According to Wikipedia Garden leave or gardening leave:- describes the practice where an employee leaving a job – having resigned or otherwise had their employment terminated – is instructed to stay away from work during the notice period, while still remaining on the payroll.
Gardening leave is a term that originated in the UK and was adopted in Australia & NZ too. When I resigned back in October, 2016 I didn't think it would happen to me. After all I'm leaving a US focussed role to run a Sydney agency. Yes on a Global scale we compete, but from my view point, my specter of influence doesn't overlap.
As it turned out, shortly after giving 3 months notice, I was advised that I would indeed be asked to leave well short of my projected final date of employment. While they don't use the term Gardening leave in the US, in essence that is exactly what was instructed.
Honestly I was in shock when learning of my fate. I just didn't think this would ever happen to little old me. It didn't take long however for my shock to give way to absolute joy as I realized I was about to get the opportunity to take some serious time out in between countries and roles.
At first I googled things like 'what to do on gardening leave'. For the record, most revealed that gardening leave can put a strain on relationships and mental health. Lack of routine, freedom from the 9-5 while others are busy being busy, too much time to think etc can be problematic. There was much encouragement for using the time effectively. Getting fit, being of more help to the family, writing a book, taking up a hobby were all listed as ways to pass the time.
Truthfully, there was never any real need for my googling. As an individual without the responsibility of a family (outside of my awesome doggy Chilli) who suffers from extreme wanderlust I quickly started planning - you guessed it - extreme amounts of travel. Sure I want to write a book. But my desire to write a book couldn't compete with the voice in my head saying "you can afford to take this time out to be free, to explore and to do it in style - go ahead, you deserve it".
So I listened. Since then I have scuba dived with sharks in the Galapagos Islands, swam up close with sea lions, braved two weeks of solo travel, meditated, yoga posed and soaked up the spirituality of Machu Picchu, met amazing new friends (Kim & Molly, I'm talking about you), gazed at sunsets, hiked through Peruvian salt mines, explored new cities (I heart Cusco), staycationed NYC style (briefly), Christmased in Brooklyn, skied extreme powder in Utah and celebrated New Years Eve in Deer Valley with Veuve Cliquot, fine dining with a table of 10 excellent friends (and so much more). Now, I write to you from Aspen, where I'm staring out at blue skies and white capped mountains from a cosy bed in my very amazing friends amazing abode.
I feel free. I'm not worrying about my new job, in fact I'm actively reigning excited thoughts in as the present is my priority - right here, right now.
Please, know it's not all beer and skittles (or champagne and roses). Traveling for a long period of course comes with it's challenges (I had no money for two days in Ecuador, got extremely ill in Peru and currently have a ski damaged knee). The tough times pass though, I can attest that the beauty and joy are way more enduring. The brief woe is me's are just that - brief.
I'm not done yet, there are more good times and challenges ahead. More skiing, farewells in NY and a month in India. While blogging hasn't been high on my list of priorities, I will return to it. Share my experiences and hope to inspire you to live a big beautiful life along the way.
While I'm "gardening", do let me know if there's anything you want to hear more about. Whether it's travel experiences, busting through mental barriers, embracing the good stuff tips, dealing with moving countries or leaving New York, I'm currently amassing plenty of stories. And as you know, stories are something I love to share.