What Do You Do When You Get a Sabbatical?

August 23, 2018

What Do You Do When You Get a Sabbatical?

What Do You Do When You Get a Sabbatical?

January 1, 2011. That was my official start date here at Up&Up (technically it was December 27, 2010, but who’s counting?). During those first few days at my new job I learned a lot about company policy, employee benefits, and all the inner workings of Up&Up. One thing that was intriguing was a benefit I didn’t know many large companies offered, let alone a small agency. Up&Up gives employees the opportunity to take a month long, paid sabbatical once you’ve worked at the company for 7 years. What?! My reaction was, “That’s awesome! Let’s make it through this first year and then we’ll worry about my seventh year anniversary.” Well, it’s August 21, 2018. I was able to take my sabbatical in June 2018. Let’s talk a little about my experience. Hold on tight!

What did I do with the time off?

There are a few stipulations for taking a sabbatical at Up&Up.

  1. Make sure your work is covered.
  2. Do something you wouldn’t/couldn’t do with regular vacation time.

My wife, Heather, and I decided we wanted our kids to see and experience something they weren’t able to in South Carolina. We discussed a variety of places to travel, including Hawaii, San Francisco, the Pacific Northwest, the Grand Canyon, but we ultimately landed on Yellowstone, Grand Tetons, and Jackson Hole.

I was beyond excited to take my family to Yellowstone NP and Grand Tetons NP. My parents took me on a month-long trip that spanned from the east coast to the west coast and back when I was 10 and many moments of that trip are my favorite childhood memories. Now I get to take my children there 25 years later?! Awesome! There were so many things we saw and did on the way out there and while in the parks. If I were to try and tell you about everything, we’d be here for days. We drove more than 5,000 miles (in our van..with three children…), saw so many things, took 1,500+ pictures and videos, ate some great food, and had a ton of fun.

They say a picture speaks 1,000 words, so here’s a map of our trip. (click to see it full size)Evans Sabbatical Road Trip 2018

Top 5 Things From Our Trip

My Children’s Reactions to Everything

My Children's Faces Made Me Smile More Than Some of the Experiences

This might sound so cliche and such a dad comment, but it really was so amazing to see each one of my kids’ excitement when they saw a bison, bear, geyser, or huge mountain. It’s such a wonderful feeling when you see children see and experience something for the first time.

Grand Prismatic Spring

Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook

What do you think off when you think of Yellowstone? Old Faithful, right? Well, it’s extremely awesome, but one of mine and my wife’s favorites is the Grand Prismatic Spring. It’s just stunningly beautiful. The colors are mesmerizing. The Yellowstone NPS recently built out a new overlook hike which was simply beautiful.

Hiking to Waterfalls

Hiking to See More Waterfalls

My kids love the outdoors and hiking. Those little legs just want to walk and run everywhere. We hiked and walked over 30+ miles in around 6 days. That’s roughly 5 miles a day. They were awesome little troopers! We hiked to five different waterfalls, and each one was amazing. Again, the reactions from the kids when we reached each waterfall were filled with awe. From the first to the last waterfall, they thought each one was beautiful. They never tired of seeing new sights.

Devil’s Tower

Devil's Tower

This was actually not one of our scheduled stops. After seeing Mt. Rushmore and driving through Spearfish Canyon we were well on our way to our final destination of Gardiner, MT. While driving along I-90, I saw a sign for Devil’s Tower and made the comment that I would love to have time to see it. I’m a stickler when it comes to schedules, and I’m not one to deviate from it. Heather on the other hand said, “Let’s go see it. We probably won’t have another chance to.” One of my favorite older sci-fi movies is “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” which heavily features Devil’s Tower so…we went. And it was so cool! I’m geeking out just typing this.

The Magic House – St. Louis

The Evans Kids Had a Blast at The Magic House Children's Museum

Our first stop on our trip was St. Louis. We hustled out there in one day so that we could spend some time at the city’s children’s museum, The Magic House. Our kids were fascinated for three solid hours, and we weren’t even able to see everything. It was huge. It was great. They had such a fun time. It set the bar for the rest of the trip pretty high.

What did I get out of my sabbatical?


Time with my family. Time to unplug. Time to think. Time to recharge. I feel much more focused and excited about what Up&Up does and specifically what I can do to help our clients be the best version of themselves. After my sabbatical, I feel a little closer to the best version of myself. Thank you Up&Up for this opportunity. My family and I will never forget it.

The Evans Family at the Yellowstone Sign