Kristen's Gap Year
So, gap year. I didn’t even know these were a thing until the summer before my sophomore year of my undergraduate degree. You’re probably reading that thinking “omg where even where you?” to which my answer would be: DEALING WITH HIGHSCHOOL PROBLEMS. What was I going to wear that day?, did he just message me?, she is a slut, wow I am not as pretty as those girls… and the list goes on. So I just didn’t even know that was an option, I heard of people taking a year off to work & save money to pay for school but that was about it.
I first heard about a gap year when I met one of my now best friends/ soul sisters. We were working at a summer camp in northern Maine as camp counselors and just became immediate . She was from the UK & was telling about how after high school she had taken a year off and traveled with friends, seen different countries, had new & exciting life experiences & then went off to college/ uni (whatever you call it depending on which country you’re from) when she was ready. I really liked the idea of this because it was on her own terms. I in no way feel like me attending uni was on my own terms. I felt like at 17, 18 I was NOT READY… One I didn’t for sure know what I wanted to do, I mean how am I supposed to choose a career for a person that hasn’t even had those formative life experiences let? I was picking something for a future me, a person I didn’t even know. So from then on I knew I was going to take that gap year that I felt I missed out on.
One of the most asked questions about my trips is “how do you afford it?” Well, there are many different answers. I am so lucky to have parents who support me, and help me with money from time to time. However, that isn’t to say I didn’t do a hell of a lot to save. When I say save here is what is mean: I started saving for my gap year in the summer before my sophomore year of college, as soon as Katie told me about about hers’. I had summer jobs and saved all of the money I could from those, and as I mentioned living with my parents rent free free with free food helped ALOT. I also got a job and worked around 20 hours a week trying to juggle my 5 courses, labs, 2 internships, and studying. I then saved all of that money, and spent as little as possible on essentials each week. Another big big thing which is hard to do was I NEVER went out, not for food or drinks or social things that cost money. It is a money drain, and yes worth it because it’s quality time with your friends but I knew my gap year would be too. And so it went until I finished my degree in April of 2016.
In April right after I finished classes, and before graduation I flew to England to visit my boyfriend & friends I have had from my semester exchange (I did in Australia), from there we flew to Dublin! There is truly nothing better than going on a trip with a big group of your close friends… and the flight from Leeds to Dublin was around 30£. I stayed there for about 6 weeks and explored England, went to the south, the north, and many places in between. I then went back to Canada for my Undergraduate graduation!? Still feels weird to say…
What did I do my first summer of freedom in this new world? Worked. At an all girls summer camp. You always need more money, am I right? I worked until the first week of August when the summer camp ended and I started my yoga teacher training course. ( See my blog post on my yoga journey: https://mystretchlife.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/yoga-how-did-i-start-my-yoga-journey.html#more )
This is another area I was lucky in because I had help paying for this. If any of you have looked it up you know its expensive as hellllll. BUT WORTH IT (will do a specific post on this as well!) I did my course as an immersion experience in Maui so that was such an adventure/ life changing experience. I didn’t know it at the time but I was beginning a journey of self understanding, secular understanding, and believe me it came with ups but it also came with massive lows.
From Maui I started what I was considering in my head as my official “gap year” - when I think of what I wanted out of it there was no plan, list of places, thought that I would become this eat.pray.love type person but look at me know. Yes, traveling changed my whole life and perspective on who I think I should be & how other humans deserve to be treated but I suppose I didn’t do all my traveling during my gap year & every tiny moment have lead me to these thoughts now. So if you take a gap year will you feel “enlightened”? I don’t know, honestly.
I will not bore you with such phrases like “and then we did this and then this and then this….” I do want to go into each section of my trip in detail, of course, but I will save those thoughts for later posts. So, from here I will give you a list of the places in order of where I went. Hold on to your hats people: Maui, Maine, England, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, England, Maine, England, Bratislava, Budapest, Vienna, England, Maine, road trip across America to Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Calgary, Banff, road trip from Banff to Maine, England, Sweden, England, Maine.
I will be starting my masters in January of 2018, in Physiotherapy. My gap year has turned into a gap year and a half… At first I felt upset because these 4 months felt like wasted time… waiting time. But time is only what you make it & so I am working to make this “fall semester” productive. I am teaching 4 yoga classes a week , studying anatomy, physiology, and every advised book before my masters starts, just trying to be prepared I guess… I don’t know really. I’ve also gotten the chance to visit my friends doing cool things this fall. As in Lund, Sweden, and Oxford, England.
All in all I have learned more than I ever thought I would about myself, more than I thought there was to learn during my gap year. Some good & some bad, I feel so lucky to have had the chance, the time, and the support. I know this is something I shouldn’t take for granite & I will try to never do so.
If you have any questions comment below! I will be doing different blog posts on some specific places so you if want to hear about any in particular please let me know!
SUBSCRIBE SO YOU NEVER MISS THE GOOD STUFF
Weekly blog posts on gear reviews, research discussions, outdoor trips, and more!!
We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.