Gap Year: Reloaded – Lessons From My First Gap Year For My Second
As I write this on my iPad, I’m bumbling along on a train towards London to catch my flight out of the country. I’ve had this trip mentally planned for a while but to be honest I only booked a flight 3 weeks ago and packed yesterday. It’s only just really hit me what I’m about to start: a cross continent overland trip from Vancouver to Antarctica and everything in between. I’m not going to lie, I’m slightly aroused by the thought of this.
So where am I going exactly? Well I couldn’t really tell you. No I’m not being childish, it’s not a secret, I just don’t really know exactly. As a rough guess I’ll be doing around 18 countries and the usual sights and scenes that go with visiting North, Central and South America.
I don’t mean to sound like a hippy but it’s really not about the destination but the journey. I find that a lot of backpackers like to tick boxes, you know, cute pic with poor kids, riding an elephant, a bungee pic from New Zealand etc. There’s nothing wrong with that and hell I’m one of those people (comes with the territory when writing a blog), but this trip really isn’t about that at all.
2012 was an interesting year for me. I had my quarter life crisis. I was around a camp fire on the beach in Mexico. Everyone else thought I was napping but instead I was looking at the stars, had my little moment and thought ‘f*ck this’. I came back blew up my life as I knew it and the rest is history. I’m back to being a homeless digital nomad again. It’s all about being selfish. As they say in hip hop “Ima do me!”
Right time to get Baz Luhrmann on your ass and dispense some advice about taking a Gap Year or long term travel.
It’s really easy to make friends but people find it hard to break them. People are afraid to have that tough talk, things go unsaid and resentment kicks in. Why keep negative influences in your life that don’t serve you? You know what I mean, you’re proud of something and you put it on your Facebook and there’s always one dick who writes some shit in a comment. Why do they feel the need to bring you down? How about they come up to your level? So people who don’t support your life decisions, travel or otherwise, need a talking to or need to disappear. I call it de-weeding the social garden.
This is a solo race
Stop feeling like you will be behind. So what if your friends are now married, on the property ladder, one year ahead of you on the career ladder. Good for them. They picked their path and you picked yours. You’re running your own race and there is no need to look left or right. Pick a path and walk it.
You won’t miss out
I was always worried that I’d miss out on stuff that was going on back home. When I got back from my first Gap Year and asked “so what did I miss?” I guarantee there won’t be much. So this time I’m not sweating it. Sure I’ll miss my nephew growing up and the grand opening of the new Morrisons supermarket, but it’s really no biggy. If you put your life on hold for other people you’ll never get anywhere.
Show me the money
A common misconception, and negative statement is – “I can’t afford to travel”
I call bullshit.
What you should be thinking is – “How can I afford to travel?”
I recently asked friends on Facebook how much do they spend on a typical night out in London. The answers varied from Â£60 to Â£100. You could meet Karl Kennedy twice for that, get a return flight to Europe or bungy jump in New Zealand. I’m not saying don’t have a life but maybe think about what you do spend your money on and skip the odd night out and save instead. You’ll have a travel fund in no time.
Apathy kills travel dreams
As you can imagine, travel is my favourite topic of conversation and I get into it a lot with a variety of people. It’s amazes me that people have huge travel dreams and don’t even bother looking into them. “I don’t know how much it would cost” or “I’m not sure how much time I could have off work” are things I hear often. I always ask if they’ve checked and shockingly the answer is usually no! It takes minutes to pick up the phone and ring STA Travel or ping an e-mail to HR and check what their policy is on sabbaticals. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
People say I’m living the dream. No, I’m living ‘A’ dream. My dream. Ask yourself this question; Snap your fingers and you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go? Now when can you realistically go to this place and how much would it cost. Those are the big ones, answers those and you’ve got yourself a trip sorted. Everything else is just minor details. Packing list? Nah, as long as you’ve got a bank card and a passport what else do you really need. Travel solo or with a friend? You’ll have fun either way. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Remember, one bite at a time.
Now do me a favour, actually do yourself a favour, pick up the phone and call a travel agent and find out how much that flight is to that place you spend time day dreaming about.