Why take a “gap year”?

I have been spreading some rumors on our social media platforms about a series of articles about my “gap months” of traveling. I really don’t like to rush things, because everything I share here is a piece of me, like diary notes…and I have never been very good at keeping a constant diary…so you’ll excuse my lack of online presence! Well finally inspiration struck and this is the first article I would like to share with all of you.

Trinidad de Cuba

I think we are all familiar with the concept of “gap year”, a travelling year that many young people in western countries do in between high school and university. As a young person born and raised in a middle class Romanian family, it was something impossible for me to do. My parents’ wishes of having a good education and financing such an extensive trip have not worked my way, but I always dreamt of making it possible. Sure enough 10 years later, after I turned 30 (the glamorous 30s!), I said that’s it! I’ve got to do it now or never!

So a few months ago I started a 10 weeks traveling adventure in Central America and it was the best things I’ve ever done for myself! I know it is a cliché saying this, but I love traveling, I find it the most rewarding of all experiences and I always find a way to make it happen. Of course traveling can be done in many ways and not everyone shares the love of traveling backpacking style, but this suits me and my rhythm. Traveling for more than 2 months it is a long time and I am aware that most of you are not able to take that much time off work, not to mention the financial resources involved. That is why a trip that long or longer requires planning in advance. You might need to start saving up months or even years before the actual trip, you might need to make arrangements at your workplace for being away a long time, you might need to start downsizing and sell some of your stuff to raise the capital, you might need to quit your job, you might need to start learning a new language…yep you might need to do a lot of things before you go, it is not like in the movies where you take a few t-shirts, put them in your bag and off you go! Unless of course you want it that way!

I wanted to do this trip since years ago, every year it was on my bucket list, but there was always something coming up more important than this. Until I realized, “hey this is your dream, you have to make it happen and no one will make it happen but you!”. I had a nice job, but it wasn’t  the place where I wanted to be anymore.  I live in London, which is a busy-have-it-all city, but London is not necessarily the best place for life-work balance and I was suffering deep inside, I was slowly loosing my sparkle. And I had to do something, I had to make a change, a big change! I know there are many of you feeling the same way, being trapped in the day to day monotony of work-home life. You can’t expect things to change unless you take responsibility and make that change. One of the most important lesson I learned before going away was that I am responsible for my own happiness, unless I take on this responsibility I can have the best job in the world and live in the most amazing city, it will not be enough. I will always return in the same spot. For you breaking the circle might be something else, but for me it was to take the plunge and start preparing seriously for an extensive travel. We have to break the circle to allow growth and growth only happens when we are taking ourselves from our comfort zone. This trip has shifted many things inside and it gave me the time to step back and analyze, meditate and contemplate on my life and my surroundings.

I will share with you in the next articles how I actually prepared the trip, the places I visited and how it was to come back. I hope this will help some of you to break your circle and start your metaphorical or actual trip.