A month to reflect... to explore the uncharted?

This year I have the extraordinary opportunity to have four weeks of sabbatical from my job - paid.  I have worked for a wonderful company for the past five years and - as a way of honoring that milestone - employees are giving four weeks of paid leave to be used at one time.  Additionally, I have my regular four weeks of vacation this year.  What to do... what to do?

I've been contemplating what to do during this time off.  I'm not in a financial position to 'tour the world' right now or probably would go to Italy (I've never been) and then to Greece (nor have I been there) and then spend ten days in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia at their Celtic music festival in October. 

But the world is my oyster, so to speak, as I can chose anything I want to do.  The question is:  what DO I want to do?  A friend suggested I take a class and learn something I've always wanted to learn...  I immediately thought "like how to play the mandolin" (I have one in my closet just waiting for me...) and then "you could finally take quilting lessons!".  But... I don't know... is this what I want to do for four weeks when this is such a rare occurrence?  I don't think so.

How about volunteering?  How about volunteering somewhere exotic that would be new to me and exciting?  But where... and how do I find out about those opportunities?  I just happened upon an interesting site in Cape Breton called Shushan... they seem to have a community of Christians, Celtic inspired, that volunteer in return for housing, and in the summer months hold wilderness camp for troubled teens.  Fate to have found the site?  I'm unsure...

I love Ireland.  And when I say I *love* Ireland I mean it moves me to the very depths of my soul to be in Ireland.  It feels like home.  It makes me believe in reincarnation because I am sure I have walked those paths and breathed in that air long before my first visit there.  But... but... but... I've been to Ireland... I *know* Ireland.  Granted I do love it...  but is that what my sabbatical should be? Revisiting the known... or exploring the uncharted... both geographically and maybe spiritually... maybe I need to just be on my own, solo, self-searching and self-centering for a month?

Maybe I need a challenge.  Something like... hiking a mountain or volunteering in Appalachia AND hiking the Appalachian trail. 

Or maybe it is time I reward myself... for raising my son on my own and working for 30 years and for challenging myself to lose 100 lbs and doing it.  Maybe I should take all the books I want to read and all the tapes I want to listen to and my exercise gear and my paints and my camera and rent a cottage on a lake and just veg.  No schedules. No one to answer to.  Just *be*.

I need your suggestions, friends, because I really DON'T have a clue what I'll do.  If you had a month to do anything you wanted to do - by yourself - what would you do?  What would you attempt to get from that month?  If you could go anywhere in the world... where would it be and why and what would you do there?

I'm soooo looking forward to your comments and help with this exciting decision!  THANK YOU in advance!

Dream. Believe. Achieve.
: )
HealthyLoserGal ~ Jan


Shabby Chic Mom January 27, 2011 at 9:06 PM  

Oh my gosh, it sounds like an opportunity of a lifetime. I say travel as much as you can. Even if its the backroads of your state.
I am partial to ireland. My mom is from there and I've been and its the most beautiful place, I agree.
reading your post had my every attention. I cannot wait to hear what you do.

KCLAnderson (Karen) January 27, 2011 at 9:23 PM  

Well, based on what you've written, I'd say it's all about Ireland!! Erin go bragh!

Melissa January 28, 2011 at 2:11 AM  

I vote for Ireland, because then I could live vicariously through you. LOL

Patsy January 28, 2011 at 7:57 AM  

Ireland would definitely be top of my list... What a great employer! :o)

Lynda with a Y January 28, 2011 at 4:20 PM  

travel. give yourself an experience of a lifetime. Ireland or Italy.

LaShanda Glover January 28, 2011 at 10:03 PM  

Wow! That's an awesome opportunity. I say make sure you pamper yourself in whatever you do. If you travel, enjoy every moment or if you stay local and pursue a hobby, make sure you have a good time! Ireland sounds like the perfect option!

Bring Pretty Back January 30, 2011 at 2:01 PM  

Jan, isn't half of the fun ... just dreaming about ... the possibilities! I can not wait to hear what you choose! no matter what it is, it will be the right thing for you.
Also- email me please, I would love to have you as a guest on my radio show! pretty please!( pun intended)
have a pretty day!

HealthyLoserGal January 31, 2011 at 12:31 PM  

Ohhhhhhh my GOD!! I just found out that the sabbatical isn't FOUR weeks it is....


Holy incredible benefit, batman!! lol