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      A 16.000 km road trip with a toddler during my sabbatical at the end of 2020
      February 08, 2021

      Sabbatical in the last months of 2020

      Sabbatical in the last months of 2020? 16.000 km with your own car 😉? And a 1.6 years old toddler? Great Time that reminded me MY Why to work for Continental!

      2020 was for all of us a disruptive year with echoes that influenced significantly our life choices overall. For me, last year brought an extended maternity leave from my full-time career at Continental, my best friend’s loss to cancer... a mindset reset and a meaningful sabbatical time with my family. This sabbatical allowed me to experience travelling @ Europe, taste the  remote work while teaching online or offering Team Happy Friday’s  few hours a month, but most importantly  reminded me Why did I choose to work in Continental and Why, after 12 years, I still find our company’s purpose so close to my personal values.

      2020 proved me once again that if we are healthy, everything is possible. I was so grateful and full of hope, to see that even in lockdown, we have social tools to Trust, act For One Another and support each other. The fundraising campaign done for my best friend’s immunotherapy treatment, organized ad-hoc online in the pandemic hard circumstances, was successful in only 5 days. Colleagues with our strong For One Another DNA, friends, but also unknown people from all over the world, were offering their help.  Unfortunately, even though Alexandra had her treatment immediately, her body was not able to keep the pace with her desire to live and only in a few weeks, her spirit travelled away, with deep gratitude to everybody that believed in her until the end.

      This hard moment reminded me to be grateful of having a today and our personal power to make the best out of it in everything we choose to do. It also gave me the courage to mitigate my fears, the COVID -19 risks and go with all the safety measures we had in our control, into this sabbatical around Europe using our personal car.

      Travelling by car with a 1.6-year-old toddler, 16.000 km, seems not an easy job in normal times either, but doing it during the pandemic while ensuring your family’s health, could be mission impossible. Well… not for us!

      Again, Passion to Win, Trust and For One Another guided our Freedom to Act in a safe manner and helped us get back home safe after almost 3 months of travelling by car in 10 countries and around 30 cities, from the mountains to the seaside, with amazing family moments and big gratitude for everything we’ve discovered in our way from Romania to Croatia-Italy-France-Spain-Gibraltar.. to name a few.

      We decided to travel in September, outside of the touristic time, using our personal car in order to feel more in control regarding the physical distance & exposure to crowded places. It was the perfect time also to offer our baby-toddler the opportunity to enjoy natural parks, spend more time in nature and feel the sand and play on the beach.

      Cooking healthy meals for our daughter, Eva Beatrice, ensuring still a daily routine while travelling from one destination to another, choosing safe accommodations, ensuring safety in all the indoor/outdoor places and keeping her interest low for mobile or screen time , were small challenges that made us enjoy even more our sabbatical.

      Spending so much time travelling by car, made me realize once again how grateful I am to be part of Continental! I know how much work and passion is invested so that we all feel safe in our transportation. And I felt it more powerful when our personal car, with its Continental’s affordable, safe mobility solutions, allowed us to reach all our destinations.


      As drivers, we’ve encountered in our way: high temperatures, snow, heavy fog and rain. We faced many challenges like driving early mornings while our daughter was still sleeping in her car seat, or through crowded highways or unmarked roads.

      It was a great experience to feel the customer’s and the employee’s voices expressing that what we are doing in Continental has a really big impact in people’s lives – from the tires ready to keep you on track no matter the weather, to the electronic break system ready to avoid a wandering dog impact and helping you to stop the car in the middle of the night so that a deer will cross the road  in the Slovenian mountains….or the infotainment system that makes you enjoy much more the sights along with your favorite music, in addition to the reliable map system to keep you on route...just to mention a few of the products developed by our colleagues.

      I felt proud to see Continental products signs at hand for our customers and Continental’s fans using things with our logo the beach.

      We’ve appreciated how beautiful our old Europe is, how many amazing landscapes can offer and how easy it is to travel as citizens of UE. We feel so grateful for the many moments we experienced in this short sabbatical as tourists, as a family and as individuals and we can only recommend such time off, at least once in a lifetime.

      None of these experiences would  have been possible without the great value based culture we have in Continental that allowed me, firstly - to go in my maternity leave with no worries ( we have a reliable succession planning process in place and great team members that kindly found ways to manage my activities), secondly - to feel authentic and live our values in my personal life as well – apply the freedom to act with trust, attention to safety measures; and thirdly – to travel safe by car, also because of my colleagues essential contribution to the mobility industry.

      Since January 2021, I started my working mom journey and I am looking forward to actively contribute as an enabler to our transformation. With our passion to win, trust, for one another mindset and with our colleagues savvy technology super powers, I am sure we will make a meaningful difference in people‘s lives beyond today’s mobility reality.

      I feel blessed to be part of this 150 year old company that will shape our mobility future and will enable me to enjoy more travelling in an autonomous, comfortable, safe and smart car!

      Thank you, dear Continental Colleagues for all your work and contribution to our mobility! I am now more aware that my job is done when we are capable to deliver 100% safe, smart & environment friendly mobility solutions to everybody around the world!


      This article was written by our employee.

      Cristina Stefania Leca

      TMOD Country Coordination and Team Leader HRBP& Recruiting