Before we get started and look at a whole bunch of reasons why you should take a Gap Year… let’s address that big fat elephant in the room that’s been causing us all sorts of anxiety over the last 18 months! If you’re anything like me you’ll be absolutely dying to get on a plane and escape to some idyllic tropical beach somewhere far away. Well with all the recent developments and the vaccine roll out in full force, it really doesn’t look too far away! Are you ready to take a Gap Year? If the answer is YES… it’s time to get planning!
So… what even is a Gap Year?
That’s a very good question… generally speaking it’s a period of time usually taken after graduating from either high school or further education to go abroad and travel the world. Exactly what that means is completely up to you. The most important thing to focus on when planning a gap year is that you do what makes YOU happy! It really depends on the kind of person you are, you might decide to just take a few months to travel instead of committing a whole year… that’s completely OK! In a nutshell, taking a gap year is time off study/work for you to go and do something completely awesome… like TRAVEL!
Well, here’s 7 reasons why you should take a gap year in 2022:
1. Invaluable life experience
I left as a boy and became a man… well, I grew a travel beard if that counts? In all seriousness, as well as visiting incredible new places and doing some epic experiences, you’ll be picking up invaluable life skills during your time on the road. I couldn’t even cook before I went travelling and to be honest, I didn’t realise I’d have to until I first started living the hostel life in Australia. Luckily for me, I spent most of my travels in Asia which has definitely taken my ability to cook away as there’s no real need to when you can grab a Vietnamese noodle soup on the streets of Hanoi for as little as £1.
2. Discovering new cultures
The world is a big old place and each of the 195 countries that are out there all have a story to tell. What better way to hear that story or experience that culture than exploring these lands yourself. One of the biggest reasons students take a gap year is to learn about different cultures and of course taste all the different flavours along the way. Just because we’ve taken a gap year doesn’t mean we need to stop learning, the honest truth is – we’ll never stop learning about this incredible planet we are lucky enough to live on.
Be sure to explore things a little off the beaten path. I strongly recommend visiting some of the less developed and with respect – the less fortunate corners of the globe. It’s often said that those who see more, go home with far more respect and appreciation of the little things in life.
3. Meeting new people
This one sounds a little obvious, but going travelling opens up the opportunities of meeting way more people than you would ever meet if you were stuck at your local pub every weekend. Not only will you mingle with more people… but you’ll also find yourself chatting and making friends with people from all kinds of different backgrounds. There is absolutely no doubt – you’ll be finishing your gap year with new life long friendships that you will treasure forever… plus you’ll have some new travel buddies to adventure with next time!
4. Time to think & ‘find yourself’ 🙈 (did I just say that)
We all go through stages of feeling a bit lost in life… do I want to go to university? What should I study? Am I ready to start working a 9-5? Should I settle down and start a family? WHOOOHH Stop right there! Without getting too deep here, maybe you just need some time to work this sh** out?! If this is you… go travel and give yourself a break and see what may come of it all. There is this magical feeling of hitting the road without the usual distractions back home and the pressures from mum and dad. Travel will put you in a happy place with a positive mindset, you might find that you discover a passion you never realised you had #gettingspiritual 🤸🏼♀️
5. Endless opportunities
You honestly never know what could come of your time away ‘living your best life’. I left my semi-professional football career with a scholarship on the table to take a gap year. Granted my gap year turned into a ‘Gap Life’ (not sure if that’s actually a thing, if not I just invented it). Anyway… the moral of the story is – you never know what opportunity is around the corner! The people you meet, the experience you’ll share, the stories you will hear will all inspire you to be the best version of yourself. You never know… you might learn a new skill, pick up another language or even find the love of your life… Who knows!? #findyourfreedom
6. Become more employable
Life experience is arguably the single most important thing that a new employer will be looking for! Put yourself in their shoes – would you rather someone who went straight from university with no life experience or someone that’s visited a bunch of different countries and been around lots of different kinds of people? The myth of decreased employability on your CV/resume is complete rubbish… it’s how you deliver that life experience during the recruitment process that will impact whether or not you get the job.
7. Have an awesome time!
Putting everything else to one side, let’s be completely honest and put everything on the table… the biggest single reason why you should take a gap year is – TO HAVE AN EPIC TIME! Afterall, life is for living right? Do you want to look back when you’re older and wish you experienced more of what life has to offer? I definitely didn’t! Travel will absolutely CHANGE YOUR LIFE. I have friends that settled in Australia and live the real Aussie lifestyle, I have other friends who took their passion home and started a sustainable lifestyle brand. For me I was lucky enough to meet my girlfriend in Vietnam, she is from a small town south of Hanoi and shares the same incredible passion that I have of living a super simple life in the rice field taking in all the little things that life has to offer.
If there is 1 thing you should take from this blog… YOU ONLY HAVE 1 LIFE – go out and live it to its fullest!
So you ask again ‘Why take a gap year?’, I have a better question for you… why not!?
While you sit there trying to find even 1 reason to justify partnering with those hard earned pennies you’ve saved from that boring office job. I’ll be cooking up my next travel plans and sharing all those cheesy travel quotes on my insta story… ‘Make memories, not things’, ‘Life is a book, don’t only read 1 page’ 😂. If you fancy joining me on that next big adventure, you know where to find me! ✌🏼
But wait… where do I even start you ask?
Planning a gap year doesn’t need to be this master plan that is mapped out from start to finish. Of course, it’s important to mock up a bucket list and be clear on what you’d like to get out of this time away from studies/life. You may want to start your year off doing a working holiday visa in Australia or if Asia takes your fancy maybe you want to jump on a couple of trips to get you started! Either way, we always recommend having a set of expectations or otherwise known as ‘non-negotiables’ – these will be the things you ABSOLUTELY have to do on a gap year!
What kind of things can I do?
To be completely honest – the possibilities are endless. Like everything in life it really boils down to what drives you on the inside and how hard you push yourself. For some, they might just want to take a year off and see as much as physically possible, others might want to mix things up with travel and other more ‘productive’ experiences. Here a few ideas to get you started;
- Work abroad – In places like Australia and Canada, you can actually participate in a work abroad program that allows you to legally work for a set period of time. Most people arrive and do a bit of travel first and then earn that money back that you spent having a good time to go again on that next adventure!
- Volunteering – This of course has endless benefits and possibilities. It very much is exactly what it says on the tin. After some careful planning and a sh** tonne of research, you’ll choose some kind of placement that will see you making a positive impact within a community or within some form of wildlife conservation.
- Learn a new skill – What better time to learn something new than when taking a gap year! During my first year away from home I learnt to scuba dive qualifying as an open water certified PADI diver. If you are even slightly interested in the underwater world this should be top of your bucket list! Thailand is a great place to do it!
- Just Travel – If you just want to see as many places as physically possible… just go for it! Set yourself some boundaries and hit the road. We would always suggest not going too deep into uncharted waters on your first big trip, Australia and South East Asia are perfect for solo travellers!
Also, don’t just think you have to pick one or the other. More often than not you’ll be able to combine them. Why not jump on a month around Thailand & Vietnam on your way to Australia?
Well, that is pretty much everything you’ll need to get even slightly pumped about the idea of a gap year. If you need any help along the way whether it’s for planning, booking trips or just asking for tips & advice. Slide into the DM’s or schedule a call with one of the team! We are always happy to help and love helping people plan trips!