Taking a Sabbatical

In 2010, inspired by designer Stefan Sagmeister—who took a sabbatical in Bali and is an avid advocate of taking time off—I decided to leave New York City and embark upon a one-year adventure. I had a few simple goals in mind: visit countries I'd never been to before, keep a blog, salsa with strangers, learn a new language, volunteer, and make a book.

I sold everything I owned, and kept nothing but my laptop, my camera, a backpack, a positive spirit, and eagerness to work on personal projects.

The plan of taking a year off to explore bits of four continents, turned into a lifestyle. I was hooked. If you have traveled long-term, you know exactly what I mean.

Taking a sabbatical should be on everyone's "things to do before I die" list.

Today, I split my time between Bali, New York, and Mexico City. I run an interactive design studio, represent a few amazing artists, and produce TEDx in Ubud. I now keep this site as a visual archive of all things travel, and to hopefully inspire you to take time off.

If you're in Bali, let's grab lunch: daniela@burrshop.com.


On the web

A Complete Personal Shift

I stopped writing several months ago. The minute I landed in Bali, my whole life shifted and I can say that today –10 months into my sabbatical– my life was given a 360º turn. It has been an amazing journey. I’ve soaked up foreign cultures like never before, I’ve been guided by some absolutely superb people, I organized TEDxUbud, I made spontaneous trips that left the biggest marks, and I feel like I got a completely different set of ‘life batteries.’

I have a million pictures that I’d like to share and I will. For now, I want to keep a transcript of these ‘Rules for Success’ quoting Bob Parsons, written by Robert Frank for the Wall Street Journal:

1 – Get and stay out of your comfort zone.

“Believe that not much happens of any significance when we’re in our comfort zone. I hear people say, ‘But I’m concerned about security.’ My response to that is simple: ‘Security is for cadavers.’ ”

2 – Never give up.

“Almost nothing works the first time it’s attempted. Just because what you’re doing does not seem to be working, doesn’t mean it won’t work. It just means that it might not work the way you’re doing it. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it, and you wouldn’t have an opportunity.”

3 – When you’re ready to quit, you’re closer than you think.

“There’s an old Chinese saying that I believe is so true: ‘The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed.’ ”

4 – Always be moving forward.

“Never stop investing. Never stop improving. Never stop doing something new. The moment you stop improving your organization, it starts to die. Remember the Japanese concept of Kaizen. Small daily improvements eventually result in huge advantages.”

5 – Be quick to decide.

“Remember what General George S. Patton said: ‘A good plan violently executed today is far and away better than a perfect plan tomorrow.’ ”

6 – Measure everything of significance.

“I swear this is true. Anything that is measured and watched, improves.”

7 – Anything that is not managed will deteriorate.

“If you want to uncover problems you don’t know about, take a few moments and look closely at the areas you haven’t examined for a while. I guarantee you problems will be there.”

8 – Never expect life to be fair.

“Life isn’t fair. You make your own breaks.”

9 – Don’t take yourself too seriously.

“Lighten up. Often, at least half of what we accomplish is due to luck. None of us are in control as much as we like to think we are.”

10 – There’s always a reason to smile.

“Find it. After all, you’re really lucky just to be alive. Life is short. More and more, I agree with my little brother. He always reminds me: ‘We’re not here for a long time, we’re here for a good time!’ ”


  1. takingasabbatical posted this

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