The gap year is in decline. A sad, but understandable fact when you look at the world in which we live. We’ve entered uncharted and dangerous economic waters, with youth unemployment at record levels and, we are told, the world is consequently becoming far less capable or willing to accept a pause in education or work as a valuable use of time.
Add to this the effect of the ‘Gap Yah’ phenomenon and a pervasive view that a year abroad is little more than an elongated booze cruise, and you’d be forgiven for wondering why anyone chooses to take a year out at all.
Despite all this, the purpose of these diaries will be to persuade you that, no matter what you’ve heard, read or even come to assume, taking a gap year remains one of the best decisions you could ever make. Admittedly I left school in 2006, one of the boom years for the gap year industry, but I firmly believe it was the best decision I ever made – for reasons which hold as true today as they ever did.
This statement, of course, needs qualification. Not all gap years are a success, or of any use to their taker. Some use them to escape, others to party a year away. My assertion here is that a useful, packed and exciting gap year is as valuable to you now as it has ever been – if not more so.
What I will write here over the coming weeks and months will be a true, frank and broad account of what I did on my gap year and what it has meant for me subsequently. And I write it in the hope that, when you have a full account laid before you, you might also weigh up the options and decide that, all things considered, a gap year might actually be for you.
Of course there are countless different variations which a person might decide to embark upon when choosing how to utilise their year out – and it is not the purpose of this blog to cover every possibility – merely it will be to explore my own experiences of a ‘standard’ gap year (some of which are demonstrated through the photos below) and, where relevant, draw on the experiences and anecdotes of others to help illustrate my themes. The journey starts here, all I ask is that you bring an open mind.
Rio De Janerio
Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge