PTO: Preparing for “The Out of Office “

So I got approved for sabbatical back in July. You’d think I’d start immediately planning, but instead I’ve procrastinated. I had a trip to Zanzibar coming up so I told myself I’d start planning once I returned. I would be a little more than three months out then. As I type this, I am now 54 days and 23 hours away from landing in Accra (Kwame created a countdown ‘cause we corny like that). What have I done to prepare so far, you ask?

Well, most importantly, I know what clothes I’ll be packing. I don’t know why, but the very first thing I did was consider a capsule wardrobe so that I wouldn’t have to pack my whole closet. I called on my good girlfriend Camille (not my sister, but a friend I’ve known since high school with the same name and impeccable style), who is an incredible stylist, for help! Check out her IG page or website for fashion inspiration and to book her services. She went through my closet, pulled pieces and then emailed me mood boards and links to pieces that would complete the looks. Surprisingly, I didn’t have much shopping to do! But of course, we shopped! Here is a sneak peek of some of the outfits she put together. Cute, comfy, a bit conservative (no booty shorts) and climate appropriate.

I’ve also drafted a very ambitious list of countries I’d like to visit and began researching visa requirements and such. If you have connections or care to meet me in Botswana, Cote d’Ivoire (Abidjan), Kenya, Rwanda (Kigali), Senegal (must know French LOL), South Africa (Cape Town), Tanzania (Zanzibar) or Uganda (Kampala), let me know!

Oh! And I’ve rented my house! That’s my biggest monthly expense and because I’ll be on a reduce salary, it made sense to get a renter. This was a tough decision. I’m introverted and a Cancer so having someone in my sacred space is a big deal. But I am renting to an extended family member, which means I can leave it fully furnished, and I feel extremely relieved!

So yes, my home is rented, I kinda know where I’m going and I know what clothes I’ll be wearing, but y’all…that’s all I’ve done. WTF? I don’t know if it’s because I’m overwhelmed, the fact that I know I work well at the last minute or a bit of both, but something’s gotta give. So, with eight weeks left, I’m going to break these “assignments” up by week. This week, I am researching and purchasing the best packing accessories to keep things organized and compressed. I’ve decided against purchasing a footlocker and instead just packing three suitcases (one being a carry on). I’m categorizing my things by clothes, shoes, bags, toiletries, seasonings (because I doubt they have Old Bay), hair supplies, meds and miscellaneous. I also must pack up the stuff in my room and bathroom to place in storage so I’m in need of bins. It’s a lot, but as I start to sort through things, I have begun decluttering my space. My dream is to return a minimalist (who is an early riser, in great physical shape and 10 pounds heavier). You can find clothes and household items I’m selling in my Poshmark Closet.

So yes, this typical planner is quite behind the eight ball here, but that’s likely because of the emotional preparation that’s required as well. I don’t have a return flight so I don’t know when or if I’m coming home before my sabbatical ends. Depending on which country will serve as home base (as of today it’s Uganda), I could be 7-10 hours ahead of family and friends. I will miss out on TV shows, live group chats, events and hugs and happy hours. Like with the pandemic, it’s one thing to miss an event because you choose not to go, it’s another to miss it because of restrictions. But I thank God for technology and free wifi! I know this will be an incredible experience; a time to rest, reset, explore, learn and spend real quality time with one of my favorite people!

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