A Working Sabbatical: 2 GDWers Take on Budapest
If you had the opportunity to work remotely, anywhere in the world, where would you go? This is the question we asked ourselves this past spring when we got the opportunity to take a working sabbatical. We are Taylor and Alexa and have been working together for almost two years. I (Taylor) am engineering project manager, and Alexa is an SEO strategist at Great Dental Websites.
One of the benefits that Great Dental Websites offers is a working sabbatical. After one year of working at the company, employees are eligible to work remotely from a location of their choosing. We decided to take GDW up on this and we chose to go to Budapest for 6 weeks while also traveling around Europe. How this worked was, we continued our normal roles and jobs in the company, working Mondays through Thursdays at our normal hours. One of the obvious challenges was the time difference between Budapest and Denver, so we had check-ins with our managers to stay up to date, and were able to video into meetings with our teams.
When we were deciding where to go, we took into account our budget, accessibility, and places neither of us had been. Budapest checked all of our requirements and we found an apartment right in the city center that was perfect for our time there. We were in awe of the cities history, architecture and culture, so it turns out Budapest was the perfect choice. We spent a lot of time at the ruin bars, touring the main city attractions, and eating goulash. Budapest is a must-visit for anyone going to Europe.
We used some PTO to take off Fridays during our trip, and one full week and were able to travel around to other countries. We started off the trip in Dublin, and spent 3 nights in a hostel and exploring the city, which was one of the highlights our whole sabbatical. We took a day and drove around the countryside of Ireland, and in true Irish fashion it rained all day and we ended the day soaking wet. We enjoyed Guinness and live music in Temple Bar and lots of fish and chips.
We also took a full week off and went to Italy, starting in Venice. We met up with another coworker who happened to also be there, and Venice stands out to us for so many reasons. We indulged on seafood pasta and wine and ended the stay on Alexa’s birthday drinking champagne on a dock with our feet in the Grand Canal. Next, we headed to Florence and got our fill or renaissance history and art, and more seafood pasta. We ended the week in Rome and toured Vatican City, and had a great time making friends from all over the world.
Back at our apartment, Budapest was starting to feel like home and we became regulars at the local chimney bread shop. There were so many memorable experiences, like one day when we were walking home we were stopped from crossing the street and had to wait while Vladimir Putin’s envoy drove by. We found out that the best hangover cure after spending a night at the ruin bars was a day at the thermal baths that are popular around the city. Our favorite was the Széchenyi Thermal Baths where we could sit outside in the heated pools and people watch for hours. The architecture of Budapest stands out, and we toured the Parliament building and castle which were the main attractions along the Danube River, and they were overwhelmingly beautiful and extravagant.
Leaving Budapest was harder than we expected it to be, but we had our last stop, Barcelona, to look forward to. We only had two days in Barcelona before we flew back home so we made sure to eat as much paella as possible and we toured the Sagrada Familia. The energy and vibes in Barcelona were the perfect way to end our sabbatical on a high note.
Coming home was hard but we looked forward to not sleeping in hostel beds anymore and living out of a backpack. This opportunity is an experience we are so grateful for and will treasure for the rest of our lives. We encourage other GDW employees to take advantage of this amazing benefit and we hope to have the opportunity to do it again someday.