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I quit what many would consider a successfull job in programming and had a sabbatical year. Moved to a smaller town and down sized everything in spending to the point where I pay $600 per month for housing, food and bills, so living of my savings haven't been an issue at all.

I have focused on things like reading (read +40 books in 2017, up from 1-2 per year), wood working, sketching, running and skiing. To keep up my programming skills I have done a deep dive in new programming languages and fiddling with some side projects. It has been an incredible year for personal development and it has changed my perspective on what things are important in life (sitting in front of a screen 40-60 hours a week not being one of them). I highly recommend everyone to do this at least once in your career!

What did you do about your social life? Isn’t that lonely to be away from friends and family for so long?

actually I moved back to friends and family. But it does get lonely sometimes when you don't have a strict schedule and lots of free time when people are locked in at their 9-5 jobs..

I'm 27 and I did the similar thing last year. Having plenty of time for personal development is indeed great. But to be honest, I'm anxious about the limited social networking in smaller town from time to time.

> I pay $600 per month for housing, food and bills

Is that in the US? Sounds really low...

>smaller town and down sized everything

You can very much pull that off in lots of small towns in the US, but yeah, you're living a close to thread bare lifestyle.

Not really. My girlfriend and I together make more than 200k/y and spend less than 1k/month on expenses while we prepare for her to launch a business. We cook food from CSA and our Farmer's market, have a cozy 2 bedroom in a quiet city and generally just don't buy a lot of things we don't need.

Which city? And 1k includes rent?

it's incredibly how much you can spend on take out, drinks and useless knicknack/gadgets. It was easily $300-800 for me before (camera geek).

But made an active choice to cut them out. And it hasn't been a loss for me, instead of take out I make exactly what I want (and no stress now that I have time to cook), instead of drinks out invite friends over and have a drink (cheap) at home, instead of useless things try to realize that you don't actually need them. Also living in a place with public transport helps, but I mostly bike everywhere.

Nope, in Sweden

Hi I've also recently (re)discovered reading books. What books do you recommend?

I use GoodReads a lot for discovery. See what friends are reading and browse lists that people make (https://www.goodreads.com/list)

Curious if you'd like to share your age and when you started your professional career? Do you recommend doing this earlier or later in one's career?

I am in my mid 30s, started my professional career in 2008. Hard to tell if when is a good time for doing it. My feeling is I should have done it earlier but I guess it depends on your situation. Maybe if you have an active social life and hobbies you love it will be easier at any point. If you have worked a lot and over long time I think friends/hobbies can fade, and it will be easier to fall into loneliness/depression if you quit working.

But, I think doing it early (say after ~3 years) has the advantage of settling/deepening the understanding of your work. Often the early years are super hectic and you try to be your best, neglecting things like mindful reflection. I believe sabbatical can help this, kind of like how sleep organizes and "cleans up" thoughts/memories. We need both the short sleep and "long" sleep.

Do you mind sharing the town?

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