During the eighth year of work (after working seven full, consecutive years), our full-time civil engineers, land surveyors, community planners and water/wastewater engineers are eligible for paid sabbaticals. This benefit includes 22 consecutive business days off plus approval on a discretionary bonus up to $2,000. The bonus can be applied to flight, lodging and other approved trip expenses. Last month, Chris Rundall took his sabbatical away from the office. The following is Chris’ story on how he spent his time off work.
Chris Rundall, PE, LEED AP, Baseline Owner/Division Manager
Sabbatical Destination: Punta Mita, Mexico
Unique Point: While waiting for the next set of waves, entertainment was provided by the local sea creatures—sea turtles popped their heads up to look around; hungry dorado chased little fish; and one day, a humpback whale breached out in the bay.
Field Report: For my sabbatical, I had a few things in mind that I wanted to incorporate: surfing, quality family time, and practicing my Spanish. As a family, we decided to spend our time in Punta Mita in Mexico at the north end of Banderas Bay. We rented a two-bedroom apartment in a villa that was located a couple blocks from the beach and made this our home for the next three weeks.
Most of my days began just after sunrise, surfing in a nearby surf break for a couple hours. While waiting for the next set of waves, entertainment was provided by the local sea creatures—sea turtles popped their heads up to look around; hungry dorado chased little fish; and one day, a humpback whale breached out in the bay. Also, nearly every day involved family beach time (boogie boarding, stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, swimming, kicking around a soccer ball, playing in the sand, picnics, and drinking Mexican beer). We visited outdoor markets in nearby La Cruz, as well as in Punta Mita. These provided some good Christmas shopping opportunities and great food. We went on a couple snorkel excursions via panga boat and saw humpback whales in the bay during these boat trips.
The food was also part of the fun. We cooked at home a fair amount with fresh produce from the corner mercado, making for delicious meals. I don’t think I can get tired of tacos, avocados, and fresh fruit! There was a nice variety of restaurants between beachfront locations and small family run spots scattered through town. One evening, our landlord hosted a delicious fish dinner for all the guests staying at the villa, which was a nice opportunity to get to know our hosts better and meet other guests.
One fun thing about being in one town for three weeks was getting to know the town better. Punta Mita is a small town and we probably walked or biked on every street in town during our stay. We enjoyed exploring and admiring the murals and artwork through town. We met a few locals and learned about the town’s history. Punta Mita, as the tourist knows it, is actually two towns divided by a seasonal drainage.
Overall, we had an incredible time. I came home feeling recharged and feeling fortunate to have the opportunity to take a sabbatical. I’m already daydreaming about the next one!