Five Unusual Reasons Why You Should Take A Gap Year
Seeing the world, learning about other cultures, making new friends, expanding your comfort zone, gaining independence, building skills, general personal growth - we’re familiar with the usual reasons why taking a gap year is a good idea.
But along with all the cliches (which are cliches for a reason), there are some other more ~unusual~ reasons to consider a gap year that might not have crossed your mind.
Whether you’re eager to do an exchange, wondering what’s next after your studies, need a break from the monotony of your work/life routine, or simply at a crossroads, gap years are a good idea at any age. Here’s why.
1. REASSESS YOUR DEEPLY-HELD PERSONAL VALUES
Growing up in one country or culture is what most of us do, but it's insulating. The remedy? Travel. By immersing yourself in other cultures, traditions and ways of life, especially on a gap year or working holiday when you have more time to dive deep, you will start to re-evaluate truths you assumed to be set in stone.
Encountering the intensely respectful culture of Japan may encourage you to engage more deeply in your close relationships.
The Friday beers and more relaxed hours of many Australian workplaces could have you wondering whether working 9am - 9pm is the best use of your precious weekdays.
The deliciousness of street food in Asia may have you swapping morning cereal for stir-fried noodles.
Experiencing the beautiful chaos of 'island time' might have you reconsider whether you need to be so strict with details and deadlines.
It’s hard to see the edges of your bubble when you are living in it. Take a gap year to break out of the routine you’ve grown up with. Find out what really makes you tick.
2. SAVE MONEY & TIME IN THE LONG-RUN
Hold up. You’re saying that spending a year overseas could actually SAVE me money? In the long run, absolutely. Endless hedonistic backpacking will drain your savings eventually, but if you are intentional, a gap year will save time and money in the scheme of things. In Southeast Asia, you can easily backpack on a budget, and in countries like Australia and New Zealand you can do a working holiday - earning while travelling. A gap year can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.
Most importantly, a gap year gives you the breathing room to work in different jobs, try new hobbies, and experiment with different lifestyles. Getting an entry-level job in an industry you are interested in can help confirm your dream career won't turn out to be your worst nightmare. When you eventually return home you will hold a deeper sense of self-knowledge and be closer to figuring out what the next chapter of life looks like for YOU, rather than feeling obliged to trod a well-paved path. Being more sure of yourself before making big decisions will save time and money as you’ll be less likely to make a wrong move at university or in your career.
To quote Mary Oliver:
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?
A gap year won't solve all your problems, but it can help answer this question.
3. QUIT YOUR CRAPPY JOB WITHOUT BURNING BRIDGES
Work getting you down? If you’re not sure how to politely leave your job in the dust without a good reason (or maybe you have a reason and don’t want to spill the beans), tell work you’re heading off for a gap year! No matter your age or experience, employers usually understand the urge to travel. Nothing personal, boss! Just need to go ~find myself~.
It might seem a bit extreme to jet off for a gap year just to quit a dead-end job, but if you’re feeling stuck it could be just the antidote (see point above). Learning to navigate the world is proof that you’re independent, another piece in the puzzle of your worldly education that employers love to see when hiring. Spritz up that CV with some time overseas and become your own Mr Worldwide.
4. IT'S AN EASY WAY OUT OF A DEAD-END RELATIONSHIP
As well as being an excuse to leave a work routine you dislike, deciding to do a gap year could be just the excuse you need to get out of a relationship that has run its course. This sounds tough, but hear us out! Sometimes we end up in stagnant relationships out of ease or convenience, especially when we’re young. When this happens it’s hard to explain to your partner what feels off, but when you need a change, you need a change.
If you’re getting the ‘ick’ and think a shift is needed, going on a gap year could be the perfect reason to break things off in a friendly way. It’s not you, it’s me - I just need to experience more of the world, independently. On the other hand, a gap year may be just what the doctor ordered to get over a painful breakup. Leading to our final point…
5. MEET YOUR TRUE LOVE? IT'S NOT IMPOSSIBLE ¯\_(?)_/¯
We’re not promising anything, but love is often a numbers game. Not in that way, but simply in how many people you come across in your life. Staying in your hometown forever - even if you’re lucky to live in a big city - means you’re missing out on literally *checks world population counter* billions of potential partners. Alright, a lot of people in the world aren't exactly eligible… but you get the picture.
Swiping through dating apps and going to bars in your 'hood is one thing, meeting someone on your adventures overseas is another. There's fish in the sea, you just need to swim out of your pond. A brief holiday makes it hard to form genuine connections, but on a gap year or working holiday you have more freedom to see where an open heart might take you. Warm weather + less responsibility + more confidence = the perfect opportunity to form a connection with someone new. And we’re not just talking about romantic relationships! You never know where you will meet your future bestie.
A gap year isn’t just time off. It’s an opportunity to gain a bigger picture of the world we all share and your place in it. Spending time overseas is transforming in terms of personal growth... but it's also a ton of fun! If you want to learn more, check out our travel blog for some first-hand gap year ideas and stories.
Convinced that a gap year should be your next major move? Whether you have destinations in mind or want to let your imagination run wild, check out our group tours and work and travel packages to start planning the year of a lifetime! With expertly crafted itineraries, inclusions *actually included*, the guidance of knowledgable group leaders, full end-to-end support, and a new group of friends to make memories with, we are the perfect ally to help kick off your adventures.