So, there are now just 3 weeks before I leave home and head across the Atlantic to start my travel adventure, and yet it only seems like two minutes since I first decided that I wanted to take some time out.
My first thoughts of taking a gap year came just before the start of my final year at uni last September. I’d completed my sandwich year working in industry and was all ready to embark on the last leg of my studies, and although I’d really enjoyed both my studies and my year out, I really couldn’t face the prospect of going straight into a permanent job from university. I needed to do something different to break things up, and thought that if I didn’t do it now then id never do it - and live to regret it.
I then spent a couple of months trawling through the web looking for inspiration for what I could do with myself in my year out. First and foremost I wanted to do something that was a lot of fun, but I was also keen to do something that would add to my experiences and enhance my CV. So, I decided that the BUNAC KAMP (Kitchen And Maintenance Programme) was where I wanted to start my travels. Due to my lack of experience with kids, KAMP was ideal as it encompasses many things that Summer Camp does - and Id heard so many good stories about Summer Camp. The next stage was to fill in the rather complicated application form, fortunately for me I was accepted onto the programme around the end of November and I was assigned a camp shortly after christmas. The camp where I will be spending the summer is Camp Wah-Nee in Connecticut.
The camp only lasts until late August so I had plenty of time to do other things. So, I decided to enrol on another BUNAC scheme - the Work Canada scheme. The programme sounded very appealing, giving me the chance to spend a winter skiing in Canada. I then filled in the much simpler application form and was soon accepted onto the programme. The beauty of arranging things through BUNAC is that, although the costs are slightly higher, they see to all the awkward procedures such as booking flights and processing visas. The price you pay for BUNAC’s help is the registration fees - roughly Â£170 for the two programmes combined - a price I was willing to pay seeing as I had enough work to do at uni.
All the formalities and form filling went on between January and April, including the acquiring of adequate insurance. Insurance, although a very dull and potentially a huge waste of money, is vital if you are travelling as part of your gap year - especially in North America where all healthcare must be paid for. Again, through BUNAC, a seemingly excellent and good value insurance package is offered. I have initially paid about Â£250 for the first 6 months insurance. I suppose that this will be either be a huge waste of money or the best Â£250 I have ever spent. Lets just hope its a waste of money!!!
I have also spent the past month or so getting together all the gear I need for my travels, because although I’ve done plenty of camping in may time, little of what I have is really suitable to lug around the world. So I bought myself a new rucksack - a 65 litre Karrimor one that handily turns into a holdall. I have also been accumulating stuff like a camera, CD player etc over the past 8 months - another benefit of planning your travels well in advance.
And so here we are - another two weeks of work and plenty more preparation before I leave. The next job I have is getting everything I want to take into a small pack on my back - not going to be easy!
Anyways, I think that’s enough for now, I’ll post another entry in a couple of weeks just before I leave.