A sabbatical in a day

Elizabeth Gowing

Notice Period:
Emergency (maybe less than one week's notice)
Life Skills
29th December 2018
Life Coaching

At the end of 2017 I began a six-week sabbatical. I wanted to recharge, refocus, and find out what was left of me when I removed the busyness of my life as an active volunteer and board member of our charity, The Ideas Partnership, and a writer - of 5 books in 6 years, among other things. I also just wanted to do yoga and then to sit still, to have time to look out of the window and daydream, and to eat chocolate.

I turned my Facebook and Twitter accounts to ‘inactive’ and took myself to find calm among the stormy winter seas of North Cornwall.

With the combined help of the chocolate and my partner, the life coach Robert Wilton, I emerged with a clear sense of the seven areas where I wanted to focus my new energy, and how I was going to make time for them. I kept a journal during the sabbatical and at the end of it I reread my notes and my narrated dreams (even the one about Jay Rayner and the cha-cha-cha) and identified Nine Lessons learned.

If you can take a sabbatical in North Cornwall for six weeks I would recommend it. If you can’t, take my suggestions for one day when you can eat chocolate, review your dreams, refocus and to decide how you’re going to make time for the things you – really - want to do.

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About Elizabeth Gowing

After working in primary education in inner London, Elizabeth Gowing moved to Kosovo in 2006. There she milked her first cow, smoked her first cigar and drank her first cup of proper coffee.

She is the co-founder of The Ideas Partnership charity working with the power of volunteers to tackle challenges in education, cultural heritage and the environment, and with a particular focus on the excluded Roma and Ashkali communities. She is the author of Travels in Blood and Honey; becoming a beekeeper in Kosovo (Signal Books, 2011), Edith and I; on the trail of an Edwardian traveller in Kosovo (Elbow Publishing, 2013), The Rubbish-Picker's Wife; an unlikely friendship in Kosovo (Elbow Publishing, 2015), The Silver Thread; a journey through Balkan craftsmanship (Elbow Publishing, 2017), and Unlikely Positions in Unlikely Places: a yoga journey around Britain (Bradt Publishing, 2019).

She speaks fluent Albanian and is the translator of the biography of Yugoslavia's longest-held political prisoner, Adem Demaci, and of Hasan Prishtina's memoirs of the 1912 uprising. She is also a regular contributor to Radio 4's 'From Our Own Correspondent' programme.

In 2016 the President of Kosovo awarded her the Mother Teresa Medal for Humanitarian Work and in 2017 Prime Minister Theresa May gave her the 'Point of Light' award for volunteers around the world.

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