Travelling sets our soul on fire. No, I really mean it. On fire. Personally, I shine from the inside out with a happy smile spreading across my heart. And still, I meet a lot of people who cannot cut ties from their lives at home, who are scared to invest the money or travel alone and those who don’t want to hurt their CVs in the long run. If you find yourself there, maybe I can give you some insight why I absolutely, from the bottom of my heart, advise you to go out into the world. Here are some ideas of what to do, where to look for infos and examples what I did.
Gap Year – Should I do it?
Basically, this year is yours. Absolutely yours. You have no obligations, no places where you have to be because it is fully your choice. Realize now, this second, how amazing this is. Later in life you will decide to commit. Commit to a 3-year university course or to 2-5 year education, to your job, to your realtionship, to the dog you always wanted and later a family. Now is your time to make it absolutely yours – you are free to go ! And now that you have all this time on your hands, how do you spend it best for you?
So whats next?
- Visualize. Where do you see yourself during that time? Dare to dream. What are you seeing yourself doing? Where are you? What are you feeling?
- Write these images down. Eg. Puerto Rico – I am surfing – I am meeting fun people – I am part time working – incredible sunny weather = part-time work in a surf-hostel/eco-lodge at one of puerto ricos beaches maybe?
- Plan it. Whatever it is that comes into your head, there are many different ways to make it happen. Privately or by organization. I will go into that later on.
To inspire you, I collected some examples from myself and my friends that you can build your first ideas around :
- Leave and experience life in another country. 2-6 months of diving into another culture.
Exciting: the “just go and see what happens”-adventure aspect. Something awesome always comes up.
- Go to language school in another country.
Exciting: becoming fluent in another language, meeting likeminded people, living in another country.
(Here is where I went and had the most amazing time.)
- Participate in a social project in another country.
Exciting: broadening your horizon, learning about working with NGOs, meeting travelers and making connections.
- Make a list of destinations and connect them through roundtrip.
Exciting: changing locations every few weeks and seeing unforgettable things and meeting travelers in a shorter amount of time.
- Take on an internship in a city you always wanted to experience.
Exciting:getting an insight in a field that interests you, getting ahead in the “what should I do after school” thought, living somewhere new!
- Book an around the world ticket.
Exciting:Good to get the wanderlust out of your system. You’ll travel the world! And have it all booked flexable in advance.
- Do work & travel and dive into a project found on Workaway.
Exciting:traveling with a task and making money on the road. Who doesnt love a set purpose in their day and a stable money stream on the road.
- Take your time to work on a project. Record an album, write a book, start a business.
Exciting:Now you have the time to dive into something that school took all the time up for. Make it come true!
- Deepen a passion. Eg go to piano camp for 3 months and become crazy good.
Exciting:focus on a hobby and become really good. Be one of the “I continued piano” and not the “oh I wish I had” people. Embrace it.
Whatever it is that you are passionate about, whatever image it is that you have in your head; rock climbing, walking down the lanes in Paris, driving down Highway 1 in a convertible, teaching english to monks in Peru or chilling in a hammock above the trees in an yoga-reatreat in Sri Lanka – just leave.
But… What about University?
You know what? Half of my gap year me and my friends I met on the road were worried mad about getting into university. And it tainted the experience. Looking back now with university experience: Yes, Uni is needed for your CV in some cases but please stop stressing. If its now or in 3 years, everyone is different in their development and schedule of life, so do what suits you best. And go with the flow. I think what I learned in University, I can sum up in a sentence. What I learned while traveling can fill a whole book. So what education do you prefer? 🙂
No seriously, in order to know what subject you want to dive into, you need to have some life experience. Know what you like and what you don’t like. And you will only ever truly know, if you have tried it. So get out there and do as much as you can, experience as much as you can, it will get you closer to yourself.
But.. I have too little money!
Yes, I absolutely get that. If you don’t want or cannot have your parents financial support, you must get creative how to make the money a few weeks or even months before you leave. You probably have some good ideas already but here is some inspiration for you:
- Sign with an event-agency. It’s quick money, without contract and easy to quit if you don’t like it.
- Neighborhood work. Babysitting, lawn mowing, dog walking, leave raking, plant watering.
- Get a part time job. Duh. Look for something in your area, so you don’t need to go far and you can do more hours.
- You’re creative? Sell it! I put up an advert on ebay for doing prom make-up when I was 19 to go to Barcelona. It was enough to go 3 times within a few months (to see my boyfriend hehe).
- Home office. Write texts and sell them. There are a lot of websites needing content out there.
- Pretty or not, getting with an extra/model/commercial/people-agency never hurts.
- Sell your unwanted clothes.
- Sell unwanted furniture.
- and save…
This will surely spark more ideas. If you wanna add some, let me know!
Stop stressing out about “making it” early.
Nowadays we are conditioned to be productive, and only feel valued and worthy when being productive. Youth plus success are thrown in our faces and more and more people are getting freaked out by it. But against this development there is a great amazing part of rebels among us, that get off the grid to go after their dreams. According to this article, the generation of kids that is now leaving school, Generation Z, is leaving with big dreams and a strong tendency towards doing what makes them happy and not what brings the most money. We are all subtly but visibly starting to lean towards self realization as well as profound and active search for happiness.
So what comes with this? Employers will (forcibly) get used to all our gap years and start up attempts and blogging fun, because that is quite frankly, where it’s headed. Starting your bachelor at 24? Why the heck not, I am sure by the time there will be many who start later, because they successfully launched a youtube channel first. It’s about what YOU want, what makes YOU happy. And not the system.
An example… While traveling Yosemite, I stayed in a hostel in a small town called Groveland. In front of the supermarket I met two boys from there, who helped me with my grocery bags. Talking to them they revealed, that they had never left Groveland in their entire life. Never left the state of California or had any desire to go to college. Life is comfy there. With a job, a steady income and Yosemite around the corner, they are happy. And I totally agree, this is comfy. But this is how it will stay – for 60 years.
Leave your comfort zone!
“Nothing great ever came from comfort zones.” – Have you heart that saying before? It is true. Getting out of your comfort zone sparks new ideas, new interest, inspires you to start up new hobbies or revive old ones and feeds your brain with information and visuals that will take you places. Whereas home is comfort zone. And I am a strong lover of comfort zones myself, which is why I had to leave in order to grow.
I met some of my best friends traveling. They are spread all over the place in Bremen, London, Barcelona and Los Angeles. We write to each other every day and plan new adventures together. I feel so blessed to have those strong, interesting, independent people in my life – all met when I left my comfort zone.
All the adventures, the memories, the heartbreak, the being lost and found, the images, the freedom, the excitement, the pride of managing whatever the journey throws at you – it’s the gift traveling softly lays into your hands after each journey.
Are you ready to leave? Where would you like to go? Sending you the strength and courage to do it xx
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