Why Employers Should Be More Open Minded About Annual Leave.

Annual leave is no longer fit for purpose, but travellers dreaming of a gap year don’t have to quit their jobs to travel the world, they just need a paradigm change, and more importantly, their employers do too.

For those who have dreams of travelling the world the current system of annual leave in many jobs and careers just doesn’t work. The current paradigm of having to beg for time off or have a limited amount of days begrudgingly doled out to them piecemeal is wrong and belongs in a time where workhouses and sweatshops were the norm, which is why the mantra of ‘quit your job and travel the world’ is so popular.

Achieving A Work Life Balance.

But why is a real work life balance so hard to get? Why do people have to choose between a career or travel? Why can’t they have both? Why can’t travel – or a simple work/life balance for that matter – be much more integrated into the work paradigm?

Well I think it can be, and employers would be wise to listen. Conversations like this are the norm for me, but will become far more commonplace as people start to realise their worth and realise what is important.

“I need six months off.” I said, barging into the managers office and realising as I said it I probably should have waited until my boss had finished her mouthful of tea.

“What?” She almost choked on her pretentious earl grey. “Not a chance!”

“Let me rephrase it, I’m taking six months off, I’m just giving you the opportunity to have fair notice and get cover before I go.”

“You can’t have six months off, you don’t even have any annual leave left, you’ve used it all and it’s only May!”

“Erm, I can, I am in fact, and it will be unpaid so it doesn’t fall under annual leave. Consider it a sabbatical if you like. I’ll be back after my trip refreshed and ready to jump back in.”

“But you can’t just leave for six months. It’s not happening!” She was adamant. I could almost see her management trained, closed off mind desperately thinking how she could cover the rota in an already heavily understaffed department.

“Fair enough, here’s my notice letter. Effective immediately.” I shrugged and handed her the envelope I had already prepared just in case.

“You have to give 3 months notice and get triplicate signed permission from head office to give notice of your actual two week contracted notice!”

“Fire me.” I said, knowing full well even if she did I could walk straight into any other nursing job in 6 months, including this one.

Okay, the specific conversation isn’t real, but it is fairly representative of many conversations I have had over the years with various managers. You see, I am a nurse – a charge nurse to be more specific – and whilst I work hard in my career I also spend roughly half of the year travelling around the world.

I need to. I don’t have a choice. My mental health, the rules of the work life balance and the pull of travel demand it.

The Benefits Of A Work Life Balance.

I need to take so much time off to travel to quench the undeniable wanderlust that courses through my veins or carry on with the ‘never stop travelling’ mantra I imposed upon myself during my very first backpacking trip.

Don’t get me wrong, my career is important to me, but it will never be as important as travel. Travelling the world for the better part of my adult life has affected me too deeply, travel has taken root far too deep into my soul.

But apart from that, I need to take so much time off to keep myself sane. Literally. I am a charge nurse with specialisms in both emergency nursing and travel medicine. I work in one of the single most stressful professions there is, am pretty senior in that role, and during the periods I do work I work long, tiring hours in a toxic environment which put a strain on me emotionally, physically and mentally.

My career in nursing has been rewarding, but it has also taken its toll. I need regular breaks. I need time away. Put quite simply, if it weren’t for travelling the world, I wouldn’t be physically or mentally able to do my job, and my job would certainly have even more of a detrimental effect on my health and wellbeing as it does now.

Luckily I get this salve on my soul by travelling for at least half of the year, sometimes in one big chunk, other times broken up into smaller pieces. And I do this whether my managers like it or not.

“As important as my career is to me, I make it work around the life I want to live, not the other way around.”

Working Outside The System And Knowing You Are The One In Charge Of Your Life.

The big problem is, I have to work outside the system and force my paradigm on my career, and my bosses, because it doesn’t gel with the current system of annual leave and ideology of work till you burn out.

The current system of annual leave in the UK just isn’t enough, (even though it is a damn site more than the American system which really screws workers over), but it isn’t just the amount of allocated hours we are allowed, it is the fact that time off is seen as unimportant or even wrong, as if we are the bad guys for thinking working 24/7, 365 days a year is beyond mental.

Ask for any time off and you are seen as the antichrist for daring to put extra strain on your colleagues and being selfish enough to want time for yourself away from work.

This is especially true in careers such as nursing. Considering we give up our weekends, bank holidays, Christmas’ and other major holidays and we sacrifice much of our free time, family and personal time, we still have to put up with the same stale system of limited weeks off every year. Not only that we have to fight with our colleagues who all want time off at the same time, put up with tyrannical tin pot Hitler managers who feel it is their right to split our annual leave up, allocate us time off when it isn’t convenient for us or deny us the time off when we want or need it.

Seriously, why do people put up with this?

So I take my annual leave, then I take unpaid leave or extended sabbaticals on top of that. Most of the time I have asked and gotten it, with the occasional horse trading.  If on the rare occasion I feel the need to travel and my employer won’t ‘let me’ (said as if they have any real choice), I quit, and I do so safe in the knowledge that I have an in demand skill in a profession with a shortage of labour and I can get a job the minute I get back if I choose to.

That’s what happens when people’s need for rest, health and well being, work life balance and a passion for travel butt heads with traditional work place paradigms and ridiculous annual leave entitlements. The employer loses a good employee they have invested time and money in, and the employee? Well, the employee doesn’t care because they are off on a jolly around the world and can easily find another job when they get back! It’s a win lose situation in the employees favour, at least those employees brave enough to take that step.  

You see, nursing isn’t my first career, it isn’t even my first degree, and long before I was a nurse – or anything else for that matter – I was a traveller. A backpacker. I have taken numerous full gap years, snap years, travelled for extended periods with no time limit in mind and even had simple short week long breaks as and when the need took me.

And I have done all of that in between gaining two separate degrees and two separate careers.

I have travelled extensively throughout almost every single thing I have done. And I came to the realisation very early on that I am not a slave chained to a desk, a cubicle or a nurses station. I am the only one who is in charge of my life, not some manager or HR maniac, and certainly not some archaic societal expectation that we have to work hard and play by the rules imposed on us. As important as my career is to me, I make it work around the life I want to live, not the other way around.

But I have had to fight against the grain for that.

There hasn’t been any real change in the annual leave policies – or indeed way of thinking – in the world of employment for decades. Employers still begrudgingly dole out a set number of days off – at their discretion of course – to each employee every year, the same as they have done for decades.  Back when those archaic annual leave norms were invented people still pretty much worked 9 to 5 Monday to Friday. They had evenings off, weekends off and guaranteed time with their loved ones at Christmas and public holidays.

All of that is gone now.

A 24 Hour Society.

The world of work has changed. Now people work flexi time, they work all the time. They work day shifts, night shifts, weekend shifts. We live in a 24/7 society and our work lives reflect that. During my work periods I can do long days, early shifts, late shifts, night shifts and weekends, all in the same week! And forget Christmas and public holidays, they of course don’t exist for me. And I am far from alone in this. Many professions and careers have the same problems. On the other hand of course, some people, some careers – like bank workers – are still lucky enough to have the 9 to 5 arrangement. Great for them. So why don’t we all go and get jobs like that? After all that is the inane, moronic comment thrown at nurses all the time right? We knew what we were getting into, just choose a different career! Sure, let’s all do that. Let’s all go work in a bank and see who is there when you need resuss.

Careers now aren’t standardised. Work lives are not standardised. This is what makes a standardised application of annual leave unfair.

The current annual leave system as it is just doesn’t reflect the way society works now. It doesn’t reflect how many people view themselves or the world around them. People don’t want to spend their whole lives dedicated to clocking in and clocking off from work. They want a work life balance. They want a personal life away from work. They want to follow those dreams of travelling the world without having to quit and dismantle the career and the life they have worked for and built up.

It Is Time For A Change.

The good news is there are some employers who are forward thinking enough to embrace this. Richard Branson – ever the paragon of enlightened employment paradigms – is allowing Virgin staff to take off as much time as they want, and Netflix has a similar ‘no policy’ policy for annual leave, where anyone can get their work done when it suits and take time off when it suits! Doesn’t that sound awesome?

Of course this ‘freedom and responsibility’ movement may not apply in the exact same way for every profession. Careers which can be worked – even partially – online or at home, or jobs where spending time in the office is not in any way indicative of how productive you can be are relatively easy to apply a ‘no policy’ policy. As long as the work is done, who cares if you decide to take time off? Other careers aren’t always as simple, you will always need nurses to staff a 24/7 emergency department and teachers to teach during term time for example, but even if the specifics are slightly different the basic paradigm can be the same.

Work To Live, Not Live To Work.

All employers need to recognise the fact that their employees have and want lives outside of work. They have to respect the fact that people have dreams and aspirations beyond their desk, and many of those dreams involve travel. People who harbour dreams of travelling the world but feel trapped at their desk have the right to be able to explore other sides to their lives. They have a right to explore their aspirations beyond work and follow their dreams. Work is an important part of life, but life isn’t all about work.

Employees should be able to take time off when and if they choose. They should be able to take career breaks or sabbaticals when and if they choose. Life isn’t one long, straight road where you finish school, get a job and stay there until the day you die anymore, no matter how much certain sections of society may want that.

Life has a habit of throwing things at us that we don’t expect and from time to time people need to take that break in their lives, whether it is to deal with a problem or allow themselves time to rest and rejuvenate, or whether it is to follow a long held dream of travel or explore a different side to themselves as they grow and change. These are just a few of the reasons people take gap years, they are just a few of the reasons people pack up and travel the world.

And travel isn’t something that those of us with a burning sense of fernweh – of being homesick for somewhere new – can easily shake off. It is all encompassing. We want to travel,we need to travel, and little things like jobs or careers aren’t going to stop us. If people want to travel they will find a way.

But those who want to take time away from their lives to travel the world should be able to do that without sacrificing everything, because if they can, it will benefit everyone in the long run.

Finding A Middle Ground Will Benefit Everyone.

Allowing employees the flexibility to choose when, where and for how long they take their annual leave for, and allowing them the freedom to decide if they want to take a career break or a sabbatical without having to completely quit, has benefits far beyond simple morale building.

Employers such as Virgin and Netflix can see the endless short and long term benefits to having a workforce who is in control of when they work and when they take time off. They can see that by giving their employees the responsibility of freedom, they are also increasing productivity, creativity and even intangible things such as employee loyalty and happiness.

If true flexibility existed in the workplace then the stresses and strains that come with having to squeeze a life into a hectic work schedule will disappear. They won’t be a problem because they won’t exist. Employees will be more happy in their work and more focused on it when they are there.

You see, when employees are happy, when they are well rested and well motivated, they work harder and smarter than ever before. When they are given freedom, they repay that with loyalty and hard work. It isn’t really rocket science is it?

This would be true of any profession, any job, provided that it actually existed, which it doesn’t at the moment of course.

Speaking for my own profession, nursing has one of the highest burn out rates of any career out there. Nurses are tired, stressed, overworked and many often lack the basic motivation to drag themselves to another shift, never mind have the ability to care for and treat patients to the best of their ability. The job kills you, and I am not being dramatic when I say that. Couple that fact with the basic reality of annual leave policies that do not allow many nurses to take enough time off together to rest, never mind travel and enjoy a work life balance, is it any wonder why so many get burned out?

Although nursing is a pointed example, the same is true for any work environment. No matter what the job is, allowing staff the freedom to choose their own annual leave entitlement – when, where and for how long – will allow them to rest. It will allow them to get a work life balance and enjoy their lives away from the stresses and strains of work. Even for those who choose not to travel, surely that can only ever be a positive thing? I know that without my own time off, without fulfilling my need to travel and replenishing myself, I would not be able to function in my job at all, and I do not exaggerate when I say I doubt I would still be able to do the job now if I didn’t.

There have been a variety of studies that show flexible working and increased time off have shown that when employees do go back to work they will be rested, more alert, less exhausted and more able to give the emotional, physical and mental resources that the job demands. That has huge benefits for the employer too, because it means employees will be more focused, more productive, and get more done than they would have if they had less time off.  A recent report by World to Work showed quite clearly that employers who had offered more flexibility with annual leave and working hours showed a vast decrease in absenteeism and turnover, and a huge increase in productivity and satisfaction.

Seriously, letting employees have more time off for travel benefits everyone!

By employing well travelled backpackers, workplaces can have the benefits of an experienced, well rounded, highly skilled workforce. Even if the experience is unconventional. 

And then for those who want to incorporate travel into their lives without actually quitting everything they have lived and worked for, there are the unquestionable tangible and intangible benefits to travel that would be an absolute asset to any employer.

How A Gap Year Makes You A Better Employee And Boosts Your CV.

World travellers have lived, and sometimes worked, for long periods in a variety of countries and cultures. Their world view, their paradigms and their ethical values are profoundly influenced by their experiences. Travellers are used to a variety of cross cultural idiosyncrasies and barriers and are use to overcoming them which is essential in a modern global workplace, they are often creative and dynamic thinkers who are used to dealing with transitions easily.

Backpackers are often innately skilled in project management and logistical problem solving, having had to organise their own travel logistics for up to a year or even more. Travelling independently requires a degree of motivation, independence, confidence and adaptability. All good qualities in any employee.

But far beyond the intangible benefits, backpackers often bring with them a whole range of specific skill sets that could be extremely beneficial in the workplace, not to mention cost employers a lot of money to train their existing staff in. Languages, communication skills, leadership skills, specific skills gained whilst volunteering abroad, all these and many more make a lot of backpackers CV’s very interesting reads – if they spin them right of course – and certainly makes them highly desirable to any employer who is open minded enough to see it.

And this basic truth can be applied to all professions, careers and jobs. So why the hell would any sane employer not want this? Why would any boss not want to have a workforce that is happy, rested, well travelled and multi skilled? Instead of hiring new employees all the time, why not build a strong, committed and loyal workforce with all these traits and more?

By allowing more freedom to travel, more freedom for employees to choose their own leave entitlements and return better, stronger, more skilled and well rounded than ever before, and rested, rejuvenated and loyal to the company that allow such freedoms to boot, the employers of this world can reap dividends in return.

It is long past time the traditional annual leave policies were scrapped. It is time employers had the iron grip they have over employees time off taken away from them. It is time employees were allowed to decide for themselves when and for how long they need to have time off from work, and it is more than time for those who dream of travel to follow those dreams without having to quit their jobs or their lives.

Employers have the chance of getting rid of archaic annual leave policies and developing a system that encourages the benefits of time off and travel. I think it is high time they take it. What about you?

Did you enjoy this article? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below or on my Facebook or Twitter pages and please feel free to share it with any or all of the social media buttons. If you want to get more great backpacking tips, advice and inspiration, please subscribe to updates via email in the box to your right.

10 Realities Of Quitting Your Job To Travel The World.

A Gap Year Is For Life Not Just When You Graduate.

Excuse Buster Series Part 7: Taking Time Out To Travel Will Ruin My Career!

How Backpacking And Volunteering Can Help Your Career.

How To Include A Gap Year Or World Travel On Your CV.

Revitalising My Health And Wellbeing In Tirol, Austria.

Study, Work, Career And Gap Years, The Middle Way.


Michael Huxley is a published author, professional adventurer and founder of the travel website, Bemused Backpacker. He has spent the last twenty years travelling to over 100 countries on almost every continent, slowly building Bemused Backpacker into a successful business after leaving a former career in emergency nursing and travel medicine, and continues to travel the world on numerous adventures every year.

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26 comments on “Why Employers Should Be More Open Minded About Annual Leave.
  1. thegrownupgapyear says:

    I strongly believe in the benefits to both the employer and the employee of sabbaticals. Speaking from personal experience, I found that I was much more energised and excited to go back to the workplace after taking a break to travel. I’ve been interested to read about companies which are no longer setting out their annual leave policies. In principal I think it is a good idea, but I do hope that it doesn’t lead to people taking less holiday, because others around them don’t take time off….

    • Totally agree with you on the benefits to both parties. I don’t think it will lead to less holiday time though, I mean if anything people are already in that state now, where many refuse to even use up the pitiful annual leave they had. I think a policy change is absolutely needed, but alongside it a paradigm change is also needed, where people view living life as important as they view work, if not more so. Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  2. WorldTravelerHD says:

    What perfect timing of this post! I am in the process right now of working with my employer for a sabbatical. I live/work in USA and as you mentioned…mental! I even work for an extremely flexible software company in a work-from-home position. We’ll see what happens this week as I am supposedly hearing back from HR and my Manager. When I asked I said “if Leave of Absense to the company means 6 weeks we may have to go our separate ways, but if it means 6 months we can start talking/negotiating from there.” Funny enough no one has ever asked before so they don’t even have an answer for me yet! Fingers crossed! Either way my RTW Honeymoon with my Husband starts in September 🙂

    • Haha, ‘either way you are going…’ that is the best way to see it and exactly what I would do! Congrats on your wedding and I hope you have an amazing time on your RTW honeymoon, come back and let us know how it went!

  3. Duke Stewart says:


    You’re totally right about so many things here but above all, that our current work situation is out of date and needs to change. I see that in full effect here in Korea and though it’s a bit behind the U.S., I see people on a daily basis sitting at their job with nothing to do but unable to leave because the current work paradigm says so.

    My mother is lucky to have a Work from Home situation in the U.S. but is part of the minority, honestly. Most people still have to report to jobs that offer little or no benefits and almost nonexistent vacation days. Hopefully the digital nomads like yourself can pave the way for a brighter future in our workplaces and help liberate the world from that too common, cubicle-driven lifestyle.

    Thanks for sharing this. It was truly worth the read. Take care Michael.

  4. Nancie says:

    When I first started working my employer rewarded employees who took holidays in the winter. I think I received an extra week. That brought me up to a month, which was nice, but now enough. Then I got into sales, and traveled for business all the time. Vacation in sales is kind of dirty word when you expected to meet a quota. Then when I finally realized that loyalty is all one sided I left a good job in corporate Canada and headed to Asia for a year. I ended up earning a second degree, so that I could teach at the university level. Now I teach 2 fifteen week terms and the rest of the time I travel or whatever. Definitely works for me. If you think vacations are bad in NA and the UK, try Korea. Most Korean workers are not permitted to take off more than 3 days in a row!! If they want to take longer, they have to apply!

    • That’s awful! It plays into that mentality that we have to work longer, harder, with no breaks, as if that is a good thing! You said it yourself perfectly, that loyalty is always one sided. We never see the benefit from it so it’s time we took a new path. One that allows us to have a work life balance.

  5. John Williams says:

    Jost Krippendorf’s book “The Holiday Makers” discusses the work life life balance in detail. It is probably the most influential book in the Responsible Travel movement. Written in 1987, it describes the culture of the industrial society where the vast majority of workers work longer and longer hours in jobs that they tolerate only for the income they deliver, while dreaming of the weekend and their next vacation. Nearly 30 years on matters have not improved, far from it, they have further deteriorated.
    He proposes many solutions which have been taken up by the Responsible Travel movement, but his main thrust was changing the nature of work to make it more flexible as you suggest.
    In 2003 I tried to get a sabbatical when going through a painful divorce and was refused. When I discussed it with my counsellor she told me “They won’t give you a sabbatical as most people who take them never go back”. The company I worked for was sold off in 2007. In 2008 I went on a 6 month sabbatical, and never went back.
    Some of the quotes Krippendorf starts each section of the book with are illuminating:

    “Let us imagine that the enormous sums of money spent every year on travelling for pleasure were used for the embellishment of our cities and landscapes, the improvement of our workplaces, the search for a harmonious life! Let us imagine that the charm and beauty of holidays could trickle into everyday life! Then all the problems of tiredness and the need for recuperation would be solved by what I propose to call the ‘solution of the heart’. No more holidays – or if you like – endless holidays. True life, genuine happiness….
    Michael Tournier”
    Companies like Virgin and Netflix take this approach by firstly making working at the companies enjoyable and fulfilling. Only after achieving success with this first step can they offer their unrestricted annual leave policies.

    • Wow, thanks for the great reply John. I’ve never read the book but will definitely check it out!

      I completely agree with both of you. I’m a nurse so believe me when I say I know how badly a poor, stressful and draining working environment can slowly poison your soul. I – as an employee – shouldn’t have to take matters into my own hands and stick a middle finger up to the system just to look after myself and regain some work life balance. You’d think if anyone understood that it would be the healthcare profession! If paradigms were changed to allow for a wholesome, holistic work envioronment with free choice on work/life balance within reasonable confines of the needs of the job, just imagine how much better things would be for every profession and job!

      Maybe we should all go and work for Richard Branson! ;D

  6. anerdatlarge says:

    I agree with many of your points. I thought it bizarre that a former employer found it a more acceptable option to let me to resign than to take 5 weeks off for an expedition to Easter Island. They were concerned that my role being dormant for 5 weeks was two long of a stretch and could hurt the business. The position ended up being vacant for 10 weeks while they recruited someone to replace me. Wouldn’t they have been farther ahead to allow me to take those 7 extra days of unpaid leave?

    • Completely agree, and I’ve been in the exact same position myself! I’ve known previous employers to be still desperately looking for senior nursing staff when I returned from my time off. Then there’s the extra cost involved in hiring someone new as well as the time wasted by them. It’s ridiculous. Just use a bit of common sense and everyones happy!

  7. betsywuebker says:

    It’s been my experience in just under five full decades of working life that whenever there is a “human resources” issue, the “human” part is generally subverted. As long as work remains location dependent (and obviously there are many roles that require one to go someplace to perform work for pay), there will be staffing issues. We’ve long preached that work-life balance is impossible, as you’re constantly taking from one or the other. We’ve been successful at work-life integration, but we had to design our own business with multiple income streams in order to provide independence and revenue interruption safeguards. Not everyone can do that, but employees can choose to reject draconian policies which keep them indentured under archaic expectations.

    • You’re definitely right Betsy, the human part always does get subverted, ironic really given that the whole premise of human resources is to look after the human. But I don’t agree that a work/life balance is impossible, in fact I would argue that it is becoming increasingly necessary, as employees ARE starting to reject those draconian policies and are just walking away (take myself in this post as an example), even those in location dependent jobs (you can’t get much more location dependent than nursing!) And that leaves the businesses in a much worse state. We are in the minority at the moment I agree, but our numbers are growing. Those old, draconian annual leave and work life policies are not fit for purpose anymore.

  8. whileimyoungandskinny says:

    Couldn’t agree more. Reading this made me feel so much better about my views in a world of rigid restrictions. Did you know there have been recent conversations in the uk media about how the 9-5 model was brought in in the early 1800s to ensure workers weren’t forced to work all day and night? It’s clearly outdated and we have so many more efficient ways of doing things now that it just isn’t necessary.

    I recently told my employer that I would be taking extra, unsanctioned time off to travel this year and though he was good about it, I still felt cheeky.

    Branson’s idea is progressive in theory, but could mean employees actually take less time off out of fear. I think we have a long way to go until we find a solution that suits everyone

    • I didn’t know about the recent conversations, no, but I did know that fact about the model. Our whole working paradigm in this country is vastly out of date, on both sides. There has been some evidence of that being the case, where employees have actually taken less time off in these circumstances, that is why I think a change is needed on both sides. We need to arrive at a situation where the employer is mindful of work/life balance during working life, and flexible enough to provide annual leave (and more) as the employee needs it, and the employee needs to change their mindset that work isn’t everything and it really is okay to take time off too! Work would be a much better, and much more productive place then.

  9. 2aussietravellers says:

    I’ve worked for or known a couple of companies over the years that have standard provisions for sabbaticals in New Zealand and Australia but it’s definitely the exception not the rule. It would obviously depend on the role and the company how practical it is but I can see it being an attractive option for both employee and employer in some circumstances. Unfortunately in the current employment market it’s way less likely an employer will guarantee you a position when you return although most are happy to take you back if they have a position.

    • Definitely agree they are the vast exception. That’s exactly my point though, it is nice if you do have a guaranteed position to come back to, but you don’t need one. Jobs are not that difficult to come by regardless of what anyone says.

  10. Jen Seligmann says:

    Completely agree especially when it comes to larger organisations who are quite easily in a position to allow additional time off. However I can understand the position of small business on not allow long leave periods because it can potentially be damaging to their business and all the hard work they have put in. I’m all for a good work life balance and always make sure it is clear when starting a new role that travel is one of my priorities and that I intend to take every single second of my leave (if not more) each year. Thinking about my next trip is what gets me through those tough days at work. If businesses around the world had a more reasonable and flexible approach to annual leave, and maybe even encouraged it, the world would be that little bit happy I think,

    • I see your point Jen, but it works even for small businesses. Their alternative is to just have staff leave, which means they lose all the hard work they put in anyway. It is much better to create an atmosphere of give and take, where staff feel looked after and will give back in return. I totally agree that businesses everywhere need to be more reasonable and flexible.

  11. Claudia says:

    I have talked to many of my closest friends about their annual leave. Most of them don’t travel as much as they’d like because they can’t take an extra day off at work. They may have 33 vacation days as per contract, and end up using no more than 12 each year because they feel they can’t leave work. It’s as if the whole company would collapse unless they are there. Another side of the coin, I suppose? I just don’t get it. I love travelling so much that I would take each and every day I am owed – having a break is too important to be able to work efficiently!

    • I know what you mean Claudia, I know many people like this myself, especially in Nursing, I call it the martyr syndrome. It’s like banging a head against a brick wall to convince them otherwise.

  12. Anna WouldBeTraveller says:

    Amen to all of the above! I’ve been struggling for years with 23 days leave (I know this is probably a lot compared to some) but I’m two bad days away from packing it all in and buying a plane ticket.
    Good on you for making it work for you. You’re an inspiration!

    • Aw thank you Anna! We’ve all had that ‘fed up and pack it in’ feeling, trust me! But I’m sure you can find a way of making it work for you, just remember you are in charge of your own life, you aren’t a prisoner at your desk!

  13. Jules says:

    So agree with you on this! Work life balance is so important.

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Hi, I'm Michael! I'm a former nurse turned published author and world travelling professional adventurer! I have spent over twenty years travelling over 100 countries and I want to inspire you to do the same! Want to know more about me? Just click here!

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