How to travel off the beaten path in your gap year

May 15, 2018

Taking a gap year is an exciting time for anyone, and it involves adventure and escape from the stresses of school and university. However, it can be difficult to know what, exactly, to do on your gap year if you do not want to take the path that everyone else has chosen. Travelling off the beaten path is the perfect way to spend your time, and outlined below are some fantastic ways to have the best gap year you can imagine.

Take a road trip around South Africa

A road trip around your home country is a great way to spend your gap year. You can space it out over six months, planning stops to different towns or provinces along the way. However, you will need to visit car dealerships beforehand to find the perfect road trip vehicle that is sturdy enough to handle long drives over bumpy roads.

You can stop off at the Owl House in Nieu-Bethesda, visit the Waterberg to see wildlife at its finest, camp in the Karoo and even spend a languid afternoon travelling around the Midlands Meander. Our country has so much to offer but we often have very little time to appreciate it all. A road trip will allow you to see attractions that you may not have known existed, as well as kill time before you leap into university life.

Look for a working opportunity overseas

You may not want to do anything in your gap year, after all, you have just finished a stressful education career, but looking for work overseas is different to finding a job in your hometown. A working holiday overseas can provide you with enriching opportunities, as well as the chance to experience a different career.

Some opportunities include building homes in remote, third-world countries or helping out at a resort on a stunning island. You may even find a career that interests you, this can help you choose what to study if you are having difficulties. Working overseas means that you fully experience a culture, rather than simply seeing the tourist-driven side of the country. You will come back with fond memories and even some new skills.

Try your hand at WWOOFing

WWOOFing or World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms is similar to Workaway, but it is focused on organic farms. Signing up for a WWOOF placement means that you need to be ready to perform farm labour and live a simple, organic lifestyle. It is not for everyone but it does allow you to travel without having to worry about accommodation or food while doing so.

WWOOFing is perfect for those who enjoy living a sustainable lifestyle or even if you are interested in studying organic agriculture at university. You will need to have an up-to-date passport and be willing to adhere to the rules of the host family you will be staying with. Being fit and able to handle a long day of work is essential, but it is a fun and exciting time for those who want to experience a different side of life.

Travel to places that are uncommon

Many people travel to Southeast Asia, South America and Europe in their gap years, but very few decide to see places that are off the beaten track. You could visit Cambodia and experience the wondrous temples in Siem Reap, with Angkor Wat being a highlight.

You could sightsee in Bhutan, a country in the Himalayas that is often not seen by many visitors, teaching English at Buddhist monastery schools and youth development programmes. Nepal also provides an exotic mix of cultures to explore, but whatever you choose be sure to go in with an open mind and a willingness to learn about how other people live their daily lives.

Choose people, not places

Travel is rarely about the location but more about the experience, which is why travelling to immerse yourself in a culture is the best way to do it. Choosing a country that interests you is better than simply choosing a country that has tourist destination in it.

Connecting with people is part of your gap year experience, and what better way to do this than to choose a country that is totally different to your own? The people you will meet will enlighten you about how other people live their lives, and you may end up with lifelong friendships after your travels. Choosing people rather than places means that you will be able to learn something on your gap year rather than simply visit a country to take photographs to show off on social media.

Your gap year could involve a road trip, but be sure that the car dealers are honest and open with you about all issues with the car. You could choose to work overseas and gain valuable life skills, or you could go off the beaten track and visit ancient temples. Whatever you choose to do, do it with an open mind and a positive mindset.

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