Last updated on March 23rd, 2016

Life is fast: relentlessly fast. Go to school, get a degree, and get a job. That’s the typical formula. What if you could shake up the formula? Going on a gap year to travel does not mean you’re escaping reality; it means that you are creating a reality of your own. Here’s why a travel gap year will change your life:

1. Adventure
Most people are desperate to grow up and skip adventure to stability. There is no better time to have adventures than while you are young, healthy and able. If you are minus a mortgage, a committed relationship or kids, then travel and adventure should be your priorities.

2. Freedom
There are few times in life when we have the opportunity to be truly free. The school summer holiday is one such example. Before you enter the world of adulthood, you are afforded the opportunity to be free. Once you enter the workforce or start a family, it’s not impossible but it is harder.

3. Evaluate Your Life
When we leave school, most of us don’t know what we want next. We just follow the next logical stepping stone which tends to be university. University life is expensive and many students are unsatisfied. The rate of so called “drop-outs” is high. Taking time out to re-evaluate what you want to do next without just strolling into it is vital. You might discover that you want to work with wildlife, or become a nutritionist, or you want to move overseas and start your own business.

4. Open Your Mind
A benefit of a travel gap year is the opportunity to open your mind. You’ll meet new people, see new places and discover new ways of doing things. Seeing firsthand how other people live gives a person real experience of the world; employers will value you.

beach with sun

5. You’ll Feel Refreshed
If you decide to jump straight from A-levels into university life, you may feel burnt out. A year away dedicated to travel, volunteering, or hopping around all of your dream destinations can re-vamp you for the coming year of study.

6. Prioritising
There’s no doubt, travel changes you. It makes you appreciate home more. It helps you understand yourself. It broadens your mind when it comes to other people and places. Travel can shift your priorities. If you can travel the world, you can handle anything and that includes the ups and downs of university life.

7. Confidence
A gap year will boost confidence. Navigating through strange, new cities; communicating with others using their native tongue, and tasting foreign dishes will build self-esteem and make you a more well-rounded character.

Asian Good Tasting during gap year

8. Interests
When you travel, you can bring a lot more to the table. You can talk about the places you’ve been, what you’ve seen, and will generally become a more interesting person.

9. Creativity
Your time away may influence your degree. If you’re an artist, you might be inspired by exotic artwork. If you’re a musician, you may have learnt from playing with bands oversea. If you’re an actress, you may have a better understanding of the human condition. If you’re a lawyer, you may have a stronger knowledge of human rights.

10. You’ll Have Fun
Perhaps the most important thing of all is that you’ll enjoy yourself. Life is short and worth living to the fullest.

By Kayleigh Parker