5 Steps to plan for a gap year.
When I took a gap year, I didn't really have too much money and wasn't really planning to take a gap year, the opportunity just happen to come across when I was about to finish my 3rd year of Graphic School in Venezuela. The international non-profit organization Up with People came to town to perform at a local high school and I got tickets for the show, interviewed with them after and in a matter of 5 months I was already on a plane to Denver, Colorado, to start my GAP year that took me all over the US, Norway, and Japan. I have to say... One of the best years of my life. I will tell you more about this story on another blog post but for now, let's focus on you!
Where do I start?
There is so much to do right after school and before starting the normal routine of adulthood that sometimes the thought of taking a gap year is as overwhelming as not taking one. If you have the chance to google "gap year" there are thousands and thousands of pages with options. Places to travel to, things to learn, working holiday, courses to take, etc, etc, etc.
Now, where do you start when thinking to take a gap year?? What are the first few things you should consider when trying to figure out what to do for the next 365 days!?
Step #1 Think about ONE of your passions. A gap year could be a year where you just work, work, work to make a bunch of money for the future. It could be a year where you go find yourself and learn a new and exciting activity, it could also be a year in which you decide to learn a new language. Whatever you do that year, make it something that you are passionate about. So, try writing down on a piece of paper, all the things you are passionate about and pick one to focus on.
Decide what you want to do with that passion. For example if you love photography, the next step is to figure out what you want to do with it. Do you want to focus on learning more about it?, do you feel that you already know enough to work in that area?, do you wanna teach others? Do you want to just travel and take pictures for yourself? All of those options are valid, the most important thing is to decide what to do with it.
Where do I want to go? For most people, when we talk about a gap year, it means going away from home, but, the truth is, a gap year doesn't have to include leaving. Wether you go somewhere else or you stay in your home town, you have to figure out places that offer the type of opportunity you are looking for.
Finances! Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you that you have to have some money save in order to take a gap year, or have really giving parents that are ok with supporting you while you go do what you wanna do. Very important: take paper and pen and figure out how much money you will need to support yourself. If you are going somewhere to work, if you are taking classes, traveling, etc. Whatever you do, you need money, so, do the math and know exactly what your limit is. You don't want to find yourself totally broke right after your gap year.
Enjoy the process from beginning to end. Sometimes we forget to celebrate and enjoy the little moments in life and the opportunities we are given. Taking a gap year is a beautiful opportunity that not everyone gets. So, start planning early, before your gap year starting date comes, and enjoy every step of the process. After all, a gap year is a year to enjoy yourself!
Taking a gap year shaped me into who I've become, gave me the amazing gift of finding my husband, made me an experienced traveler, it gave me opportunities I never thought possible, and most importantly, it taught me to be open minded, tolerant, and to accept others for who they are, no matter their religion, skin color, background, nationality, or sexual orientation, and that is a bunch of lessons I would have never learned if I would have stayed at home doing the same thing others did for the next 365 days of their life.
Today I am the co-founder of a company my friend and I started it to give people the opportunity to travel with purpose, which in other words is to travel while making a difference at the same time. We plan volunteer and wellness trips for people, just for a week though, not a year yet! or ever. :) Feel free to follow us on social media @mysoultrips and use to be featured on our feed.
So, with all that said, get the planning started. Get packing, lets go places!
Contact me if you need a bit more advice on where to start, I am always happy to help.