Sabbatical: A period of time when college or university teachers or other workers are allowed to stop their usual work to study or travel, usually while continuing to be paid.
Notarize employees get to take a month-long sabbatical after their five-year anniversary. In my wildest dreams, I never thought I would work for a company that had the benefit of a sabbatical, but here I am!
I packed my bags.
I took my children to Panama. I was born there and have always wanted to bring my children back with me. I still have family there — both of my grandmothers, aunts, uncles, and cousins. We spent two weeks visiting family and seeing some of the sites.
My children enjoyed the Panama Canal. Seeing those big ships go through the locks is impressive. It’s a 45-minute process for the ships to get through on the Pacific side. The vessels then go onto Agua Clara on the Atlantic for complete passage. We were able to experience a dry dock, which only happens every eight to ten years.
Family time was something the children will never forget. My family planned a gathering for us, and the food was terrific. My grandma, aunts, uncles, and cousins really rolled out the red carpet. We even were able to attend a cousin's birthday, piñata included.
I was able to squeeze in a few other weekend trips for the remainder of my sabbatical.
My kids and I went to Winchester, VA, with my sister (who also just celebrated her fifth year at Notarize), her son, and my mom. It’s a blessing to have my sister work with me, and we had one week that our sabbaticals overlapped.
We headed to visit the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley. They were having a special exhibition, "Origami in the Garden." We saw life-size versions of the Japanese art of folding paper into decorative shapes and figures. My favorites were the squirrel and the nut and the paper's die-cast with all the folds. I need that in my home!
After the museum, we had breakfast at the Red Truck Bakery in Haymarket. It was so delicious. Homemade donuts, muffins, cakes, and pies. The owner had just written a cookbook, and my son Ca'naan, the cook in our family, had his book autographed.
We took another short trip with my mom to Washington D.C. to the Bible Museum. We had heard from friends about how much they had enjoyed their tour, and we thoroughly enjoyed it ourselves.
I finished my month with one more weekend trip to Ohio for our church convention. My children connected with some friends that they hadn’t seen since before the pandemic, and it was a great way to end my sabbatical.
I would be remiss if I didn’t do some gardening during my time off, so I got peppers, tomatoes (round two, the first ones didn't do well), and some flowers into the garden. We bought GreenStalks, a self-watering tower garden; hopefully, we will have strawberries in those before winter.
Takeaways from my sabbatical
This month has been a reminder to take time to be with family. The last five years have been pedal to the metal at Notarize! So much has happened — trailblazing state by state to bring greater access to online notarization, pivoting with COVID and its changing nuances, and continuing to grow rapidly. As an educator of remote online notarization, there is still much more work to be done, but I’m feeling energized after being able to take a step back thanks to my sabbatical.
Now onto the next five years!