The Adventure Begins. Coffee cup in mountain stream. By Fredrick Kearney Jr
The Adventure Begins. Coffee cup in mountain stream. By Fredrick Kearney Jr. "My friends and I were hiking up Glacier Point in Yosemite and I saw a fountain flowing from the mountain side. I placed the cup on some stones that were in the water and took a couple of shots. This one is my favorite."

Why Take a Gap Year to Travel the World?

Travel broadens your horizons, opens doors to new experiences and people, and changes you unequivocally, as you realize that you are capable of setting your fears aside and being a citizen of the world. The problem with setting aside travel to the future is that once you start working, it can be challenging to take a ‘real holiday’: on that is not measured by a handful of nights at a hotel, or ruined by having to check the phone just in case a vital work email has come through. Research shows that in Australia and Europe, around 5% of students defer their first year of college to see the world. In America, this number stands at only 1.2%. If you feel in your heart that you could use a little broadening of horizons, perhaps this post will inspire you to take the plunge. These are just a few reasons why travel can make you readier than ever to start your college degree with newfound zest.

Honing Your Focus

Research by K Haiger and R Nelson, authors of The Gap-Year Advantage: Helping Your Child Benefit from Time Off Before or During College, has found that parents who fear their child won’t return to college after a year off, are definitely mistaken. The academics note that nine out of 10 gap year travelers return to college within one year of embarking on their travels, and 60% said their time off only confirmed their choice of course or career. The researchers additionally noted that students returned in a more focused state and consistently maintained a higher GPA than those who did not take a year off. Studies have also shown that they also took less time to graduate, had fewer behavioral issues, and tended to be leaders on campus. The researchers postulate that fending for oneself for a full year boosts maturity and teaches students about responsibility and finding a balance between work and the party lifestyle.

The Chance to Earn Money

Students often take on part-time jobs while traveling abroad, in an aim to afford rent, food, and travel expenses. However, savvy students can actually make enough to save and even raise finance for their education, potentially deciding to continue with part-time employment when they return from their travels. It is key to pick a country with good wages if saving during a gap year is your aim. According to David Stitt, managing director of Gap30, interesting options include Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, and China. In the latter two countries, teaching English as a foreign language can bring in almost $2,000 per month, though you will have to invest a few weeks in obtaining your TEFL certificate.

Acquiring New Skills

According to, the benefits of a gap year extended to beyond students’ college years. The majority believed that their gap year made them more employable, and that it helped them acquire the skills they needed to excel at their profession. Finally, a significant majority also felt that a gap year helped them decide on their current professional path.

A gap year is fun and exciting, but it will also help you improve your college performance and build vital life skills that will stand you in good stead in the long run. Independence, interpersonal skills, and time management are just a few. Of course, travel can also shape you in specific ways, enabling you to learn a new language, fit into a new culture, and feel like you can make it all on your own.

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In celebration of my website’s 20th anniversary and my 50th lap around the sun, I’ve written an extra-special story about how I live a life worth living, including making memorable moments and how friends shed new light on life.

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