THE SABBATICAL Three months in Italy.
"My partner lives in Padova," says Capelaci, "and we wanted to spend time together on his turf. I planned on doing a little soul-searching: I'm a third-generation Italian Canadian, and I wanted to tap into both sides of my nature. Now I can make a decent cup of espresso, barter in Italian markets, strut in heels along cobblestone roads and wrap a shawl around my shoulders Italian-style!"
"Seeing Venice under a rare blanket of snow."
"Scoring Prada Sport coats, Jil Sander shoes and several cashmere sweaters
at Prada's outlet in Levanella -- and paying a fraction of the regular price."
"Visiting Pescara, where I met my Italian relatives for the first time."
"People-watching solo in Padova's Prato della Valle, one of the largest piazzas in Europe."
"Feeling no guilt about any of the above!"
"It's much easier to get a sabbatical if you're good at your job than if you're a mediocre performer," says Barbara Moses, author of Dish: Midlife Women Tell the Truth About Work, Relationships and the Rest of Life. "Your company knows that you're just going to quit if you don't get the time off and will bend over backwards to keep its stars."
The perfect pitch
"Recommend someone for your position or advise on how your job can be restructured," says Moses.
"Show appreciation for your job and company."
"Demonstrate what your company will get out of giving you a sabbatical."
"Convince your employer that you can be a great role model of work/life balance and that you'll come back rejuvenated."
Ann Vanderhoof, writer, editor and author of An Embarrassment of Mangoes: A Caribbean Interlude
Two years sailing around the Caribbean "After 10 years of working together at Cottage Life-my husband was the founding art director, and I was the editor -- we found that work had become all-consuming," says Vanderhoof, "so we rented out our house and sailed south."
"Exploring the flora and fauna, traditions, music, folklore and food of the islands -- and meeting people along the way."
"Having time for each other and allowing the sides of ourselves that we like best to flourish."
"Developing a closeness and trust that I know many couples yearn for."
"Learning to slow down and give life time to unfold instead of running each day according to a battle plan."
Next in the ELLE Escape series: How to break away from your relationships. Find out here!