So far, 2020 has been a year that no one is going to forget in a hurry. Many of us have had to adapt to working from home, rethink how we travel, and consider that age-old question of work-life-balance which has been brought to the forefront of people's minds by the coronavirus crisis. The need to prioritise our physical and mental wellbeing has never been more obvious or important, which is where a sabbatical comes in. Whether you're looking for an adrenaline-fuelled world tour or a philanthropic trip, sabbaticals give you the chance to hit pause on your everyday life and gain a new perspective. Read on for some of our favourite sabbaticals for 2021...
Culturally Immersive Getaways in Lapland
Longer than an average trip away, sabbaticals offer the unique chance for a complete cultural immersion - the opportunity to truly get under the skin of a place and understand different values and histories, and to reflect on your own. In Lapland, join the indigenous Sami people to experience the quiet continuation of a traditional way of life. Stay with locals in a traditional lavvu (teepee) tent, listening and learning about their traditions. You'll experience the dying art of reindeer-herding (keep an eye out for the Northern Lights along the way) as well as their struggle to maintain their cultural identity.
Back to Nature in Borneo
A nature-focused sabbatical is the perfect opportunity to embrace the natural world and find a deeper connection to the beings that share this beautiful planet with us. Venture to the 130 million-year-old rainforests of Borneo for an unforgettable adventure in the wilderness. Explore the winding tracks of the forest with expert guides, spotting our orange orangutan cousins in the treetops, as well as Bornean slow lorises, proboscis monkeys and pygmy elephants. Immerse yourself in this green (and humid) world while swimming in natural pools, walking through the canopies and listening to the chorus of birdsong fill the air.
Wellness in Costa Rica
Wellness and mindfulness have become the poster-children for the millennial bragging rights in recent years, but given the pandemic, 2021 might just see the move towards true personal wellness beyond #instagramgoals. Head to the glossy green forests of Costa Rica, taking a month-long break to immerse yourself in the world of wellness. Explore the Arenal Volcano area for a multitude of eco-activities and the chance to restore balance through daily yoga practises and spa treatments. Take some time to focus on personal rejuvenation and growth with a personalised programme and an immersion in the wild beauty of the Costa Rican coast. It's not all yoga poses and spa treatments - snorkel and kayak along the incredible shoreline of the Osa Peninsula and hike through the volcanic rainforest of the Arenal Volcano on a wellness break that is guaranteed to relax and restore.
Family Road Tripping in California
Lockdown has meant a lot of extra time with the family and while you might have found a few drawbacks to juggling home schooling and work, you may have also found that the clan is now closer than ever. With your new-found family bond, an extended family trip is just the thing to get away from the stresses of everyday life and spend your time playing, exploring, and bonding. Fancy doing something the little ones will never forget? A road trip through California is just the thing. Explore the iconic sun-drenched west-coast state at your own pace, stopping for surfing lessons in Santa Barbara and the chance to see some of the world's tallest trees - we're looking at you Redwood State Park. It's a road trip like no other and we can pack it full of Original Travel insider tips and activities for an adventure the whole family will love.
Learning New Skills
Life during lockdown has meant that many of us have enjoyed a lot more downtime. If you want to add to your roster of new hobbies, make the world your classroom as you gain new skills and (bonus) fill that sabbatical-shaped gap in your CV. Have you always wanted to learn a new language? Maybe French, Spanish or even Japanese? Head off for the best language lesson you've ever had. Hone your skills with a qualified local teacher before putting it all to practice while chatting and living as the locals do. Alternatively, you might want to learn something more adventurous. How does learning to ride, play polo and adapt to ranch life sound? Travel to an Argentinian estancia (ranch), to immerse yourself in cowboy culture and gain some serious polo-playing skills for a bucket-list-style sabbatical.
Whatever you reasons for taking a sabbatical and no matter which kind of sabbatical you are dreaming of, get planning your trip of a lifetime and make 2021 a year to remember (for all the right reasons).