After 5 years of service, Influence Health employees are offered the opportunity for a sabbatical. The primary purpose of the Sabbatical Program is to allow employees time to recharge, rejuvenate, and return to work re-energized. Sabbaticals are planned, strategic job-pauses during which an employee should take time to engage in activities they may not otherwise have the time to do such as travel, volunteer, do research, learn a new skill, or fulfill a lifelong dream before returning to work.

Brandon Boelman, Data Services Engineer, shares about his sabbatical.

1. What do you do at Influence Health and what is your title?
I am a Software Engineer, working on COD9 and in Data Services with COD10.

2. Where did you go and why did you choose to go there?
I took two, “once in a lifetime” trips. First I took a 12-day trip on my motorcycle with my good friend, James. We covered 20 states and nearly 4,000 miles, starting in Iowa and heading south. I stopped at the Birmingham office to say, “Hi!” Next, we headed east, then north, with a northeastern destination of Laconia Bike Week (in New Hampshire), and then west and home. Some highlights included Gettysburg, some great food (like Dyers in Memphis and Ted’s in Meriden, Connecticut), lots of Harley-Davidson dealerships (for t-shirts), and of course the great riding with a friend! We also saw lots of wildlife, including a black bear that crossed the road in front of us in Vermont and was captured on video by my GoPro.

bike-week

The second half of my sabbatical, my wife, Val, and sons, Brody (10) and Kellen (8), flew to Europe to take a seven night cruise of the Mediterranean. We saw and experienced so much amazing history! We started in Barcelona, Spain, then visited Marseille, France (Pont du Gard and Avignon), Villefrance, France (Monaco and Monte Carlo), Genoa, Italy (Milan), Livorno, Italy (Pisa), Naples, Italy (Pompeii), and finally Rome (touring ancient Rome and the Vatican City). My wife and I both enjoyed all of the time that we got to spend together as a family, and my boys enjoyed the places we visited and everything on our ship (unlimited soft serve ice cream!).

boelman-family

3. How long did it take to plan the trip?
We planned for about two months. Once we chose a cruise destination, we set all of the details. The motorcycle trip was more free-flowing. We just had a destination and let the road dictate where we ended up each day.

4. What did your manager say when you asked for the time off?
He encouraged me to take the sabbatical, saying “You’ve earned it. Go!”

5. Share a favorite memory or two from your trip.
I really enjoyed seeing Gettysburg on two wheels. I could almost see the battle taking place in front of me as I rode through. We also got to meet my good friend, Christopher, in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, after his recent move to Rhode Island. And 4,000 miles on the motorcycle was very freeing!

Memories of getting to spend so much time with my family, seeing so many places, and getting to experience and learn together in southern Europe will be with me for a long time. Our accommodations in Rome overlooked the Colosseum, and my pictures of the boys in a window seat looking out are priceless!

boelman-boys-at-pisa

6. How did you feel on your first day back in the office?
I was refreshed and ready to get back to work. It took a while to get through all emails, but I was ready to get back to it. It has really carried over in the weeks since I’ve been home!

7. What would you tell someone worried about being gone/letting go of their projects for that long?
Work will always be here – I only get so many opportunities to have some incredible adventures with the people I love and I’m happy and grateful I took this opportunity!

boelman-boys-at-colesseum

8. Would you do it again? If so, what would you do differently?
Absolutely. I can’t wait until I’m eligible to take another sabbatical! I’m not sure I’d do much differently – ask me again in a few years.

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