Choosing whether to take a gap year between school and university is a big decision. One that will affect your future… forever.

Some of your mates are carrying on to university, others are already planning their gap years, but what should you do?

Here are some sure signs that your life path is going to lead you down the road less travelled, and not into that university library. For now, anyway.


1. Your mates suggest McDonalds for lunch, but you’d rather Pad Thai or Red Curry.

Street food, not McDonalds

2. The most interesting lesson at school right now is languages.

Learn a language

3. Any time you buy anything you equate it to how much a night’s accommodation would be in Thailand.

4. You’ve read all of Bill Bryson / Cheryl Strayed / Martha Gellhorn and you’re ready to write your own. You just need some material.

Reese Witherspoon in Wild

5. While your friends are looking at tops in H&M, you’re in Blacks in the backpacks section.

Gap year backpacks

6. You watch Fun for Louis and Hey Nadine on YouTube faithfully.

Hey Nadine

7. The thought of 24 hours on a bus excites you.

Like a bus

8. You watch Game of Thrones for the scenery rather than the action.

9. You took geography for the maps. Screw the rocks.

Love maps

10. You’ve got an outstanding range of flip flops in your possession. 

flip flops

11. You don’t mind the thought of sharing a room with 20 strangers.

12. You could do with some space between you and your parents. Preferably countries. And oceans.

13.  You’re ready for that travel tattoo.

Getting a tattoo when you travel

14. You’ve got some savings stacked up and you’d much rather spend them on experiences rather than possessions.

15. You can start and hold a conversation with just about anyone.

16. The thought of spending the next three years in classrooms and libraries makes you want to cry.

17. You’re happy to spend time alone and don’t need people around you all the time.

18. But you love hanging out with people all the same.

Making friends when travelling

19. Walking 10,000 steps a day is nothing to you. It’s just a quick look around.

10,000 steps a day

20. You’ve watched Into the Wild, The Beach, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Wild, and every other travel film you can get your hands on. A film’s not worth watching if it’s not set somewhere beautiful.

21. You’re not fussy about cleanliness and tidiness.

22. Your known among your friends as a bit of a hero when it comes to drinking.

23. You know exactly how to get between Phnom Penh and Bangkok yet you’ve never been and nothing is booked.

24. If they did an A Level in travel prep, you’d ace it.

25. You don’t feel ready for university.

26. You want to be the change you want to see in the world.

27. As soon as someone mentions they took a gap year you have a million questions for them.

28. You’re on gapyear.com.

29. And you’ve read this whole list. 


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