If you’re a sci-fi fan/a bit of a super geek then why not plan your gap year around legendary nerdy destinations? Your mind has had the chance to traverse galaxies humans haven’t even discovered yet, but for now your body is doomed to explore the only planet it can: Earth.
Become a backpacker and new realms and out-of-this-world locations open up to you, right here on this planet. If your life reads a little like those guys from The Big Bang Theory then here are 7 spots I strongly recommend you include on your gap year itinerary.
Most of us can still only dream of travelling to space, but you can come as close as possible by watching an actual rocket launch at the NASA space station in Florida.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration still launches rockets regularly and you can catch it live at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral. You can also sign up to have lunch with an astronaut and pick their brains as to what it’s really like to travel into the unknown.
2. Silicon Valley
For computer coders, crackers and hackers Silicon Valley in San Francisco is the mother ship and a top spot on every nerd’s bucket list. The garage where Steve Jobs began his Apple adventure is a marked historic site you can drive by in Los Altos and, keeping it in the neighbourhood, only 10 miles away there’s the HP start up garage in Palo Alto.
Continuing on the golden state’s tech tour, you can also check yourself in at Menlo Park’s Facebook headquarters and have a search in Google’s Android Garden in Mountain View.
3. New York
Continuing your American adventure, crash land in New York City where many of the great sci-fi movies have been set. From The Fifth Element to Cloverfield, it’s a super geek’s playground, which all culminates at the Ghostbusters Firestation at 14 North Moore Street in Tribeca. It’s a functioning fire station, but you can still snap a selfie in front of the iconic building. Just watch out for Slimer though, yeah?
From ghosts to the galaxy, nearby at the city’s Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum you can see the space shuttle used as the prototype to the US space programme. Then finish the day dining in Beacon at The Pandorica, not a gloomy prison but instead a Dr Who themed restaurant.
You’ll find so much to satisfy those sci-fi cravings in Vancouver. For fans of cult TV shows like Once Upon a Time, X-Files, Stargate, and Battlestar Galactica, it’s a supernatural overdose as your recognise the likes of the Vancouver Public Library, the Orpheum and University of British Columbia as iconic filming spots.
When you’ve exhausted the set locations, have a drink at The Storm Crow Tavern where a themed menu and walls covered in medieval fantasy memorabilia will further satisfy your nerdy hunger.
Time a trip here in April and you can attend the FanExpo, Canada’s answer to Comic-Con.
5. United Kingdom
Not all the fun has to be had so far away from home. In fact the UK has its own breed of science fiction legends.
Start off in Cardiff, where guided tours take you to the filming locations for Dr Who and Torchwood, before heading to Suffolk’s Rendlesham Forest. This spot is famous for a bizarre series of unexplained lights that were seen back in the ‘80s – now you can tour the area to try and spot your own UFO.
For a more interactive experience, visit Legoland in Windsor, which may be for kids, but with seven Lego scenes from the Star Wars movies, it’s right up your street.
Then spend a day in London for a full Harry Potter tour.
Visitors could be put off travelling by an overnight train to Tozeur as it’s a little difficult to get to, but just ask yourself, ‘what would Yoda do?’ And now the journey to the Sahara Desert becomes so much easier, right?
A favourite spot of George Lucas’, you’ll recognise the dusty area from Raiders of the Lost Ark and the first Star Wars. If you take a good look around you may even spot Luke Skywalker’s home.
For fantasy fans that worship the sun as well as the wise words of legends like Gandolf, take a trip to Hawaii. Here you can mix your days of sunshine, sand and relaxation with exploration of the filming locations of the TV series Lost.
For years, the cast parked up on the island of O’ahu to tell the story of the supernatural island and its plane crash survivors. From here, you could fly over to New Zealand and discover Middle Earth at the Hobbiton movie set in Matamata. Well, that’s one way to journey to gap year favourite New Zealand, right?