The “Girl from Gondar” graces the cover of my September 2021 limited release coffee table book, “LEFT EYE RIGHT FINGER®: Journey East Africa”. Of the 45,000 photos, she is inexplicably the ne plus ultra to feature in my latest self published keepsake series, highlighting the 80 day photo exhibition in East Africa. I was fortunate to meet her while on sabbatical in the northern highlands of Ethiopia. Because of the ongoing ethnic conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia’s Tigray and Amharic communities, I was forewarned of the dangers venturing in the Great Rift Valley as I could be mistaken for a local and possibly shot, arrested or even killed. Well, that was all the ammunition needed to pack my Nikon D750 camera, a plethora of modulating and fixed lens and I was off to the races for another adventure! Click here to place your advanced order!
Beyond the excitement and intensity of making the two day trek in search of the Seimen mountain Gelada baboons, austere mountain churches with devout Orthodox priests and the historical palace of King Fasiledes, I was locked and loaded with my hired armed body guard and a four wheel drive off road vehicle. I wanted the cache of experiences and allure that a walk about provides to wanderlust seeking unicorns. The peripatetic explorer seldom listens to the fear glazed innuendo of the uneducated couch potato who mentors with buttered popcorn or a 20 foot garden hose while watering a bed of roses. Sabbaticals are a rite of passage that breaks the stoic senses free of a wealthy deposits of stored employed leave. It reminds me of the tethered CEO who has millions in the bank but doesn’t know his children’s birthday or is suffering from blue light dementia from late night worrying that his stock is going to fall before the sun rises.
More than anything, the spicy scents of fresh chill peppers in the Lalibela open air market is enough to make you sneeze more than once
Below, I have provided four poignant melodic points to unchain you from the luxurious Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams suede love seat and move into the right seat of a single engine Caravan bush plane with eight seats where you are next to the pilot (I did that once and found out that his instrument panel was broken so he flew through the clouds in visual rules and landed safely in Zanzibar!) Whether you are a millionaire, due to complete and utter brilliance, a divorced mother of three turning aged 59 and wondering if you can travel alone safely or an aspiring artists that would like to saddle ride the wildly painted Ankus elephants nestled in the palatial castles during the annual festivals in Jaipur Rajasthan, I can assure you, that you can and should consider taking a sabbatical. Consider these quips of wisdom:
NUMBER 1: DREAM IN REALITY FIRST:
Your dreams only become a reality when both eyes are open at the same time and your feet are in a concentric straight line heading toward your goals. Obviously, I am suggesting that you get out of the stoic twilight zone of fear. We owe this suppression to our internal ego and superegos or voices of doubt. Trust me, do not listen to the nonsense of the Bloody Mary mirror tricks of your youth. Decide that you can travel on your own and be welcomed by fellow travelers on their way to a like minded destination. You only can meet kindred spirits on the purpose driven highway of momentum. To ensure success, seek out a professional sabbatical planner or world travel expert that can guide you to make your reality come to fruition. What about the money? I’ll trade experiences over money on any given day.
NUMBER 2: YOUR PURPOSE IS NOT TO DESIGN A WILL AND TESTAMENT FOR PROBATE LAWYERS:
Money will never squeeze through the envelop of heaven’s gate. Somewhere in the bible it suggest that it is harder to fit a Ph.D and your bitcoin portfolio through the eye of a needle and the pearly gates. That would be likewise true of your contemporary furniture, pink pearls and red bottom shoes tucked away in your walk in closet. How about walking barefoot on the dusty streets of Panama’s Boca del Toro much like Jimmy Buffet use to do? It is the best way to get invited to join a local fish fry and margaritas. So forget about the monthly transaction fees of your business account for once and go find a nice pine bench and a shot of rum and a Cohiba cigar to share with someone new. You just might enjoy the sounds of rare red frogs dancing in some far off Lilly pad while mosquitos dance through the evening candle light. If you are in either Abyssinian capital cities of Addis Ababa or Asmara, substitute the shot of rum for Buna (local Sidamo coffee) and you are certainly welcomed as family! But keep your eyes on the road at all times.
NUMBER 3: DRIVE A TUK TUK WITH BOTH HANDS ON THE STEERING WHEEL:
After you decide that it is okay, to rent a tuk tuk in New Dehli for six months, just be mindful of the baboons that will be more than happy to take your camera or anything else that is not nailed down. How about working in a local kitchen or spend time assisting a Non Governmental Organization sponsored orphanage that is in need of your professional skills and talents. Yes, that’s right, your sabbatical can be fruitful and purposeful as your million dollar e-commerce website. That is ideally what is at stake following your dreams; not the academic or strategic planning documents that we develop for the government, but the hopes and dreams of doing something for yourself cause you truly matter at the end of the day. While it may be hard to fathom that you are truly worthy of selfish thinking, you deserve to spend a moment in time or a few months living instead of making millions right. We all have a friend whose super duper successful but doesn’t know their children, haven’t seen live animals in the wild or is stuck to their phone and mahogany shaded desk that a corridor will be named after them when they are long gone. Well, don’t be that person. Its not sexy and outside of tax structure and planners, no one will remember them in a few years anyway. And finally, those damn penguins!
“One must venture beyond the sojourn, there a perdurable purpose awaits”
NUMBER 4: PENGUINS DO NOT TAKE SELFIES IN THEIR TUXEDOS:
Antarctica can be busy; lots of penguin traffic jams, unpredictable weather, the sun is always shinning in the summer and the fish are always served on ice, brrrr! But, penguins, never take time out for selfies. They are too busy with enjoying the scenery and swimming at every occasion. One thing I learned about them, they make time to share their space with others. This piece of advice is not just for the stressed billion dollar human. Life is much too simple to let it all pass you by. While not everyone needs to take the Polar plunge in sub-zero degree temperatures, I found it invigorating. Sure, even if a few Orcinus Orcas were tending to a pod of calves off in the distance, jumping in and enjoying a shot of vodka afterwards was worth every penny to chance. Honestly, Orcas do not have time for humans. Hollywood has embellished the fear of Sharks and Killer Whales a bit too much, in my opinion. Relax, take a breather, and dump the dreaded selfie stick. Live a little; share life with your fellow human being. Get back to communicating and looking humanity square in the eye. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but the empathic dissertation with your fellow man is priceless!
So, whats the sabbatical wrong with you? Nothing except licence! I hope you will think seriously and consider taking a sabbatical in the near future. If you need help or don’t know where to start, consider me for one on one assistance or group planning from cradle to grave. I never purchase my flight tickets until I get to the airport. I will show you how and why that is an effective travel strategy. I will gladly help develop and plan your sabbatical. Send me a request for a one on one consultation. Take yourself seriously and spend at least six months to a year, by yourself or with your trusted companion (s), sharing your life with the universe in a place or activity of your choosing. You may find that Mona Lisa picture you have been looking for just around the corner. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll finally get my own television show!
“Are you still sitting on the couch! The news wont change as much as the weather report but you will still be just sitting there looking at the same digital medium”
If you are ready for your sabbatical, don’t be a stranger. I will be happy to help you plan your next adventure! Please feel free to share this message, like, follow or comment on my social media . START RIGHT NOW!