In the short term, a sabbatical provides time and space to:
recover from burnout
explore your interests
learn new skills
build new habits
spend time with friends and family
frontload or practice retirement
In the long term, a sabbatical provides time and space to reflect on what is important to you and pursue work that aligns with those values. It can help you design a more sustainable and fulfilling life.
A sabbatical is available much sooner than early retirement; you only need cash to cover expenses for a limited time instead of indefinitely.
Sabbaticals are better suited to time-sensitive goals like recovering from burnout, traveling, or raising a family that you'd like to do at a particular time in your life.
A sabbatical requires a high savings rate, frugality, and relatively large cash reserves to cover expenses while you're not working.
There is an opportunity cost of income and compounding investment gains from that income.
Stepping back from work means losing some of the non-financial benefits of that work, which can include a loss of meaning, power, and social connections from your job.
There is potential to lose career momentum, including expertise and professional network.
If you're not financially independent, there will be some pressure from having a defined runway and knowing that you will need to return to work eventually.