Carla in Spain

One of the unique benefits of working for Distinguished is our sabbatical program. Employees who have worked with the company for 7 years are eligible for 1 month of paid leave to completely disconnect and drop off the grid to do whatever they choose: relax, travel, pursue a hobby, take a course, the possibilities are endless. Distinguished President & COO Carla Vel recently returned from her sabbatical and shared with us a little bit about her experience living in a foreign country for a month.

Q: Where did you choose to go on your sabbatical and why?
CV: I went to Barcelona for my sabbatical. I wanted to do something different, take myself away from my usual habitat and haunts. Let my mind roam free with new experiences. But I also wanted to experience living in a different setting. Not touring, per se, but living.

Q: Can you share a few highlights from the adventure?
CV: Because I had different visitors, I had 4 different weeks. The first week my older daughter joined me, the second, my younger daughter, the third, my brother, sister & their spouses and the last week I spent by myself. The thread was exploring the city, eating wonderful food, drinking delicious wine, seeing antiquities and art, sunbathing and swimming in the Mediterranean, and finally, reading.

Q: What was your daily routine like?
CV: I got up when I chose, napped when I was weary and went to bed when I was tired. We explored something new most days, ate outside (the weather was lovely) for most meals, cooked, did laundry, shopped for food, laughed.

Q: How does it feel being completely off the grid? What’s something you feel you took away from being disconnected for an extended period of time?
CV: I was anxious about disconnecting. The second week I was there, I even emailed my colleague Helen English feeling terribly guilty that I was carefree and everyone else was working to capacity. Helen wisely re-assured me and I leaned into the freedom. It was quite wonderful. I filled my days without interruption and relaxed.

Q: What’s a piece of advice you would share with others who may be taking a sabbatical in the near future? What would you encourage them to do?
CV: Embrace it. It will be meaningful no matter what you do.