How to take three months off work
“Would three months leave impact the business too negatively or is it a realistic concept?”
My wife Kyla and I spent four years deliberating a family trip around Australia. Grappling with the how, when and who are challenging questions to answer, but we pulled the kids out of school and took the trip! And no, it didn’t impact the business negatively, it gave others the opportunity to step up and now represents the best thing we have ever done as a family. Here is how we did it!
Kyla’s childhood memory of a trip she and her family went on in a second hand caravan formed the inspiration of ours to head around Australia with the kids. We wanted to do more together as a family unit and spend meaningful time with just us.
I introduced the idea to Stephen and Mark the other two founders of QMV about 18 months ago. The business was stable and humming along well. I explained to them that it was important have this extended time with my wife and children and they understood how much it meant to us.
My colleagues and I canvassed the trip to the broader management team about six months ago, to which their response was most generously, “we can do that” and “we can make that happen.” The team’s willingness to cover my absence gave me the confidence to fully commit mentally. I knew they were completely capable and it was now a matter of taking my hands off the wheel and letting go of the anxiety.
With a great deal of planning, we finalised the delegation of responsibilities and planned monthly check ins, including a board meeting in Alice Springs. The next biggest hurdle was packing the brand new four-wheel drive.
The volume of gear required for six people over three months pushed my understanding of spatial maths and patience to a new realm. Ultimately we had to choose between the solar panel and two camping chairs and the chairs won. It probably isn’t hard to imagine that we drove out of the driveway cranky and underprepared but with our eyes on the horizon.
It took no time for the clutter and complication of domestic life to vanish and is remarkable how thoroughly the same pair of shorts and a vivid expanse clears the mind. Shoes quickly became offensive, t-shirts were optional and tuna with bread never tasted so good than after a 10km hike. With utterly breathtaking landscape and spectacular colours it was hard not feel very, very happy and overwhelmingly fortunate.
The kids grew up two full years while we were away and spending all that time with just us, we learned so much. After creating countless unforgettable memories and serious miles on the road, we hit the northern most tip of Australia and it was clear this meant we were going home. The kids suddenly became impatient with the drive so Kyla and I created homeward bound milestones which included jumping off more cliffs into water holes, great food, great mountain bike riding and the one very last Barramundi ceremoniously caught by my youngest, Esther.
I will take this moment to thank my dear wife Kyla and children Oliver, Callum, Rupert and Esther for the privilege of their company and laughter in what was a trip we will forever remember fondly. Importantly, I must show my sincere gratitude to Stephen, Mark, Ian, Jo and everyone at QMV who fully supported this trip and with their own sacrifices that provided my family and I the opportunity to make it happen.