Qualification leave is the last hurrah before being sucked into the depths of the quicksand that is big corporate law. Any well-respected, halfway-decent firm will offer qualification leave to its trainees who are lucky enough to have a job waiting for them at said firm after they have gone through a grueling two years (or eighteen months for some well-deserving old folks with life experience, moi).
But the questions are – where to go and for how long – keeping in mind that all of this happens before starting to make the big bucks they promise you during the long, long years of law school and training.
As if I need any reason whatsoever to start planning a vacay. Please.
So when I met with my future big boss, he suggested taking some unpaid time off before I start getting down to business. He literally said “take 3 weeks and go on a long holiday”. Well, if you insist! I may or may not have said “what am I going to do for three weeks!?”… and then mumbled something about already having more vacation time than my husband… and said that it is not like I am going to go eat, pray, love my way around India with a backpack or something ridiculous like that, which made him laugh. But seriously.
Because I am the sole March qualifier in my intake, I will be all by my lonesome for qualification leave and because my qualification leave falls in March, I literally have to go (#firstworldproblems) to the ends of the earth to find any sort of hot weather and sunshine (le sigh). And because all of this is unpaid leave, this trip is going to have to be done on the super cheap (one of my least favorite things, but I enjoy a challenge).
During a little lull in work last week, I started planning… this means excel files, charts, color-coding, fare-tracking and hyperlinking the shiznit out of glorious Trip Advisor! I started by looking at relatively inexpensive destinations, both in terms of distance from London and in terms of cost of food/hotels/activities there. I had a pretty sweet list going (Antigua, Aruba, Belize, Brazil, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curacao, Mexico, Seychelles, South Africa, St. Lucia, Thailand and Turks and Caicos). I was pretty much set on somewhere islandy and beachy, so there was a minimum average temperature requirement of 78 degrees in March (because if it is any cooler, I may as well stay in London).
I quickly eliminated Brazil and South Africa (because I want to do those right and not necessarily on the super tight budget of £25 per day max, and yes, that includes hotels). There were some great options in Mexico and the Caribbean but most of them were all inclusives that were above our budget. Also, since my most favoritest main man can only take two weeks, I wanted somewhere where I could stay an extra week to get my open water scuba diving certification.
After several days of intense research and couple-y discussion, we have settled on our (my qualification) destination: THAILAND.
Some of you may have heard through the grapevine (social media) that just before I started my contract we went on a three week trip around southeast Asia (best honeymoon EVER) – hitting up Bangkok, Manila, Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi, Bali and Lombok. Well, after serious consideration, we are now book-ending my training contract with a return trip to one of the places we wanted to see a bit more of.
We were floored by the Thai people during our short stay in Bangkok and are thrilled to be going back for more fun. This time around we will be heading to the islands, for two glorious couple weeks of sunshine, elephant trekking and pad thai and one week of scuba diving and beach reading for yours truly.
Six months, three weeks and two days until departure!