Tag Archives travel blog

The Benefits of Taking a Gap Year

by Monday, August 10, 2015

The discussion of a gap year is something that isn’t much talked about in my circles.  As a matter of fact, it isn’t too common amongst most American families. However, if you are from countries like England or Australia, a gap year is something that a lot of new graduates consider. I wanted to share what some of the benefits of taking a gap year are.

What is a “gap year” you might ask? A “gap year” is a sort of sabbatical from studies between high school and college, sometimes between undergraduate school and graduate school, to travel the world.

When I’ve talk about this subject with some peers and/or other parents, the idea of it seemed almost frowned upon. Most said that it would make the kids lazy or they wouldn’t be on track with their college completion timeframe plan.  Whatever that is? Others said that college is expensive enough, how were they supposed to also pay for a gap year too?  (Who said they were paying?) Then, there were some that didn’t even understand the whole point. “What is so important about traveling anyway? The USA is fine, there is no reason to EVER leave!” Ugh!!!

This is a frustrating thing to me that people not only, don’t understand the benefits of taking a gap year to travel,  but are against it altogether. thewanderlustyogi.net

My daughter and I discuss this topic frequently. She is a senior this upcoming fall. Currently she is in Cape Town, South Africa with goeco.org, doing a volunteer program, teaching children life skills through surfing and other sport activities. So, this is definitely right up her alley when it comes to her after graduation objectives. She hasn’t decided if she will or will not take a gap year,  but whichever she chooses to do, I support her 100%.thewanderlustyogi.net

Here are a few examples of the benefits of taking a gap year as a young person:

A gap year will expand world views and teach tolerance 

The best way to open your mind to this amazing world and all it has to offer is to travel. Many people who have never traveled at all, after traveling, realize their preconceived notions on how they thought a place or people were, in other parts of the world, are inaccurate.  Media does a great job of scaring the public into not leaving the safety of their own country, when in reality, you could be in as much danger in your own cities as you could be anywhere else in the world.  Stereotyping is also a big barrier to hurdle around. The best way to see if what you were told was true about a place, is to go visit. More often than not, what you thought was true, was dead wrong. Just because people live differently than we do, doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. We could learn a thing or two from other cultures.

A gap year allows a young adult to grow into themselves and their goals without outside influences

A gap year for a young adult going from high school to college is a perfect time to help them grow into themselves. This is a huge transitional period for them.  They have been in a school system for most of their lives and have been influenced by family, friends, and teachers. If you remove them from their environment, it can help them to mature and learn about who they really are, and what they want to become (not what mom or dad or their best friend want for them).  At this time in a young person’s life the possibilities are endless. What a great opportunity for them to be able to explore the world and find their place in it.

A gap year can help a young adult appreciate the life they have

If a gap year involves volunteer work in third world countries, this can be a life changing experience. Seeing these impoverished countries on the news has much less of an impact on someone than if you were witnessing this first hand. This could lead someone to have a greater appreciation for all of their blessings and can humble a person in a way that could change their entire outlook on life. They may even be inspired to help in some sort of way. Even if they don’t go and join the peace corp. or start a foundation, this insight could generate gratitude in one’s life, and heighten compassion and empathy for others.

A gap year will educate a young adult more than any book could

What a better way to learn about a place and its people than to visit it. No book, no matter how well written, can give you the same experience and being there in the flesh. Spending time in foreign countries; learning the language, eating their food, and seeing their traditions will give someone a sense of history and a more tangible view of a region. All of these attributes can teach someone so much more than just reading about them. The life lessons you can acquire from immersing with other cultures and meeting new people can’t be attained by taking a class, it is knowledge based on personal experience.thewanderlustyogi.net

A gap year at this age will help a young adult grow into a more open-minded individual

With world travel comes an openness that cannot be attained without it.  When you travel, you start to see that although we are very different in some ways, we are all human and have the same inherent needs. We all need a place to sleep, need food, water, clothes and most importantly, desire to be loved and accepted.  We may be oceans apart, yet we are all one.

A gap year builds character

What a better character builder than being out of your comfort zone.  This can make people very anxious, but learning how to adapt to change can be an extremely important trait to possess in all aspects of life.  People who never leave the comforts of their own home have a very hard time adapting to change and can become very agitated if in these situations.  People who travel, know all too well, that things don’t always go according to plan. Being able to be a “go with the flow” type of person, not only builds character but also helps makes you better at team work and handling unexpected situations with a level head. Traveling helps a person think quick on their feet and learn to be a problem solver. This could be a very beneficial disposition to have in any career choice.

A gap year will not hold future goals back

In the grand scheme of things, do you really think one year is going to hold someone back from their goals? As I grow older, I realize just how quick one year goes by. Like a flash. I also think it could be beneficial to start college one year later because a young adult may mature over that one year period through this life experience of world travel.  They may be even more ready to focus on their academics with a fresh start.  It could also change their course of studies choice, once they have been exposed to more than what is just outside their doorstep. In my opinion, the value of being able to take this time as a young adult to see the world, outweighs graduating one year earlier by tenfold.


“Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you traveled.” -Mohammed


A gap year at this age is probably the easiest time to take one

People who desire to travel usually can’t because of obligations. As an adult, we all have them. Whether it be a mortgage, car payments, student loans, bills, children, pets or all of the above. You name it! It is almost impossible to have the amount of time needed to fully be able to travel the world, or even part of it.  When you have a job with 2 weeks vacation per year, how much can your really see? Not much at all. Many say that they will be able to travel when they retire, to only find themselves either too sick, too old, or unable to financially. thewanderlustyogi.net

These are just some examples of  the benefits of taking a gap year before starting college.  I think the Brits and the Aussies have it right, by allowing their young adults, a year off, to go exploring this great big, beautiful world, before life responsibilities take hold and the idea of world travel is just a dream.  I’m not sure if my daughter will decide to take a gap year or not, but I do know if she does, it will only make her a more educated, confident, tolerant, open-minded, compassionate individual, who will be ready to achieve any goals she desires.  This can’t be all that bad.



my daughter on the beach in Cape Town, South Africa

The Zen of Travel: How to Stay Calm When Stressed?

by Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Travel is a wonderful thing. To hop in a plane, train or car and go somewhere you’ve never been is exciting and sometimes even educational.  Planning all of the sightseeing and activities, down to the hour is something I enjoy: to the museums, parks, shopping, excursion, to dining options, it’s all so fun. But what happens when a problem arises? Do you freak out? Panic? Cry? I used to come unhinged if things like, flight cancellations, or delays happened. Then over the years of traveling I learned how to stay calm and collected in these situations. You can too, especially when you realize that flipping out won’t change the outcome, it will only make you more stressed.

With travel, comes unforeseen circumstances. Everyone who travels knows this and are willing to take that risk. Travel is worth it! So what can you do to handle these situations with poise and grace?

thewanderlustyogi.netJust Go with the Flow

Easier said than done. And trust me, it took me a long time to get to this point. I even fall back into old ways complaining about delays, but then quickly catch myself. It’s all about the journey.

I know you are going to think this is so cheesy, and even writing this I cringe a bit.  But I’ll say it anyway.  Okay, so your flight is delayed. Big deal. Try to use the time to chat with others stranded too. You never know what interesting people you may meet, in airports or on the plane. I’ve had some of the most stimulating conversations with other travelers while I was stuck overnight, yes, overnight in Denver in an airport, due to a snow storm. The situation was very bleak. As each passenger walked into the airport from our planes we were handed a sheet of paper. On this paper was a list of local hotels, and we were told, “Sorry the airport is closed and won’t be open until further notice. Also, since it’s Thanksgiving and we are already overbooked, you are all on standby and may not make it out until after the holiday.” It was Wednesday!  I instantly teared up and couldn’t imagine this was happening.  “Why would they allow flights to land at a closed airport?” I thought. And “I wonder when I’ll ever get out of here?” was on everyone’s minds.  In talking with a reservationist, he suggested not to leave the airport and go to a hotel.  I didn’t understand at first, but when he explained that there are thousands of stranded travelers all trying to get close-by hotels and it’s taking cabs hours to get the passengers back and forth, by the time you get back to the airport (remember we were all on standby) you may be in the back of the line for standby. Good idea.  I decided to just stay, as well as many others. Not that this wasn’t bad enough, but the airport literally shut down, no stores or restaurants were open and before the reservationists left, they passed out peanuts, water bottles, a pillow and blanket to each of us.  This is all we were going to have until, however long!  I was starving! The group all sat around chatting about where they were from, what they do, where they were headed and just tried passing the time.  One lady had snacks that she shared with us. We felt like a little community by the time our catastrophe was over.  Everyone hugged each other goodbye and wished each other safe travels.   It’s like we all made a human connection during a trying time. Although this was one of the worst travel experiences I had, I’ll never forget those people.

thewanderlustyogi.netPlan for the Best, Expect the Worst

Obviously when planning a trip, you don’t sit and think about all of the problems that could happen.  Maybe you do-Debbie Downer! With this said, it can’t hurt to know these things do happen, and will, when you least expect it. How to handle this is to plan accordingly.  Make a plan, but remember to be flexible.If you have a basic itinerary thats great, but just know things may interrupt this, like delays, cancellations, missed connections etc.  When this happens, stop, stay calm and reanalysed the situation. There is always a way to make it work. It may not be what you had originally planned, but you can make the best of a bad situation.

thewanderlustyogi.netBe Grateful

I know, how can you be grateful when your plans have been completely disrupted you ask? Well, think of it this way,how bad is it really? What is the worst thing that could happen? You are late for your vacation? In the grand scheme of it all, you are extremely lucky to be able to even go on vacation. There are many people in this world that can barely feed their families or provide shelter for themselves. If having inconveniences in traveling is the worst of your problems, then you should consider yourself a very lucky person.

Travel to most, is an opportunity to take a break from your regular responsibilities, and offers the ability to see the world, and enjoy experiences you couldn’t in your own back yard. It is true that with travel, comes, at times, unwelcomed and unplanned conditions. If you try to stay calm and collected through an unforeseen situation, you may get through it with ease and know that it’s not the end of the world. You could even use this as part of your vacation story when you return home to tell your friends and family.  If anything, you can learn from your experience and   practice keeping cool in a sticky situation. Just breathe. It usually always works its way out and makes you appreciate your vacation even more.

How to Plan an Educational Tour for Your Teen?

by Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Exciting things are happening in my life currently.

  1. I quit my day job!! I gave my 2 week notice yesterday and am resigning from dental hygiene and becoming a digital nomad.
  • In five weeks my daughter and I are going to kick off my new career and go on a 2 week trip, kind of a mother/daughter bonding trip, before she goes off to college.  We are making stops in:

New Delhi, India

Rishikesh, India

Bangkok, Thailand

Phi Phi Island, Thailand

Dubai, United Emirates

( I know-sounds impossible, but we love a challenge!!)

  • I’m planning on traveling, teaching yoga worldwide, and blogging all about it

Crazy Stuff!


I decided, since this trip has so many stops, and so many activities, in such little time; I better make an extremely detailed itinerary, so that we can accomplish all of our goals.

I’m hoping to be able to make it,

  • fun,
  • cultural
  • relaxing
  • exotic
  • historical
  • spiritual
  • life-changing
  • magical!

This is a very tall order, but we have to try.  We are going to share as we go through this itinerary, to see where we run into obstacles and where we shine. I hope we can give others practical tips on what to do, and what not to do, if planning a trip to our destinations.  We will try to help as much as we can, in order to make your future trip seamless.  We will be sort of guinea pigs.  Our service to the world!

Our (tentative Itinerary)- tips/advice welcomed

April 18-leave Boston at 11:15pm…………..flying day…………


April 19-arrive New Delhi at 2:45 am (4/20)

check-in hotel




April 20- (New Delhi)

sleep late

breakfast at hotel

rickshaw ride

shopping and walking tour of Old Delhi Bazaar

dinner at hotel and bed early



April 21-(New Delhi/Agra)


temples (Lotus Temple, Akshardham), Qutub Minar monument


Taj Mahal- be there for sunset

late dinner at hotel



April 22-(Rishikesh)

check in Parmarth arshram

lunch at Flavors

explore Rishikesh shops

yoga at the arshram


Ganga Aarti celebration


April 23-(New Delhi)

elephant ride

snake charmer

henna tattoos/bindhi



April 24- (Bangkok)

……flying day……..


April 25- (Bangkok)

temples (Wat Pho, Wat Arun, Wat Suthat) Grand Palace


Ban Nam Peung floating market

massage, pedicure with leeches (ew)

dinner in Chinatown


April 26- (Krabi/Phi Phi)

hike to Tiger Temple in Krabi

longtail boat to Phi Phi

check in hotel


dinner near hotel


April 27- (Maya Bay)

beach day

Sleep on the Beach at Maya Bay?

(*still have hotel on Phi Phi for this night in case we don’t want to sleep on the beach)


April 28- (Phi Phi)

boat ride to Monkey Beach and Railey Beach, snorkeling





April 29- ( Bangkok))

fly back to Bangkok

cooking class


last minute shopping



April 30 -(Dubai)

arrive at lunchtime

check-in hotel/lunch

walk the Dubai mall, aquarium

Burg Khalifa



May 1- (Dubai)

breakfast at hotel

Jumeirah Beach day

desert camel ride/ sand skiing  and MiddleEastern dinner tour

thewanderlustyogi.net May 2- (Boston)

…..flying back home to Boston…….


Phew!!! I’m tired just reading this. I better rest up and prepare for a whirlwind trip. My daughter Maddie and I are extremely excited to go on this adventure and know we will always have this memory forever in our thoughts!



Updates to follow…..


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