• The Gift of a Sabbatical

    by Deb Longseth Client Service Specialist | April 19, 2024

    Sabbatical: What does that mean? One definition is: “a rest or break from work; an extended period of time intentionally spent on something that’s not your routine job.” Traditionally, we think of a sabbatical as something college professors get every so many years to study abroad. 

    But at Syverson Strege it is a benefit that each employee receives after every five years of employment. A gift! A huge blessing!

    Deb Sabbatical BlogAfter the hustle and bustle of the holidays and waking to an alarm clock each day, my husband and I embarked on an extended vacation in late January. It was a journey to a warm location and several weeks of relaxation and rejuvenation! Florida was our destination of choice, where we spent three weeks (3,980 miles round trip). The primary place we stayed was in Brandon, just a few miles outside of Tampa.

    My favorite days were spent at the beach just relaxing and enjoying the warm sunshine. We also did a bunch of sightseeing and visited state and national parks. There are always a few funny things that happen on a trip:

    • One late afternoon we stopped at a Wawa convenience store to pick up a couple of sodas and as I turned around there was a customer holding a live chicken in his arms. I kind of screamed and wanted to get out of there. 
    • Another day we rode the trolley from Tampa to Ybor City and I had the pleasure of sitting next to a pirate. Of course, he was dressed for some parade, but it was kind of comical. But what came next was even funnier. Once the trolley stopped in Ybor City we saw roosters and chickens running around in the streets. Who knew that these critters ran wild in the suburbs of Tampa? 

    These unusual experiences made for lots of laughs!

    Deb Sabbatical Blog (2)

    On our way home we spent a few days in Tennessee and Kentucky, including a stop at Buc-ees Travel Center, famous for its massive size and cleanliness. It’s a must-stop if you see one while traveling in the Southeastern U.S.!  We took MAJOR backroads from Chattanooga, Tennessee,  to Cave City, Kentucky. I told my husband that if something happened to us on those backroads no one would ever find us!

    What I came to realize during this time away is that I truly needed rest! A stressful couple of years had worn me down and I was exhausted. Taking care of parents had taken a bit of a toll on me. So, I did some of my favorite things. I baked, cooked, slept in, napped, spent time at the spa, and visited places I have never been before. 

    The final weeks of sabbatical back in Iowa was a time to reconnect with friends that I don’t get the opportunity to see very much. Movies, dinner, shopping, and of course endless talking! It truly was an escape from regular life to a relaxed pace, time to enjoy the simple pleasures and joys of life. And while “all good things must come to an end,” I carried with me more than souvenirs from my time off. I carried six weeks of rest, rejuvenation, a much slower pace of daily living and a mind that was clear and no longer tangled in knots. I can truly say I was ready to get back to work. It is funny how escaping our routines can help us find our way back to our true self. 

    In the next few years, I just need to figure out how I am going to occupy my time during retirement. Excuse me, I have some research and planning to do!


    Deb Longseth Client Service Specialist
    Deb Longseth is a Client Service Specialist and is responsible for managing administration and logistics of numerous one-time and ongoing events and sponsorships directed by the Communications and Marketing Department. Deb graduated from Des Moines Area Community College and attended Drake University. Before coming to work for Syverson Strege in 2005, she worked in higher education in Alumni and Development and Alumni Relations. Deb also belongs to Executive Women International.

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