Out of office during two months

Mónica Rodrigues
5 min readDec 22, 2022

Introduction

Have you ever wondered what you would do if you had two months totally for you? In this article I will talk about what I did during these two months and also what I felt and what has changed in my person. Yes … I changed a little bit and I discovered new things in me. That’s why I decided to write this article: to encourage you to think about yourself.

To give you some context, my company offers a perk for each employee who’s worked for at least 5 years, and that person is entitled to taking two months off. It is called a sabbatical program. I had never done this before this year. I thought about doing an English course outside Portugal, as well as going to the Azores and Madeira islands, and traveling around my country. But in fact, this did not happen. I changed my plans during the sabbatical.

My feelings …

I decided to travel alone and discover Portugal. This was a big challenge for me because I hadn’t traveled alone for a long time.

Traveling alone allowed me to discover what I could do, how I could solve some problems that occurred and what my limit was. I drove almost 5 thousand kilometers from place to place, getting to know people of that region, learning about the culture, the food, enjoying nature and every place that I passed by car. Of course, there was time for parties, the beach and catching some sun.

Fragas de São Simão

… What I did

I started my holiday by enjoying the beach with my family, going to a lot of little parties in the cities of Ribatejo, visiting some friends in different places of the country and, of course, relaxing on the sofa. I also decided to visit more places in Ribatejo (the region where I was born). It was in this month that I decided to visit Sertã, and a lot of viewpoints in Vila de Rei. I hired a tourist guide that showed me the place. A big thank you to my guide. This is what my first month looked like.

The second month ( September ) was completely different. I had planned to go to Lagos for 4 days but when I arrived there I decided to prolong my stay and started traveling from place to place and sleeping in different locations for over 16 days. It was tricky because I hadn’t packed enough clothes for it. That’s why I had to buy one more skirt and a few more t-shirts during the trip😀.

Vila Gale Lagos — Algarve

I started the trip on the Costa Vicentina and continued until Lagos (Algarve).

I enjoyed a beautiful view from the Vila Gale Lagos Hotel and the party that took place there too, of course 😀 After I travelled to Sagres, I stayed at Vilamoura for two nights and then I went to Faro. In Faro, I decided to take N2 Road to go north. I slept in different places and met a lot of people in every location. I travelled this road until Montemor-o-novo where I finished at Coruche because it’s near to my region — Santarém.

Cathedral — Évora

After this great road-trip, I had to stay home because I got sick. So, I paused the trip a little bit and after that, I decided to go back on the road again and go to Evora. Evora is a nice place with a lot of history. I enjoyed the place, the people and after that I decided to go to Beja, Mértola, Marvão, Reguengos de Monsaraz, Monsaraz, Vila Viçosa and Elvas. While in Elvas I decided to visit Badajoz, a neighbouring city in Spain. It is another great place with a beautiful view of a river.

Mértola
Marvão

So I discovered a lot of places during this time, mostly Alentejo, South and Ribatejo. Next time I will perhaps venture into our beautiful North, like Guarda, Chaves, Fafe, Gerês and other places that I have never visited. And maybe, I’ll finish the N2 Road from Montemor-o-Novo until Chaves to fill my “passport” 😀

Elvas

Conclusion

This absence was good therapy for me, giving me space to think about my life, and to discover what I can or can’t do. I feel like I’m another person now — a person that can take risks, appreciates life and enjoys the friendships that she has.

So don’t forget to think of yourself and start your own challenges and get out of your comfort zone. Enjoy the rest of the day and thank you for the time that you took to read my article.

Vilamoura and Castro Verde

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Mónica Rodrigues

A content creator about leadership, personal development and software. Follow @monicarodriguesjourney on Instagram for more content also.