Rules for Radical Sabbaticals

Paul Holland and Linda Yates know how to succeed in business — and how to take a break. Since returning from their radical sabbatical, they’ve become a resource for friends seeking similar adventures. Here’s their advice.

Just say yes.

Yates and Holland have heard all the excuses for why people can’t take a break. They don’t buy them. “We met people traveling on as little as $3 a day,” says Yates. “We met people with several kids who were traveling for a year. You are much more likely to come back refreshed and eager than to damage your career.”

Think Ahead.

You don’t decide to take a radical sabbatical on Friday and leave on Monday. Yates and Holland were forthright about their plans for a sabbatical when they took their jobs — Paul, five years before they left; Linda, two. Of course, there’s a downside as well: “Right up until the day that I took my leave,” says Holland, “my boss was working on ways to head off or shorten my time away.”

But don’t plan too far ahead.

It’s tempting to map out every minute of your journey into the unknown. Don’t. “In the future,” says Holland, “we’ll plan about 30% of our trip and leave the rest open.”

The first step is the hardest.

The first few days away from the grind are a lot like the first few seconds of a skydive: There’s an impulse to scramble back to safer ground. Yates and Holland felt that impulse but got comfortable faster than they expected to. “Nothing calms you down like living at a much slower pace,” says Yates.

Cooordinates: Linda Yates (; Paul Holland (