Leave work for a year to go live on a remote island? How a TED Talk inspired me to take a mid-career sabbatical


This is a particularly appealing story for many of us in stressful but stressful careers. I don’t think I could have done it but the idea is truly appealing.

TED Blog

Winston Chen's son, then TK-years-old, walks across a beach on a stormy day. Photo: Winston Chen Winston Chen left his job at a software company in Boston and moved his family to the island of Rødøy, population 108, for a year. Here, Chen’s son walks across a deserted beach on a stormy day. Photo: Winston Chen

By Winston Chen

Odysseus…Gauguin…Robinson Crusoe…and me?

Many people dream of the ultimate escape: throwing all the baggage of civilization away and taking off to live on a remote island. But few people—particularly professional couples with young kids—actually go through with it. And yet, that’s just what my family did: we left Boston, and my reliable job at a software company, to go live on a tiny island north of the Arctic Circle for a year, unsure of what exactly we’d do there or what we would face upon our return.

[ted_talkteaser id=649]The seed of this idea was planted three years before, when a friend made me watch a TED Talk by…

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