“If you have something in mind that is really important for you, listen and act.” Emma Paillard, LOUIS XIII Global Brand Manager, did just that in taking a sabbatical to embark on a surfing journey around the world.
What inspired you to do this?
I have always loved to travel. I had my sabbatical travel project in mind for several years: The idea kept growing in my mind. And then, there comes a point when you realize that if you don’t act now, you will regret it forever. So, I decided to do it, and then talk to Rémy Cointreau to find the best time to go.
How did you approach the company?
I first spoke with my managers during my annual evaluation to pitch my personal project as I envisioned it. Once I had my managers’ blessing, I worked with Global Talent and HR on the different steps to make the project happen. Rémy Cointreau gave me their full support, and the whole process went really smoothly.
The Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, French Polynesia, Easter Island, Brazil and Nicaragua.
How did you pick your destinations?
I mapped out my trip around surfing. I wanted to plan my trip around surfing, because otherwise, the world is big, so how do you choose? I chose surfing because I experienced a lot of surfing holidays with friends and found it not only to be a great way to meet new people, but also to visit a country. And through surfing, you learn patience, perseverance and humility.
If I had to choose only one: the first day in the plane, when the best is yet to come. I also enjoyed experiencing van life for 9 weeks. Every daily task in such a small space—cooking, dishwashing—becomes a real experience. And you feel so free and more connected to nature. You can open the van and enjoy your breakfast by the mountain or in front of the sea, and it’s the best sensation in the world.
The most surprising part of the journey?
The number of people I met on the road doing the same thing as me as a family with kids. For example, I met people traveling for 10 months with girls ages 8 and 10. It was inspiring. I also was surprised by how differently British and Latin culture live (hours, drinks, way of life).
- How having “experiences” is so much richer than having things. I traveled 6 months with only 12 kilos of belongings in my backpack, but I have never been so fulfilled, thanks to all the discoveries I made and the encounters I had.
- Learning how to disconnect and take time to enjoy each moment.
- Discovering how so many people live differently than us. There is no “one model.” There is an ocean of possibilities.
- Recognizing how important nature is for us. Being in nature is a sensorial experience that makes me feel at peace.
What did you gain from this experience?
- Curiosity: I discovered new cultures and people living a very different daily routine.
- Adaptability: I learned to live in foreign countries, in unfamiliar cultures and most of the time in quite basic comfort.
- Courage to step outside my comfort zone.
- Maturity from the whole journey.
What do you feel is most important to share with others about your journey?
If you have something in mind that is really important for you, listen and act. As explorer JL Etienne said, Résistez à la tentation de l’abandon. There are plenty of good reasons not to do something, but so many more reasons to DO IT. Take the leap.