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EU > United Kingdom > London

A month off work

London, UK (View on map)

What would people do if they had a month of work? I initially planned to ask people what they would do if they only had one more month left to live but decided to change that in order not to scare people or have people tell me about somebody who had recently had the very same experience. So today`s question to people in London became: what if you were told today that you can have a month paid leave, starting tomorrow?

Holly (25):

..would go for ultimate relaxation if she had an unexpected month off from work
I could have expected people to answer that they would go traveling for a month and most people do tell me just that. Holly (25, photo) would leave on a backpacking trip to South America `for ultimate relaxation`. She doesn`t know how to pay for it if she has to continue paying her rent: `I could take a loan, or otherwise I`d spend the month doing nothing and then going to Wales for a few days.`

Most people are more than happy with the idea of getting to a sunny place. South East Asia is very popular. Angie (26) would go to Cambodia and India, while Sean (23) would visit Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam: `There are still some places that have not been spoilt by mass tourism and I?d be happy to see those places before it`s too late. I like traveling for how it gives you access to different cultures and beautiful nature. Working as a volunteer, teaching English, would be a nice way to cover up for my accommodation expenses I`d have to rely on my credit card to finance the adventure which may not be such a good idea.`

Dan (34) would not hesitate a moment, and leave for a motorbike tour through Italy and Eastern Europe: `I`ve been planning that for next summer already, so having an unexpected month off would just mean that I don`t need to wait that long before leaving. Scott (25) would go to Florida, `because of all the TV programs from and about Miami. It`d be nice to check out the city and visit the Keys. I do not have any problem traveling on my own if it`s just for a month, but thinking of work, I don`t think my boss could miss me for a month just like that.` Despite his big plans, Scott admits that he doesn`t travel a lot during his regular holidays. `And most of my weekends consists of seeing friends and having drinks. There`s very little sports or traveling in that..`

Tanja (28) works as a physiotherapist. She would try to quickly find a one-month project allowing her to do the same in India. She explains: `British physiotherapists are in high demand over there. It would be a worthwhile experience and I`d probably get paid for it, so the idea sounds very appealing.`

Staying at home
Only one person among all those I speak to would like to stay in the United Kingdom for a month. Sarah (19) says she would like to use the month to find a new job in London. `I travel quite a lot for my current job as a service attendant on trains. I am planning to move from Devon to London so I can live closer to my boyfriend. My renting contract runs out in about four months time, so that`s the timeframe I have in mind. Having one month off could hopefully accelerate the process.

Anna (24) works as a teacher but couldn`t figure out how she could ever take a month off outside the regular holiday period. `I would really like to go to India, but not on my own and not if I had to borrow money to get there. I have seen most of the UK so traveling in my own country would not be particularly interesting. I think I`d spend the month shopping for nice clothes. I truly think I can do just that for a whole month.`

Jamie (24) from Cardiff is trying to explain why everybody is so eager to leave the island. `I`m a hair cutter, which is a job I am quite OK with. But it`s a job. I wouldn`t do it if I didn`t have to and I think that is how most of the British people think about their jobs. People can`t wait to say goodbye to the rat race, to the lousy weather and to the miserably-faced people they meet in the street every day. I think the UK is spiraling downwards: there`s too much violence, too many immigrants and the country is changing into a police state. The worst thing is that I don`t think there`s anything we can do about it. Compared to other places, the UK may be a reasonably comfortable place to live, but it`s equally depressing.`

Without ever having lived abroad, Jamie says he would prefer to live in Spain or Australia. `Spain would be difficult, because I don`t speak Spanish. Australia couldn`t be worse than the UK, and no language barrier would stop me. Anyway, for the one month holiday, I`d put on a nice face to my parents and ask them to lend me some money. Leaving tomorrow would not be a problem, I`d just book the first cheap flight to a sunny destination and only take the essentials with me.

After hearing all these plans of people to get away from there own country and own lives for a while, I wonder what is holding them back from integrating just little bits and pieces of their dreams into their everyday life. I have to admit that today`s question is a bit unrealistic and logically produces unrealistic answers. Still, I am surprised by how most of the people I speak to simply overlook practical details when it comes to making their dreams come true. Who would pay for their travels, who would join them, what about the other plans and obligations they already made for the month starting tomorrow?

But then again, I would not know what I would do if I had a month off, just by the fact alone that there`s nobody who can grant me one month off. I took a whole year and will have to wait another 7 months before anybody can give me one month of paid leave. Luckily, I am doing what I think I should be doing and enjoying it as much as one can enjoy doing something for an entire year. Which is: quite a lot!

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