Tag Archives traveliseducation

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

Plan A Trip for mother and daughter

by Sunday, November 16, 2014

Traveling is my passion! And this wanderlust has been passed down to my daughter. She now also has this desire to see the world, one continent at a time. I guess its just like the old saying goes, “Like mother, like daughter”. thewanderlustyogi.netWe think its funny when we talk to people who just don’t understand this uncontrollable urge, to go, travel, see the world.  This often happens, especially when we tell people about destinations we want to see, like India, South East Asia, South America, etc.  The usual response is, “Why would you want to go to such poor and dirty countries?” The answer is, “Why not?” Most people only see the bad in these type of countries, much due to the media and their portrayal of them.  When in reality, there are many good qualities that these countries can offer visitors.  If anything, you will take away something from them; good or bad. Some only travel to all-inclusive vacation destinations, or close to home get-aways, and some don’t like to travel anywhere at all! thewanderlustyogi.netWhat  we seek in travel, is not to only be a tourist, but we wish to get engulfed in the culture and learn more from being amongst the locals, then going to a place filled with other Americans on holiday. What is the point? How will you really learn about the locals, the culture, the history by hanging out with some other tourist from the MidWest? You really can’t, in my opinion. You are wasting your time and money by traveling that way, you could just read a book about the location. I don’t believe you can really get an  in depth understanding of a place unless you completely emerge yourself in it. But, to each his own.


I, at first thought  when I was young the idea of travel was just a day dream. I didn’t grow up traveling the world. Our summer vacations consisted of going an hour north to the beaches on New Hampshire. World travel was not in the cards, at all! It just wasn’t even a thought. I wanted to travel because I never really went anywhere, not even out of the country for that matter. Maybe it was just my curiosity to see how it was somewhere else? To see how they live. What they eat? How they spend their free time?  How different people were from me? But once I started to travel a little bit as an adult, it only ignited my fire more. There are so many places to see, and such little time,…oh, and money. Ugh!


thewanderlustyogi.netThis summer 2014, my daughter came to me about a trip she wanted to do to India this upcoming summer, with an organization called People to People.  It is an education program for kids to travel around the world while also doing some volunteerism.  I  of coarse,immediately thought it was a great idea, although a bit nervous for letting her go with strangers at such a young age of 16, but nonetheless, wanted her to able to experience world travel and culture.  And because I never got to do these things as a child, I wanted to be able to let my daughter have these experiences that I’ve only dreamed of.  My opinion is, “It’s the best form of education and learning tolerance.” I was completely on board, now she just had to ask her Dad.

thewanderlustyogi.netWe started looking into the trip and it sounded amazing! She would be seeing the tourist sites such as the Taj Mahal and other museums, rafting on the Ganges River, spending time with a host family and doing volunteer work with Indian children.  Wow! This is perfect. Whats the catch? Well, lets see, this life changing trip would only cost $7,000!!!! I initially was shocked at such a high price, but didn’t want to disappoint her and figured at least I only have to come up with half, if her Dad would pitch in too, but that is still $3,500. I would make it work, somehow, only if her father, my ex-husband agreed to do the same.  And he hesitantly did. I think he also was nervous about letting her go alone and also was a bit taken back of the large price tag.


Last week I was researching for a future trip for myself, possibly seeing Macchu Pichu in Peru, but was also leaning towards to India. A place that was on top of my very long bucket list. Because of my interest in yoga and Buddhism, it was a no brainer that I had to go to the source of both someday. India it was.

Then a light bulb came into my thoughts.  Why not do an India trip together with my daughter.  We could have one last bonding time before she goes off to college and enters adulthood. And why not do something that we both enjoy immensely, travel! With my budget conscious ways, we could also do this trip for far less that the People to People one, and it would be for 2, not 1.

thewanderlustyogi.netI talked to her about my idea and at first she was a little disappointed because she was going with a friend and wasn’t sure she would get the same type of experience. I agreed, it would be different, yes, but we have the freedom to custom build our trip to do whatever we wanted.  When I suggested the possibility to also try to visit Thailand and Dubai during this trip, she was in!  Our plan was in the works.


Why I chose Thailand was because it was also another bucket list destination of mine, and since we were all the way over in that region of the world, if at all possible squeeze that in too, I could check it off.  The Dubai part came when I was looking up flights, Emirates Airlines had the best deals, and Dubai is their hub, which means each stop-over is there. A perfect way to break up the grueling 24 hour flight. Not to mention, a cool futuristic looking city that has gotten much hype as of late. My uncle frequents there and told me, “Dubai is beautiful, expensive and hot! ”  The pictures look out of this world. If I had a chance to witness it first hand, I was going to.


Dubai,United Arab Emirates “the city of extremes”

Boom, after a full day of browsing the internet for the best itineraries and deals, we booked it! It is now a reality.  In my mind, once the tickets are bought, the trip comes to life. We would go for two weeks, since it is so far, going any less would be too hard to be able to get enough time to do everything we wanted. We would go the last two weeks of April, one of them being my daughter’s school vacation week. Missing a week of school in her junior year was risky, but she is a very good student, and the learning experience of travel outweighed the drawbacks of missing one week of school to me.


thewanderlustyogi.netThe Plan:

Leave Boston on April 18th-arriving in New Delhi that following Monday, April 20th. Spend 4 days in India, then leaving for Thailand on the 24th, exploring Bangkok, then hopping a quick flight to the Island of Phi Phi for a couple day, ending our trip with a few days in Dubai as our stopover, then back home to Boston on May 2nd. That sure is a lot of plane rides and sounds a bit unachievable, if not exhausting , just thinking about it. But I was hungry for adventure and she is young. We could do it!  India/Thailand/Dubai:Itinerary

In just 5 short months, we will be taking a magical, life-changing journey that will be  forever be in our memory. I can hardly wait.

I plan to blog about our adventures with the hopes to inspire others to travel for a special reason, like an anniversary, quality family time, honeymoon, or just to travel for the sake of the journey.  Life is too short to not take the time the live.thewanderlustyogi.net

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