Whether you’re tired of the daily commute, want to make a difference, you are retired from a career or you’re just desperate to reboot your self and explore the world, a gap year is the key, a bridge to your next life.
Renowned explorer of personal mythology, Joseph Campbel, once said, “We must be willing to give up the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us”. A gap year would provide an opportunity to grow personally, to be exposed to new experiences, and to try on potential future roles. You pick up new hobbies, meet new people, and even discover potential career changes that satisfy your creative needs. It’s more than a long vacation. You can enter into a discerning process of what personal answers you seek, what career information or experience you require, or what transformation is necessary for your next level of growth.
Know Your Budget
It’s true once you’re a grown-up, the process is financially much more complicated. You might have bills to pay, a mortgage, a car leasing deal, a dog and even kids. But it’s not impossible.
The first question to ask when considering a gap year is whether your finances will stand it. Assess the cost of taking time away and sit down with a financial adviser to review your funding position. It is important to determine whether you can fund a trip without selling off investments in a manner that will reduce your eventual retirement income. Sources of travel funding could come from savings, selling some investments and renting out your house. Make a budget for how much you think it will cost, and then create a savings plan to figure out how long you’ll have to save to make this a reality. Plan at least a year in advance your break, and save for at least six months’ worth of additional income for when you return.
If you do not plan on working, then you have to set a budget and work within it. Offering your skills in the form of volunteering, work-exchange or teaching can be very cost effective. You might want to review your other insurance policies while you are away and make sure your home contents and other policies such as life insurance are up to date. Look for a long stay that covers health and possessions.
Where to start with?
It is important to know what you want to achieve from your gap year to ensure that you get as much out of the experience as possible. A gap year away is a memory that will stay with you for the rest of your life, so make sure you don’t waste it.
If you don’t know where to begin with, the easiest way is to liaise with experts and organisations. They can help you create a customised itinerary based on your interests, skills and budget and also offer advice and support in all aspects of travel preparation: from flights to trip insurance to packing lists.
A gap year plan could include volunteer programs, independent travel itineraries, classes, adventure travel or work-exchange programs.
Volunteering is usually the most popular activity for adult gappers, also because of the chances to meet other volunteers with similar interests. For career breakers on a budget, it can also make your year abroad a little less pricey. There really is something for everyone including care work, community and conservation projects. Projects may be designed for groups or individuals, though individuals are often paired or formed into small teams depending on the requirements of their host organisations. Some programs like Projects Abroad, Raleigh International or Peace Corps pay for your room and board in exchange for your service.
The Voluntary Service Overseas is one of the most distinguished and experienced charities in the world. With outposts predominantly spanning Africa and South East Asia, they offer opportunities to assist community projects across the fields of education, agriculture, engineering and more.
Working And Learning Abroad
These gap year for adults programs will take you in an environment that inspires instead of stressing you out. Most of these positions in organisations like Outreach International or Volunteering Journeys assign you to global non-profit organizations for up to six months. Highly personalised, each gap year for adults program fit your skill set and interests. Their volunteer projects engage people as partners in their own development: you can assist women’s empowerment plans or help sea turtle or Elephant Conservation. Wherever you go, you can be assured of support, high-quality standards and well-serviced programs.
Teaching English In Your Gap Year
Whether you want to head off to Asia, Africa, Latin America or elsewhere, teaching English offers a wide range of great international opportunities for people of all ages, including those over 50. You may enjoy low-cost housing as well as the chance to soak in other cultures. These opportunities often have flexible work hours so you can split your time between teaching and learning about your country. Organisations like World Teach or LanguageCorps offers the opportunity to teach in communities around the globe. Even though some of these trips require that you have a TEFL certification or a bachelor’s’ degree to start, teaching abroad is another chance to give back and having a meaningful grown-up gap year.