Adult Perspectives on Gap Year Experiences

“The thought of taking a significant break from my job to pick up and travel the world for almost a year seemed incredibly daunting, yet I was at a point in my career where I felt I needed a fresh perspective, not only on my job, but on my life.

Traveling for nine months through Australia, India, Istanbul, England and Iceland afforded me a wonderful first-hand perspective on the world.

Standing out were the people I met in my travels, many of whom are now life-long friends. They opened to me new ideas, new cultures, new world-views, and an opportunity to share their joys, struggles, and life stories which were so different from mine. Every encounter was a learning experience and an opportunity to share our common humanity, no matter what language, religion, or culture.”

From Susan who after working for 15 years in the same job, traveled for 9 months throughout Australia, India, Turkey, England, and Iceland.

“Africa is my passion. And over my lifetime, a few countries had still eluded and constantly intrigued me. As age 60 approached, I felt a sense of “now or never” in terms of choosing and carving out an ideal time.

Volunteering in Tanzania and Rwanda in different settings reaffirmed my ability to travel independently, to problem solve, to learn an uncommon and difficult dialect, to make friendships within two different cultures, and adapt to and overcome both physically and emotionally challenging situations. Having lived so comfortably in the United States, I was constantly reminded of our high standard of living and the many freedoms we take for granted. As an “older” adult, I often drew from my range of life skills to cope-problem solving, perspective, humor, and resilience.”

From Marion who after sending the fourth and last child off to college, volunteered with women in Tanzania and Rwanda for two months.