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My three month sabbatical to Sri Lanka

by Gita Mendis

Last year ZPB introduced a new company benefit for long-term employees of a three month paid sabbatical.

It couldn’t have come at a better time for me personally. House moves and managing my mother’s move to a care home meant I had an overwhelming amount of life sorting to do. Where does all the stuff come from? And what to do with it?

Physically, I was run-down and exhausted by a heady cocktail of insomnia, menopause and multiple Covid infections.

I needed a recharge and a reset.

The plan for the sabbatical was to do the big boring jobs that needed to be done - and have some fun. We landed on a big trip to Sri Lanka for the whole school summer holiday to make the most of having so much time out of work. I’m half Sri Lankan and try to visit every ten years or so and I was overdue a visit. I hadn’t seen my family for some years and every time we go it’s usually a whirlwind trip, so having a good long time meant catching up properly.

It really was a trip of a lifetime - highlights include incredible train journeys, safaris with wild elephants, swimming with sea turtles and visiting Jaffna in the north as well as spending time on the stunning beaches on the east coast.

Many people in Sri Lanka are finding the economic conditions tough but we were warmly welcomed everywhere. There was a feeling of optimism and I felt safe everywhere I went. It’s a good time to visit the country.

Time is so precious – I feel so lucky and very grateful to have spent so much quality time with my family, and to be able to spend so long in such a beautiful part of the world.

I’m so glad to work for a company that recognises employees are people and have a life beyond work. Travel reminds you how much you don’t know, and how enriching it is to be open to learning about places, people, culture, and history. And having fun and doing something different helps you grow as a person.


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