Not so long ago, the term ‘gap year’ was mainly used to describe taking a year off in between college and uni to travel the world with no responsibilities, lots of alcohol and sharing filthy dorms with 37 other smelly travellers. But recently, it’s us 20-somethings that are having the best time taking some time off from our newfound careers and travelling the world, seeing sights and sipping cocktails.
It’s called the ‘adult gap year’ (sigh) and it’s a necessity for us millenials. After years of hearing ‘gap yaa’ stories and jealously scrolling past an array of indulgent selfies from the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, it’s our time to shine! Here’s why:
1. You’ll know how to balance your time
Don’t get us wrong, there’s still plenty of alcohol/dancing on tables/befriending bartenders involved but by your twenties, you know that it is actually enjoyable to do cultural stuff too. Call us boring but we love checking out a good monument, strolling around ancient ruins and snorkeling around a sunken ship!
2. You know what you want
At 18, we think we know everything but a lot can change between 18 and 20-something. Plus, if you’ve been working for a few years, gathering travel stories from other people and just generally thinking about where you want to go, it’s likely that you’ll have a much more fully-formed idea of which countries you’d like to spend your time in and what kind of activities you want to be doing.
3. You’ve got work experience already
Travelling at any time in life is great, but it always helps to know that you won’t struggle to find work when you eventually decide to swap your flip-flops for winter boots and return home. If you wait until you’ve had some experience working in the field you want to continue your career in before you travel, it means you’ll be able to find similar work when you get back. Hence, less time panicking that you’re a homeless, unemployed bum.
4. You’ve got more money
More money = more fun. We all know it. It also means more time spent country-hopping, especially if you choose somewhere where the cost of living is cheap like Southeast Asia. If you can’t afford a full year, you can always work abroad for part of the time. Jobs like English teaching are a great way to earn while you travel and it looks great on your CV – bonus!
5. It’s good for your mental health
Your mid-twenties is a stressful time. You’ve got a full-time job with responsibilities, bills to pay, friends and family who want to see you every weekend and relationships seem to get 100 times more complicated. So why not take the edge off with a nice trip to far-away-ville? You’ll soon forget those niggling little demons and you’ll be a nomad in no time.