When Is The Best Time To Take A Gap Year?

Annisa Maher

Posted On 10 August 2020

It's The Question Worth A Million Dollars...

Or at the very least, a couple thousand. When is the perfect time to take a gap year? If you’re indecisive by nature, it’s a question that will make your skin crawl. And even if you’re a decision-maker, you’ll still wonder ‘what if?’

What if I go now and miss out on opportunities that may never come up again? What if I’ve done all I need to do, but now it’s too late? We’ll go over all of the benefits and reasons for taking a year off to travel at different stages of life, but spoiler alert: there is no perfect time so if you’re thinking about it, just bloody do it.

Why Not Straight Out Of High School?

Just finished high school, ready to put down the books for a while and take a year off to figure out what the next steps are? Well why not do it in a foreign land, where you can try new food all day and meet people from all over the world? There is a lot of pressure placed on young adults today to know exactly what they want to do when they finish school. This pressure isn’t helping anybody – it will either push us into something that we may end up regretting or make us miss out on so many other opportunities that we were blind to.

There is no doubt that travelling on a gap year will allow you to experience new cultures, contribute to your personal growth, help you to develop life skills and teach you independence and maturity. With these new skills and experiences, you will be better prepared to tackle what comes next, whether that’s more study, work, or even more travel. So if leaping into the unknown sounds appealing to you, leap. Enjoy this moment and use it to be carefree and feed your curiosity. You won’t regret it.

After University?

If like most, you decided to jump straight into more study after high school and now have a degree/diploma/certificate under your belt, you’re probably aching to switch off, get out there and get amongst it (it being everything). One of the great benefits of taking a gap year after university is that you can now complement your academic knowledge with real world experiences. You’ll have the opportunity to strengthen your intercultural competence, learn a new language and develop street smarts.

Don’t underestimate the power of soft skills that so many people look for in potential candidates: open mindedness, time management, social skills, stress management and teamwork, to name a few. These are all strengths that come hand in hand with travelling to new, exciting places, stepping outside of your comfort zone and demonstrating a willingness to challenge yourself. All of these things will ultimately make you more attractive to employers and more valuable in the workplace.

So, don’t question whether taking a year off before entering the workforce is a smart decision, and certainly don’t worry about employers not taking you seriously because of it. Gaining a global perspective, reflecting on your strengths and working on yourself and the way you deal with those around you will make you that much more hirable in the long run. What have you got to lose?

After Working For A While?

Decided to get a job straight after university and have now found yourself in a role you don’t love, lacking motivation or drive, or simply feeling like you’ve missed out on the opportunity to explore more of what the world has to offer? OR have you found a job you love in a field that you’re passionate about, but before progressing to the next stage of your career, you’re looking to work on your strengths and get some more real world experience? Take a gap year. Sometimes, when we feel like our motivation levels at work are stooping, it’s because we need to push the reset button and reassess what we’re doing, why we’re doing it and what we need to do about it. Travel can help you do just that. It can be the vehicle to help you understand yourself better as well as the world around you; it can create a space within which you have the freedom to take a step back and re-evaluate your purpose and passions.
Travel is hands down one of the best things you can do to make yourself a more understanding, organised and adaptable human in an increasingly competitive world. It throws curveballs at you that in turn will make you a better decision-maker and problem-solver which, spoiler alert, are two very desirable skills to have. So once again, if your body and brain are telling you that you need a break, listen to them and book a plane ticket.

How About When You Just Need A Change?

Packing your bags and going on an adventure when you’re in need of a change can ONLY do you good. Whether you’re looking to switch up your lifestyle a bit, make a career change, deal with a rough breakup or shift your mindset, travel will give you the space you need to look at the bigger picture and understand what you need to do to grow from your experience.
Need some time alone with your thoughts? Go on a long hike and reflect with no distractions. Find comfort in food? Plan a full day of exploring different elements of a new and exciting cuisine. In other words, eat all the things. Due for an appreciation check? Go have a swim in the ocean, let the salty water on your skin dry in the sun and be one with nature. Travel gives you the wonderful opportunity to take a breather and check yourself before you wreck yourself. Meeting new people, tasting new things, opening your eyes to new cultures and chasing sunsets will help you re centre, redefine your meaning of life, help you find your place in the world and reinvigorate your soul. It sounds ridiculously corny, but it’s true.

There Is No Perfect Time

So if you can’t stop thinking about it and any or all of the above arguments speak out to you, pack your bags. There’s a whole world out there waiting for you to explore it, and there are always going to be reasons to say no. Don’t miss out on an opportunity that could ultimately change your life just because you’re feeling pressured to stick to the status quo. Eat the food, watch the sunsets, meet the people and feel the feels.

If we haven’t already made it obvious enough, we think Australia is the perfect place to start exploring. We also know the perfect tour to set you up for your year-long (or longer) adventure.

Written By

Annisa Maher

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