Semi Sabbatical – Month 1

Month 1, in the books!

So my husband and I have finally made the decision to quit our in-person jobs to go on a semi sabbatical!

We call it a “semi” sabbatical because we are still technically working during this time. However, we are only working part time, and we are working remote jobs that allow us flexibility to travel.

But the main reason we are going on a semi sabbatical is to reconnect with each other, our friends and family, and to remember why we love the work that we do.

So on April 1, we said good-bye to our in-person physical therapy jobs, along with the lease on our apartment. It was tough saying good-bye to our patients, but the month of April proved that we made the right call.

Getting Buck Wild at a bachelorette party in Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville, Tennessee

I actually started my portion of our semi sabbatical a little earlier, with a bachelorette party for one of my good friends in Nashville, Tennessee! The girls and I spent the weekend bar hopping, enjoying live music, and taking in the liveliness of this city. I had never experienced Nashville before, and the music scene here is truly above and beyond anything I would have imagined. Plus, exploring the town with a fun group of ladies made the experience even more enjoyable!

Going on a crisp, cool morning walk in Chatham, NJ

Chatham, New Jersey

The hubby and I met up in New Jersey, where we spent the night in the suburb town of Chatham with our friend’s parents before we caught a red eye the next day to Milan, Italy. Chatham is a beautiful and picturesque east coast town, with gorgeous homes and big lots and trees abundant. Whoever says that New Jersey is the “armpit” of America, clearly has not explored Chatham!

Duomo di Milano, aka the Milan Cathedral

Milan, Italy

Our semi sabbatical started to feel more real once we touched down in Milan, Italy. We got to check out Duomo di Milano, the fifth largest Christian church in the world! Also called the Milan Cathedral, it covers an entire city block and has over 3,000 statues, gargoyles and figures.

We also got to see The Last Supper painting, which was an incredible and powerful sight to see. It is originally a wall painting, and the original church it was painted in was actually bombed during World War II. However, by covering the painting with a wall of sandbags, they were still able to keep it intact!

So. Much. Pasta. Mmmmmmmmmm…

Bologna, Italy

After a few days in Milan, we continued our semi sabbatical to Bologna, which was a short hour train ride away. Our primary reason for visiting Bologna was to attend the wedding of our two good friends that we knew from our grad school days. Bologna is the 7th most populous city and the food capital of Italy. And after eating all the tortellini and tagliatelle, I can see why!

Crazy that we met these amazing people in PT school back in 2013, and we’re still friends to this day!

The wedding was situated in the hills of Pianoro, at a gorgeous winery overlooking the countryside. This evening really reminded us of why we chose to go on a semi sabbatical. Reconnecting with our friends who we met almost a decade ago, in this beautiful country, filled our hearts.


After the wedding, we flew to Lisbon, Portugal. Our semi sabbatical continued with the help of my old coworker and good friend. She is Portuguese and recently moved back to Lisbon last year. She planned out the entire week for us, and I am forever grateful for her as our tour guide. I don’t think we would have seen as much as we would have hoped for if it wasn’t for her!

The OG Portuguese sausage! Hawaii people will understand 😛

Lisbon, Portugal

We spent the first day in the city of Lisbon, eating copious amounts of sausage and pasteis de nata, as we walked on the cobblestone sidewalks on downtown. We walked along the river, and explored Time Out Market, which had so many food options to choose from.

Can you spot the hubby in the castle?

Sintra, Portugal

Then we explored Sintra, a cute tourist town just outside of Lisbon. In this town, we ate travesseiros and drank ginjinha out of chocolate cups. We visited Quinta da Regaleira, a castle/garden that was created by a bored, rich dude who wanted to open a portal to another dimension. I wish I was joking, but I’m serious! He built a bunch of castles and caves surrounding his palace in the lush hillside of Sintra.

Gorgeous cliffside in Cascais

Cascais, Portugal

We stopped in Cascais, a coastal beach/cliff town just west of Lisbon. The main attraction is Boca do Inferno, or Hell’s Mouth, which is a cave that is similar to a blow hole. We watched the sunset over the Atlantic here, and it was truly a sight to see. To watch a sunset over the Atlantic was also a first for su!

Came for the views, stayed for the port wine 🙂

Porto, Portugal

We drove to Porto for a day trip, where this city by the river was full of beautiful architecture, many street vendors, and a gratuitous amount of port wine. Port wine is made in the region just east of Porto (hence the name), and all the ones we tried during our tasting and cellar tour were fantastic. We also got to listen to live traditional Portuguese music, watching the sunset on the river, as we enjoyed our port wine, which was such a neat experience.

Hard to believe they have big wave surf competitions here during the winter!

Nazare, Portugal

We did a quick trip to Nazare, where the beach is popular for its massive waves during the winter/spring months. The biggest wave ever surfed in the world was here, measuring at almost 30 meters tall. But when we visited, it was completely flat. It was hard to picture a wave that big here!

This Hawaii girl was in her element in Algarve

Algarve, Portugal

Our last day of our semi sabbatical in Portugal was in the southern coastal beach district of Algarve. It’s typically warmer and sunnier in this region as compared to the west coast, and is a popular tourist destination for Europeans. We were lucky enough to have such warm weather, that we even got to jump in the ocean for a bit!

Back to California

We returned to Los Angeles, where we spent the majority of the last two weeks of April with our good friends who we had gotten closer with during the pandemic. These two were a part of our “quarantine bubble,” and it was nice to be able to spend more time with them before we left Los Angeles.

Shredding the gnar gnar

Mammoth Mountain, California

We drove up to Mammoth during the week to get one last mountain day in for the season. Going on a Wednesday was WAY less crowded than our usual weekend trips. We got a ton of runs in, and we still had time at the end to grab a beer at the local brewery before driving back down to LA.

Paddling an OC1 in Morro Bay

Central Coast, California

We also did a little impromptu trip to the central coast of California. We spent a few days during the week in Pismo Beach, San Luis Obispo, and Morro Bay. I was privileged enough to be able to paddle and OC1 during our time in Morro Bay! The bay was calm and quiet, and I hadn’t paddled for years. It felt good to be back in my element, enjoying the peace and serenity of Morro Bay.

Next month, we continue our semi sabbatical in San Diego, followed by Phoenix, then making our way up to Northern California for Memorial Day weekend. Stay tuned!

If you’d like to continue to track our journey across the US and the world, follow us on instagram: @thirddecadenomads

And if you’re looking to find ways to save some money so that you can start planning for a semi sabbatical, check out these other blog posts:

Note: I am not a certified financial advisor/planner or a certified financial analyst or a CPA or an accountant or a lawyer. Remember, I am an allied health professional, just like you!This website/blog is for entertainment and educational purposes only. Please consult with your financial advisor(s) regarding your personal finance, investment, and tax matters. 

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