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In today’s society, it's become common practice to take a gap year after graduating high school. The thought of traveling is very exciting indeed, and everybody dreams about hitting the open road. Good news is that high school graduates are not the only people that take a gap year anymore; everyone can do it. Adulthood means stressful times and a lot of pressure from everyone and everything. That’s why many people make use of the gap year concept and embark on a journey of finding themselves.
All of that sounds amazing, doesn’t it? But don’t assume that you should just take a backpack and close the door behind you one morning after you drink your coffee. In fact, you should be prepared mentally and physically before starting this journey. In this article, we will discuss a few things that you should know before making the decision of taking a gap year:
Before You Leave
Maybe the first thing that would come to one’s mind before making the decision of taking a gap year refers to how much money do you actually need in order to do it. Well, it’s not very surprising, but it can be pretty expensive. But it mostly depends on how you like to spend money.
It is very important to be prepared financially for the gap year, that meaning that you should work as hard as you can before leaving, so you can have enough money to do everything that you want to do. You can also think about working while traveling, which means that you can find different jobs for short periods of time, that will help you keep the journey going.
This part is pretty obvious, but I think it’s still worth mentioning that you should pack as lightly as possible. Especially if you’re gonna be a backpacker, you don’t want to regret carrying unuseful things around all the time.
On the other side, there are some essentials that you should try to always carry around, because there’s a strong chance you’ll need one of them at some point.
How are you going to travel from place to place? That’s one of the main questions that people have when it comes to taking a gap year. Well, if your bank account allows you to, you can always book flights in advance and have the comfort of traveling to the other side of the world in a matter of hours. But maybe that’s not the best experience that you can have.
One of the best choices is definitely to just backpack your way through the world, take whatever bus you can take, and hitchhike whenever you get the chance to. But the more common, more comfortable thing that you can do (and it’s actually quite affordable) is to drive your own car. Make sure you have the right car for this kind of trip, get it prepared and have it ready to hit the open road with it. One more thing that you should definitely not forget, but people tend to, is applying for an international drivers license.
While You’re There
When you actually get to do it, and you’re actually living the experience, it’s up to you to make it worth it. Make sure you challenge yourself every step of the way, with everything that you do. You are supposed to find yourself while on this journey, so in order to do that, you have to try new things that you wouldn't normally do.
Try to be more than just a tourist in the places that you visit. Meet local people from local communities and ask them about their lifestyle and their culture. Remember that this experience is the perfect opportunity for you to also educate yourself.
Write everything down. That’s right! Just take a notebook and a pen and write everything that you do and feel on the paper. One day you’ll sit in the comfort of your own home, being that person that you have always wanted to be, and you will be reading these notes with a heart filled with pure joy.
After You Get Back Home
This part is the easiest, because after you have the adventure of a lifetime, all you have to do is to come back home and tell your story. Take every chance that you have to let others know what you’ve been through and how you’ve handled every obstacle, so they can learn from your experience.
Getting out of your comfort zone is something that everyone has to do once in a while, and taking a gap year might be the best way to do it. No matter where you go, what you do and how you do it, just be prepared and make sure that you don’t miss out on anything.