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A memo from Emma Goodbrand

How to unwind on holiday

I had been in my role as PA to a director at a recruitment company for four years, when in 2013 at the age of 26 I decided it was time for a break, writes Emma Goodbrand. My wonderful mum passed away after a short illness and all of a sudden I found myself with a whole new perspective on life – and a big list of things I desperately wanted to go and do!

Being a PA, I attacked my plan sensibly and logically, as you would expect. I made a list of where I wanted to go and eventually had the outline of what was set to be an incredible journey. My boss at the time, Nick, was wonderful and supportive. I told him my plans almost six months before I left so that I could be open and honest with him, as well as spend time properly training my replacement. I wanted to be truly free and able to go where the wind took me on my travels, so handed in my notice as opposed to asking for a sabbatical.

For almost six months I travelled solo through China, Thailand, Malaysia, Australia, Fiji and the West Coast of the US. Incredible memories were made. Wonderful people, pandas, koalas and dolphins were met. Lifetime goals were achieved and I feel proud to have decided to actually go and do what I wanted to do.

Returning home and back to my normal everyday life, minus one job, was almost as exciting and new as leaving in the first place.

Energised and focused, I was ready for my next challenge. It came my way only two weeks after coming home when I landed a contract role as PA in the beauty industry – a whole new world to me. The role taught me PA lessons I may never have learned otherwise!

Another contract followed in the healthcare industry and then in early 2015 I returned to recruitment and have been in my current role for just over a year. Busy, fast paced and demanding, this industry feels like home to me.

Taking time away from work for my travels refreshed me and made me look at things in a whole new light. Being able to take some ‘me time’ let me focus on what I really wanted to do; in all honesty it wasn’t until I was away from my job that I realised how much I love what I do for a living.

Having freedom from the day-to-day stresses of work let me take a step back and re-evaluate my career and I was pleased to find I was actually very happy with it.

I believe that everything happens for a reason. Going through a very sad time, deciding to travel and coming back when I did has ultimately led me to where I am now and I couldn’t be happier.

My advice to anyone who is thinking about taking some time out and travelling – do it; make it work. You won’t regret it for a moment!

This feature appears in the March/April 2016 edition of PA Life. Read the full issue HERE