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Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

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Old 04-13-05, 01:35 PM   #1
dukes909
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Time off / sabbatical?

Looking over the "Pictures of your rig" thread got me to thinking about touring. My wife & I like to ride and forever talk about doing a tour somewhere like Ireland or somewhere in the UK, but are not sure how we'd get the time away from work. While we've made several non-biking vacations over there (never for more than a week) it seems like making a trip with bikes worthwhile would need at least 2 weeks or more. Is this true/false? If it is true, how do people that tour here get away with getting away for that length of time? Is everyone that tours a professor or student? Is there a good guide for starting out?

Sorry if this is in the FAQ - I haven't found it yet. I usually stay over in the "Commuting" forum and just wandered over here today.

Cheers!
Duke
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Old 04-13-05, 02:03 PM   #2
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It varies. When I took 14 months off for travelling, I quit my job. I had planned for about 6 months off, but ended up postponing the return to the workforce for a while. The real question is: what will your employer tolerate? If they like you & your work, a lot of companies will accomodate a request for a couple weeks off without pay. There might be a few that won't want to establish a precedent. Personally I'd avoid working at such a place. An even smaller number have formal employee sabbatical programs.

Step 1: ask your boss if there's a policy, or if you can take time off without pay. If they say no, you need to decide if taking the trip is worth changing jobs. Oftentimes it is...
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Old 04-13-05, 02:04 PM   #3
Gordon P
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Two weeks is nothing! Throw all caution to the wind and take off a year or maybe even two. You will never regret it and it will probably extend your life by a couple of years. And if you donít do it in this life, I am sure you will not get the chance to do it in the second.
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Old 04-13-05, 03:19 PM   #4
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Although long trips are just the best, most of us can't leave for a very long time (because of work and other social commitments) and opt for a series of minitours (long weekends, vacations...).

IMHO it is much better than staying home.
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Old 04-13-05, 05:08 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by halfbiked
If they like you & your work, a lot of companies will accomodate a request for a couple weeks off without pay.
That's what works at my place for me, I have only a week paid right now, but they are letting me take off all of May to tour Virgina and the Blueridge with no pay and they have no problem with that.
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Old 04-13-05, 05:48 PM   #6
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I also quit my job, thinking I would take off 6 months. That was 2 years ago. Since then I have alternated doing contract work (I'm a programmer/analyst) with bike touring and rock climbing.

I tried to take a sabbatical and they didn't let me, so I searched my soul and quit. I'm not the least bit sorry, I didn't really like that job anyway. Would have been hard to give up a good job. Also, I don't have kids or a mortgage, that helps a lot. This is not to say there are no down-sides... mostly around future financial security. Oh well, you only live once, and who knows how long that will last.

I don't think I can go back to full time cube-imprisonment, but I have been working since January 15th....

Anna
.... Off to take a 5 day mini-tour in Big Sur in about 15 minutes.....
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Old 04-13-05, 05:55 PM   #7
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I am a teacher but I can rarely get more than 2 weeks away anyway. My wife teaches primary and only gets summer off when the airfare are high and the tourists are like flies on...well, nevermind.

I like going on the shoulders. I've been to Britain in March, April, October. It's a quiter, pretty time and still comfortable enough for pleasant touring.
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Old 04-13-05, 08:08 PM   #8
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I had a great boss once who wanted to keep me happy and let me take LWOP (leave without pay) each time I asked before I finally quit and travelled for 14 months. I also had an evil boss who let me take LWOP once because he hated me and was happy to have me gone for 6 weeks! I worked as a contracter for a few years and they were great about letting me take off as much time as I wanted. Of course, I wasn't paid when I didn't work, but my benefits continued, and I've never had a problem budgeting myself.

I've got a weird situation at the present time. I get 4 weeks of paid vacation per year, which is pretty good in the US, but the strict company policy is that you can only carry over 1 week of vacation time at the end of any calendar year. We accrue time off during each pay period. What that means is that it's impossible for any employee to take 2 or more weeks of vacation during January or February. The winter has, in recent years, been my preferred time to head off somewhere on my bike. Over the years, I've been on 4 bike trips in the southern hemisphere, and 6 bike trips in the tropics, most of those taking place in January or February. I approached my boss recently and asked him if I could take a vacation next January or February, but put down on paper that I was taking the time off this December. He was OK with that.
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Old 04-13-05, 08:18 PM   #9
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I am a self employed working stiff, I have a mortgage, too many cars, a big yard to mow and a kid who just got accepted at the one of the most expensive colleges in the US. But I still find time to go riding.
When I was younger 6 months was about right for a bike tour. I would quit my job, have a yard sale and go. These days several shorter tours during the year satisifies my nomadic urges. this year I am riding ~550 miles through the 1000 islands region of New York and Vermont (top to bottom) before returning home.
I don't think of my tours by the distance I covered but by what I see and experince during the time I have. I rode around England for 13 days when I visited and I saw enough to keep me stocked in fond memories for a life time
A week in England on a bicycle? You will see more from the seat of a car or bus but you will experince more from the seat of a bicycle
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Old 04-13-05, 08:38 PM   #10
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Take a leave of absence. When I worked at a job with crappy vacation time, I took a leave of absence. I always tried to quit first, but they told me to just take a leave of absence instead. Then when I'm ready to come back, the job is still there. Presto!

I agree. 2 weeks is nothing. It may take you 2 weeks to become acclimatized. You lose 2 days there and back just from time changes and stuff. I wouldn't take a trip less than a month. The summer would be ideal. A year would be awesome.

Koffee
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Old 04-13-05, 08:48 PM   #11
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I am now a retired traveller and I keep telling myself that at 41, I will never, at least until I am 65, be able to have a large wad of cash in my pocket, no destination of importance, and all the time in the world to get there. Many of us in North America and Europe make enough cash and have stable enough lives to take more then a week holiday! What is wrong with having time off to do things that make us happy? Even Freud recognised that time off was a necessity of life and not a reward.
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Old 04-14-05, 05:25 AM   #12
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My boss is a mind reader.
I just asked for 3 months off (with the plan of resigning if the answer was no) and his immediate reaction was "I am not really happy but I know if I say no you will go anyway and then when you get back you will call me and I will have to offer you your job back because it will take me longer than that to replace you, so the answer is yes!!"
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Old 04-14-05, 07:01 PM   #13
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I'm leaving for a 9 week tour of Canada starting June 4th. I also work in the concrete supply industry, which means June, July, August is our busy time. So everyone has been asking my how I managed to weasel 9 weeks off in the busiest time of the year.

I lucked out myself, I was working in one area of the company and another area needed someone, and seemed to like me. During the interview for the new position, my new managers (3 of them) pretty much told me that I was the man they wanted. They really didnít hide the fact that I was their first and only choice, and that they really needed someone rather fast.

So at the end of the interview, one of them asked 'Is there anything else anyone would like to say?' and thatís when I dropped the bomb on them. Basically I told them in June/July/August I wasnít available, and that I would be cycling across the country. Puzzled looks, silence, stuttering and finally someone said they would work around it and it wouldnít be a problem. Sweet!

If they had said there was a problem, I would have stayed in my old position that wasnít so busy in the summer.

I even managed to carry over a weeks worth of vacation from last year because someone else quit just as I was about to take it. 4 of the 9 weeks will be paid, 5 weeks leave of absence
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Old 04-14-05, 07:19 PM   #14
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I did a one week tour of Wales in 2003 which was quite nice. Two weeks would be ample time to see a few things over there and sort of get your feet wet in the touring world.

Then at the end of Sept 2004, I quit my job and toured Australia for 3 months.

I'm back and working again, but I've already informed the company I'm working for that I will be taking 2 weeks off in July (for a randonnee and a tour), then I'm going back to school in Sept, but plan to take some time off at the end of August/beginning of Sept for more touring and possibly a few other cycling events.
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Old 04-14-05, 07:19 PM   #15
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Sad that we have to practically beg for the time off or offer up the ultimatums. In Europe, they get a ton more vacation. My friend in Sweden seems to always be on vacation! I think he gets 9 weeks off per year, but if he wanted more time off, he'd get it.

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Old 04-14-05, 08:25 PM   #16
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Don't be like my wife and I. We planned for our retirement, never took the time for the here and now. Breast Cancer fixed that. Plan for the now, while you're fit and healthy. Life can blindside you at any time. There is always another job.......
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Old 04-15-05, 07:13 AM   #17
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Don't be like my wife and I. We planned for our retirement, never took the time for the here and now. Breast Cancer fixed that. Plan for the now, while you're fit and healthy. Life can blindside you at any time. There is always another job.......
Iíve been told this countless times and what inspired me to do things other then just work my life away was watching my grandfather go directly into the hospital about a week after he retired only to move on to a nursing home and finally to the grave.
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Old 04-15-05, 11:56 AM   #18
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A friend with a physical handicap, limiting his mobility, told me that he calls those of us, not so encumbered, "temporarily able bodied" (TAB). That didn't sink in until recently. From here on out planning to be a lilly of the field; so to speak.
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Old 04-20-05, 03:18 PM   #19
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We in North America have it drilled into our minds from a very early age that we must work and produce to be worthy of our continued existence

HORSE HOCKEY

One grandfather retired from his meat market/farm biz when he was 45, raised 8 great kids: my mom, uncles and aunts, always told his grandkids, to take time out to travel, see places meet people and enjoy life, a job will always come along.

He was right too.

I pains me when I read posts like the above. Folks who have the desire to get out and SEE but feel that ole urge to stick it out in a boring job for security, yeh security. And them some CFO comes along with a plan to loot the pension funds.

Go when you are young and healthy, when you get older the chains are a hell of a lot stronger
Jobs are always there for the creative,imaginative, and bold.AND they make better conversationalists at break time
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