Ever heard of GAP year? That means taking a long period off whatever commitment you have, mainly school or maybe work. I know that most of you felt pressured by your friends when you see them already out there working, you felt that you should quickly get a job too and start earning your keep to pay off your study loans.
There are numerous articles over the internet explaining why you should do a GAP year and how it benefits you. They usually explained how GAP year allow you to experience the world and how it enhances you as a person, making you a better person for the next phrase of your life. Those are true and no doubt you should do GAP year for that. Well I think that GAP year is about YOURSELF, not for whatever reasons stated those articles. Reach out deep within your inner self and discover that you really want in the next phrase of your life. I am talking about graduates that are going to enter the harsh working world. Because this is the stage in life where there are uncertainties going on.
Lares Trek in the andes mountains in Peru. Summer we call it, but it was winter in the Southern hemisphere.
Most people do GAP year after college, university. Some people even do it in between school semesters, they just take a year off school and do it. I personally think that it is harder to take that amount of time off work to do a GAP year than to do it when you are a student. But ask yourself, when you have a full-time job, committed to paying your bills, house and the list goes on. You simply do not have the luxury of time to take a year off. How many people are willing to take that career break to do a GAP year?
So what should you be doing for your GAP year? I would say do anything you want, just get out of your comfort zone. Here’s a few choices by me. For wildlife lovers, you can do some wildlife volunteering projects in South Africa, maybe the big five conservation projects. You can go on a backpacking tour around Europe, try to stay rather than touch and go. Many people just go to a certain place, take pictures and get on with it. I believe in purpose travel, try to experience living like a local and learn a language maybe. That is going to be enriching for sure. You must be thinking that you need a lot of money for that. Well you can do Southeast Asia or Eastern Europe as cheaper alternatives, but that does not mean cheaper experiences, leave the more expensive parts of Europe for the next time.
Sunset at Santa Cruz, California
There are certain countries that have got the work and travel scheme where young adults or students can work and travel at the same time. This opportunity is perfect for people who need some funds for their travels. I know that the jobs can’t be awesome, probably some entry-level jobs, but just have fun and make some local friends while you are young. I worked myself off this summer in California and ended my summer with my virgin adventure to South America which was a bang! The wages are unable to completely fund your travels, but see it as a form of subsidy, you will be happier this way. There are also some online communities such as couchsurfing that help locals host travellers from all around the world, I see it as a very good chance to live it like the locals in this way, and of course, it helps you save some accommodation costs. So who says a GAP year can be expensive? Remember, it is just about your willingness to take the big leap.