There was a time when a Gap Year was something only students could enjoy between college and university or schooling and work, but today, a Gap Year is something everyone can take advantage of – taking time off and time out of everyday life to go travelling, volunteering and working abroad.
I took my Gap Year back in 1994, when I decided I had had it with teeth (I was a dental hygienist!) and that it was time for me to get out in the big wide world and do something completely different.
Assuring my parents this would be a 6-month adventure and that I would return to a ‘sensible’ job on my return to the UK, I packed my suitcases (hence the plural, I hadn’t learnt the art of packing light at that stage!) and headed off to the Canary Islands in search of some fun and sun.
Well, fun in the sun I most definitely had, and those 6-months quickly turned into 16-years, a husband, a dog, eight international house moves, and more travel experiences that I ever dreamed possible!
Today, I would have to say we have the best of both worlds – travelling for work, but if you find yourself stuck in a rut or desperate to take a break from the ordinary, a Gap Year might just be the challenge you are looking for.
If you have a generous travel budget the world is your oyster with a round-the-world flight ticket costing as little as £1600. Accommodations in some regions of Africa, Asia and South America can cost significantly less than what you would expect to pay at home, and providing you eat local cuisine in local restaurants your food budget can be as little as $5 per day. However, if you decide to go travelling in Australia, Brazil and Europe – your budget will need to be very generous indeed!
If money is tight, you might want to consider volunteering or taking a working Gap Year. There are numerous opportunities available in Africa, Asia, Oceania and South America, and in many instances, you can earn enough to pay for your trip or at least your food and lodgings.
Think you are too old to take a Gap Year? Think again! We met a 78-year-old Japanese man in Rio de Janeiro who had nothing more than an English phrase book and a few items of clothing in his rucksack. His dream was to travel the world, and he made that dream a reality with his very own Gap Year!