehicle. From that point on everyone ‘overlands’ in something different. There are people overlanding on motorbikes, in Jeeps, RV’s and even massive trucks turned into homes on wheels. In all of the research I have done so far the sky is the limit for how people are getting around the world from the most rustic to ultra luxurious.

So thats the plan at its most basic. Now for some serious planning.

The Idea

It’s two and a half years away now and it is starting to feel real. In July of 2020 I will looking at 14 months of travel time as that is the start of my year long sabbatical. So how did I get to this point?

In the winter of 2016 I had been teaching for 13 years. I was also half way through the fifth year of working at a new school which had opened in the fall of 2011. Opening a new school is fun but it is a lot of work. In the first years half the usual numbers of staff are running all of the committees as well as establishing new routines and standards. That would be enough but in those five years we suffered through two different rounds of labour strife, the second of which resulted in my first ever strike.

The end result was that I was feeling overwhelmed. I can remember driving to a day on the picket line and while passing a 18 wheel truck thinking that it was time to get a new job. Driving truck away from the interactions of people seemed perfect. I love teaching but I was close to bailing.

So what to do. I really do like teaching and I had landed at a school with an amazing bunch of people but I needed something different to look forward to. For the first time my summer didn’t seem long enough. I dumped some of the responsibilities that I had taken on at work and tried to just be a teacher and concentrate on myself…. it didn’t seem to be enough.

After some soul searching I applied for a sabbatical at work. The Peel Board has a program where they deduct a percentage of your pay over a few years and pay you during your time off. Application submitted and my sabbatical runs from July 2020 to the end of August 2021.

So, what do I plan for my time off? The short short answer is travel. More on where and how coming soon.

It is going to be amazing.