Do you think a Gap Year is just for kids? Do you want to escape your humdrum job and do something worthwhile? Do you need encouragement to make a change? The ‘Adult Gap Year’ is becoming increasingly popular. In the latest World Travel Blogger article, Caroline Revell, of Original Volunteers, shares some great reasons to take time out and make a difference.
10 reasons to take an Adult Gap Year
Volunteering and travelling is often marketed at the twenty-somethings finding themselves in the world. This is no longer true. More mature volunteers are taking the leap and planning an ‘Adult Gap Year’. Here are 10 really good reasons you should go for it!
1. Meet New People
You don’t need someone to set off with. Solo Travel is a great way to go. You will find like-minded people, all keen to meet others to enjoy their experience with. It is likely you will meet someone and plan a second trip with! You’ll know you already get on well and are suitable travelling companions.
2. Use Your Home As Income
Students, the typical gappers are known for being poor. It makes sense taking a gap year when you’re older, naturally, you will have more money to do more stuff! Travelling without financial reins is liberating. For mortgage-free travellers heading to low-cost destinations, rental income could cover all your monthly travel expenses and more.
3. You Have A Lot To Offer
We think we know everything in our teens, how wrong we were. You can be more appreciative of things and understand other people more when you have lived a bit, whether you are using your skill to volunteer abroad in an underdeveloped country or just offering words of wisdom to others.
4. Take a Deserved Break
Wanting to escape the 9-5 to travel doesn’t mean you have to change your job. People usually associate taking a gap year with a career change. Howeveer, many businesses offer long-term sabbaticals for people to go travelling, so have a chat with your HR department or career adviser.
5. Change Career
Realising you’re in the wrong career is daunting, but remember – you’re not imprisoned, no one is forcing you to continue the career path you are on. Volunteering can be a great way to try out different things and get a better sense of what career you want when you return home. Affordable volunteering programmes can also make your gap year cheaper.
6. Learn A New Language
Language classes and online tools are ‘two a penny’ but can still take up valuable time before you depart. There is no easier way to learn a new language than throwing yourself in the deep end, surrounded by locals. By speaking with locals you will learn the everyday language needed, rather than stuffy grammar and out of date phrases. You don’t want to arrive in Morocco to find you learnt the wrong type of Arabic!
7. Get To Know Yourself
Stripping away daily distractions at work and home gives you time to get to know yourself on a more personal level. Long journeys with strangers can teach us a lot about ourselves. You will discover your strengths and weaknesses, maybe you’re better in a crisis and more helpful to others than you realised.
8. Experience a Different Culture
Seek out opportunities to spend time with local people in a relaxed, informal way. You will learn far more about the culture than from large organised tours. A great way to do this is via personal tour guides, you may a bit extra but you will have the freedom to discuss all aspects of the country, its people and practise the language.
9. Time to Reflect
Visiting underdeveloped countries can put the value of money and material possessions into perspective. It is too easy to slip into the mentality of wanting the perfect life; the perfect house, garden and constantly working hard to live the life you think you should be living. An adult gap year gives you time to reflect on what’s really important in your life.
10. Tick off your Bucket List
Waiting for the perfect time to go travelling is pointless as it will never come! There is no right or wrong time to take an adult gap year. You just need to pluck up the courage and go. Go with your gut instinct and follow where you are feeling you are being drawn towards. Falling in love with new places is a heartwarming feeling.
Caroline Revell has worked for the affordable break-through British based volunteer-sending organisation Original Volunteers (www.originalvolunteers.co.uk) in the UK since its inception in 2006. She has recently seen an increase in the number of enquiries from maturer career-breakers and early retirees embarking on their own adult gap year adventure.
Thanks Caroline for thought-provoking reasons to go. My son is currently taking a gap year, about to set off on travels around SE Asia and I am very envious. Your article makes me think seriously about taking some time out to do something useful and life-changing overseas …
Very nice and informative! I needed this information for my sister as she never make a plan to travel with her daughter. Thanks for sharing. I will bookmark this to show her the actual reasons.
Cheers Matt – hope it will be of some help to your sister.
Some of us take gap years every day all the time. Not sure I’d want to take a year out to do more work but can see the appeal that volunteering gives to many.
Ha! Well, my life has sometimes seemed like one long gap year and can definitely see why some people would really enjoy helping others 🙂
All these reasons and more. I think as a professional versus somebody fresh out of high school or college, taking time off, especially to volunteer is an exceptional idea. Using your business talents, whatever they may be to enrich the lives who are in need is what the world needs right now.
That’s such an uplifting comment Eric – if more people felt feel like that, the world would be a better place 🙂
What a great idea! I would love to do this, now to just convince my other half!
Sounds a very rewarding thing to do. And everyone has skills to offer.
Very true Clare. It is a very speical way for older people to give back whilst having unique experiences around the world.