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Why You Should Take a “Gap” Year as an Adult

Why You Should Take a “Gap” Year as an Adult

Editor’s note: The following is a guest post by Vivienne Egan Vivienne writes for FHR, who provide Heathrow Airport parking.

Many of us associate the term ‘gap year’ as an activity exclusively for teenagers. Typically the year after school or college and before entering university, people will head off for a year in some exotic antipodean location, sometimes taking a job and generally “seeing a bit of the world” along the way.

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But are your late teens really the best time to see the world? As shown in the above popular YouTube sketch, the gap year has become the domain of the wealthy whose parents can afford to support them as they travel. The clip also highlights the question: is it really at an age where we can appreciate, learn from and respect other cultures?

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These days, a lot more people are taking their ‘gap’ year after university or a few years into their working lives. They are saving up their own money and coming to travels with more life experience and a greater understanding of the world.

Also popular is combining a university exchange programme with travels. Simon, a 25-year old law student from Sydney, Australia took part in a university exchange in Montreal, Canada for six months and then travelled through Europe. “The best part of being an international student was having the opportunity to live in a foreign city for an extended period. Visiting a city for a few days pales in comparison to the experience of actually living there.”

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Being a bit older will also mean extra freedoms – for instance travelling in America before the age of 21 means age restrictions on going to bars, and in many countries to hire a car you need to be over the age of 25. Being a little older and wiser as a traveller will mean that you make more informed decisions and are less likely to get into tight situations.

Chrissy, currently travelling overseas for the first time at 30, has found a few challenges to travelling solo – “I’ve found it difficult to meet people while travelling as I’m not staying in hostels. I’m now planning to meet and stay with friends and friends of friends who can show me to less touristy areas.”

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Beginning to travel is great at any age. Sharon caught the travel bug at the tender age of 56 and hasn’t looked back. She has cruised the Rhine, navigated across Japan on the bullet train and driven across the deserts of Western Australia. “I’ve travelled alone, with friends and in organised groups. I’ve made lots of friends and had amazing experiences that I never imagined I would have.”

Have you been on a gap year? What age were you and would you do it again?

Featured photo credit: Hiker via Shutterstock

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Last Updated on May 28, 2020

How to Overcome Boredom

How to Overcome Boredom

Have you ever been bored? Restless? Fidgety? In need of some inspiration?

I have a theory on boredom. I believe that the rate of boredom has increased alongside the pace of technology.

If you think about it, technology has provided us with mobile phones, laptops, Ipads, device after device – all to ultimately fix one problem: boredom.

What is Boredom?

We have become a global nation that feeds on entertainment. We associate ‘living’ with ‘doing’. People now do not know how to sit still, and we feel guilty when we are not doing anything. Today, inactivity has become the ultimate sin.

You might not realize it, but boredom stimulates a form of anxiety and stress. It evokes an emotional state that creates frustration and feeds procrastination.

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It’s a desire to be ‘doing something’ or to be ‘entertained’ – it’s a desire for sensory stimulation. What it boils down to is a lack of focus.

If you think about those times when you’re bored, it’s usually because you did not know what to do. So, indecision also plays a big part.

When we are focused on what’s important to us and what we want to achieve, it’s pretty hard to be bored. So, one answer to boredom is to become focused on what you want.

Sometimes It’s Good to Be Bored

If boredom is a desire for sensory stimulation – then what’s the opposite of that? To be content with no stimulation – in other words – to enjoy stillness.

Sometimes, it’s not boredom itself that causes the frustration but the resistance to doing nothing.

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Think about it. What would happen if you were to ‘let go’ of the desire to be entertained? You wouldn’t be bored anymore, and you will feel more relaxed!

In my experience, it’s often the most obvious, simplistic solutions that are the most powerful in life. So, when you’re bored, the easiest way to combat this is to enjoy it.

It may sound weird but think of ‘boredom’ as a form of ‘relaxation’. It’s a break from the constant stimulation that 21st-century living provides – constant TVs, mobile phones, radios, internet, emails, phone calls, etc.

Who knows, maybe ‘boredom’ is actually good for us?

Next time you’re ‘feeling bored’ instead of feeding the frustration by frantically looking for something to do, maybe you can sit back, relax, and savor the feeling of having nothing to do.

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In this article, I’ll share with you my 3-step strategy on how to overcome boredom.

3-Step Strategy to Overcome Boredom

1. Get Focused

Instead of chasing sensory stimulation at random, focus on what’s really important to you. Focusing on something important helps prevent boredom because it forces you to utilize your time productively.

You should ask yourself: what would make good use of your time? What could you be doing that would contribute to your major goals in life?

Here are a few ideas:

  • Spend some time in quiet contemplation considering what’s important to you.
  • Start that creative project you’ve been talking about for the last few weeks.
  • Brainstorm: think of some ideas for new innovative products or businesses.

2. Kill Procrastination

Boredom is useful in some ways because it gives you the energy and time to do things. It is only a problem if you let it. But if you use it to motivate yourself to be productive, then you can more easily overcome boredom.

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So, the next time you’re bored, why not put this good energy to use by ticking off those things that you have been meaning to get done but have been too busy to finish? This also presents a great time for you to clear your to-do list.

Here are some ideas:

  • Do some exercise.
  • Read a book.
  • Learn something new.
  • Call a friend.
  • Get creative (draw, paint, sculpt, create music, write).
  • Do a spring cleaning.
  • Wash the car.
  • Renovate the house.
  • Re-arrange the furniture.
  • Write your shopping list.
  • Water the plants.
  • Walk the dog.
  • Sort out your mail & email.
  • De-clutter (clear out that wardrobe).

3. Enjoy Boredom

If none of the above solutions work, then you can try a different approach. Don’t give in to boredom and instead choose to enjoy it. This doesn’t mean allowing yourself to waste your time being bored. Instead, think of it as your time to relax and re-energize, which will help you be more productive the next time you work.

Contrary to popular belief, we don’t need to be constantly doing things to be productive. In fact, research has shown that people are more productive when they take periods of rest to recharge.[1] Taking breaks once in a while helps boost your performance and can help make you feel more motivated.

So, take some time to relax. You never know, you might even like it.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to overcome boredom may be difficult at the beginning, but it can be easier if you make use of some techniques. You can start with my 3-step strategy on how to overcome boredom and work your way from there. So, ready your mind and make use of these tips, and you will be overcoming boredom in no time.

More Tips on Overcoming Boredom

Featured photo credit: Johnny Cohen via unsplash.com

Reference

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