According to Merriam-Webster, Sabbatical is defined as “a period of time during which someone does not work at his or her regular job and is able to rest, travel, do research, etc.” and “a break or change from a normal routine.”
Prior to this trip I was working in an environment that revolved around routine – Special Education. For someone whose utter lack of planning and aversion to predictability had become part of their identity, this was certainly an unpredictable job to land oneself in. It was a job that shook me on so many levels – frustrations with the broken education system, the many ways trauma manifests and escalations are triggered; the list goes on. Prior to this trip I broke before I could take a break; I had a panic attack in the classroom and went home on a mental health day.
Fortunately, I was then able to rest. Once we got to our first farm stay I sunk into a new routine, one of gentle structure and modest expectations. There and at a later farm stay I was able to catch up on sleep and breathe life back into myself through all the hobbies that soothe me – writing, yoga, and drinking ample amounts of tea, to name a few.
Miles traveled reached almost 6,000 once we cut the engine on the Jeep one last time. Its tires traversed vast terrains and our feet let us explore even further. Mountains, oceans, rainforests, and lakes reminded us to be humble and mindful of our respective capacities. I wonder how many of us are in a constant state of over-capacity. I know the ocean never is.
Doing research was not on my agenda for the sabbatical, but in retrospect I did do a bit of studying. Like a true lover of people watching, I studied my hosts – in particular two women from two different farms. Admittedly a little creepy, but from a place of genuine curiosity and admiration, I watched the way they moved through the world and the ways in which they contributed to it. From each their own set of qualities and quirks, I learned about appreciating ones heritage, living ones values, nurturing ones body and mind with recipes that cater to the individual, and remaining authentic in climates of uniformity.
With the Canada Sabbatical complete, I can confidently say: fuck the system, pack some bags, quit the job, and go take a break from normal routine – it’s worth it.
Of course, if you need your job quitting might not be a smart move. I don’t have all the answers (barely any) but I do recommend WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms), and I highly recommend finding ways to carve out time for rest, travel, and research.
Florencia Bay, Vancouver Island, BC
Yoho National Park, BC
Gimli Peak, Selkirks, BC
Gimli Peak, Selkirks, BC
Wild Saskatoon Berries: Organic Farm in Slocan Valley, BC
Kale: Organic Farm in Slocan Valley, BC
Organic Farm in Slocan Valley, BC
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming