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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 August 4, 2020

8 Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle That Get You to Live With Less

8 Benefits of a Minimalist Lifestyle That Get You to Live With Less

Minimalism is a way to put a stop to the gluttony of the world around us. It’s the opposite of every advertisement we see plastered on the radio and TV. We live in a society that prides itself on the accumulation of stuff; we eat up consumerism, material possessions, clutter, debt, distractions and noise.

What we don’t seem to have is any meaning left in our world.

By adopting a minimalist lifestyle, you can throw out what you don’t need in order to focus on what you do need.

I know first hand how little we actually need to survive. I was fortunate enough to live in a van for four months while traveling throughout Australia. This experience taught me valuable lessons about what really matters and how little we really need all this stuff we surround ourselves with.

Less is more.

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Living a minimalist lifestyle is reducing.There are a few obvious benefits of minimalism such as less cleaning and stress, a more organized household and more money to be found, but there are also a few deep, life-changing benefits.

What we don’t usually realize is that when we reduce, we reduce a lot more than just stuff.

Consider just some of the benefits of living with fewer possessions:

1. Create Room for What’s Important

When we purge our junk drawers and closets we create space and peace. We lose that claustrophobic feeling and we can actually breathe again. Create the room to fill up our lives with meaning instead of stuff.

2. More Freedom

The accumulation of stuff is like an anchor, it ties us down. We are always terrified of losing all our ‘stuff’. Let it go and you will experience a freedom like never before: a freedom from greed, debt, obsession and overworking.

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3. Focus on Health and Hobbies

When you spend less time at Home Depot trying unsuccessfully to keep up with the Joneses, you create an opening to do the things you love, things that you never seem to have time for.

Everyone is always saying they don’t have enough time, but how many people really stop and look at what they are spending their time doing?

You could be enjoying a day with your kids, hitting up the gym, practicing yoga, reading a good book or traveling. Whatever it is that you love you could be doing, but instead you are stuck at Sears shopping for more stuff.

4. Less Focus on Material Possessions

All the stuff we surround ourselves with is merely a distraction, we are filling a void. Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy comfort. After the initial comfort is satisfied, that’s where our obsession with money should end.

We are bombarded by the media presenting promises of happiness through materialistic measures. It’s no wonder we struggle everyday. Resist those urges. It’s an empty path, it won’t make you happy.

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It’s hard not to get roped into the consumerism trap. I need constant reminders that it’s a false sense of happiness. I enjoy stuff, but I also recognize that I don’t need it.

5. More Peace of Mind

When we cling onto material possessions we create stress because we are always afraid of losing these things. By simplifying your life you can lose your attachment to these things and ultimately create a calm, peaceful mind.

The less things you have to worry about, the more peace you have, and it’s as simple as that.

6. More Happiness

When de-cluttering your life, happiness naturally comes because you gravitate towards the things that matter most. You see clearly the false promises in all the clutter, it’s like a broken shield against life’s true essence.

You will also find happiness in being more efficient, you will find concentration by having refocused your priorities, you will find joy by enjoying slowing down.

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7. Less Fear of Failure

When you look at Buddhist monks, they have no fear, and they have no fear because they don’t have anything to lose.

In whatever you wish to pursue doing you can excel, if you aren’t plagued with the fear of losing all your worldly possessions. Obviously you need to take the appropriate steps to put a roof over your head, but also know that you have little to fear except fear itself.

8. More Confidence

The entire minimalist lifestyle promotes individuality and self reliance. This will make you more confident in your pursuit of happiness.

What’s Next? Go Minimalism.

If you’re ready to start living a minimalist lifestyle, these articles can help you to kickstart:

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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