10 Reasons to take a Gap Year and Travel the World

Brooke Saward
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Whether it’s a traditional ‘gap year’ fresh out of school or a year-long career break to go out and explore the world, there are more reasons for why you should travel the world to negate those that you shouldn’t. Here are the top 10 reasons to take a gap year and travel the world (so you can stop making excuses)…

  Gap Year Brooke Romania

Time isn’t on your side

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “there’s no time like the present”… but what if you took it in a more literal sense to really come to the realisation that there are no guarantees in life – all we have is right now.

Truth is, we’re only getting older. You will never be as young as you are right now. Before it’s too late, take the plunge. Go out and see the world, learn from different cultures, experience new traditions, speak another language, taste delicacies that you would never think twice about trying at home. Try new things. Change. Evolve. Live. Learn.

Travel will teach you what they don’t at school

If travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer, what exactly are you getting back from it?

Ever heard of a ‘worldly education’? Travel is an experience – a real life encounter that teaches you things you will never learn any other way – especially not in school. When we travel we appreciate what we have at home, we become more patient and understanding, we accept people the way they are and we allow ourselves to be better people because of it.

It can be cheaper than living at home

One of the biggest excuses for not travelling is because it is “too expensive”. Either you’re making an excuse for yourself, not prioritising your expenses, or are oblivious to the fact that travel isn’t nearly as expensive as it is thought to be. In this day and age travel is incredibly affordable and in many cases (think Nepal, Southeast Asia, Nicaragua… and many more), it is cheaper than living at home.

Being well-travelled has more benefits than you might think

Many people claim they can’t take a gap year or take a career break because it will tarnish their job prospects – but have you ever thought about how it will help not hinder them? At the very least you will have a more interesting life story than others, but travel also shows you are more worldly, educated in a hands-on sense, and have the ability to think outside of the box.

free yourself

Free yourself of the emptiness attached to possessions

Earlier this year I sold all my things, packed everything I owned into a suitcase and set off to travel the world. It was the most refreshing and liberating thing to be able to pack all of my belongings in a suitcase and be completely freed of all material possessions. If you’re feeling bogged down in the day-to-day of life, this is without doubt the best way to completely free yourself of your old life and start a new one – even if it is only temporary.

Find your passion and you find your purpose

When you graduate fresh out of college or university, you’ll be surprised to learn that you have very little idea what the future holds – perhaps you’ll even less certain than when you began. It’s important to take this time to stop doing what is expected of you, what you expect of yourself, and instead take the time to try new things, explore, evolve, and find out what your passion is. There’s no better way to do that than to explore the world in search of it.

You really can live life like a dream

When you travel (especially solo) you decide everything. You decide when you wake up, when you go to bed, what you do that day, who you spend time with… it’s all on you. On the one hand this is an overwhelming sense of freedom, but on the other it also forces you to make better decisions.

Do what you want, when you want, without giving a reason

And then there’s also the fact that you don’t have to answer to anyone – that’s just an added bonus.


Everything at home will be right there when you get back

Many people use the excuse that they can’t or shouldn’t travel because they have commitments back home. Whether it’s a job, family, friends, a relationship or you just love your dog too much (I can relate), I can assure you they will be right there when you get back. I’ve now been travelling nonstop for 8 months and every so often when I do speak to my friends and family back home, nothing has changed.

Evolve. Learn. Grow. CHANGE your view on life

But the most important reason to travel is for yourself.

Travel changes you in a way that can’t be described. Everything that happens, whether good or bad, successfully arriving somewhere or catching a wrong train… all of it shapes you into being a more tolerant, patient, and understanding person. You’ll see things that would make you uncomfortable back home and suddenly realise that you walk right by without even flinching. You’ll start thinking about life in a complete different way and those pitiful little problems you once had from a breakup or the time you reversed into a parked car (yeah, I did) will start to become so trivial. Money stops having as strong a value because you stop valuing physical items and instead wish to spend it on experiences. You find yourself using less toilet paper, washing your hair less often, learning to make do with what you have instead of being indulgent. I could write a list the length of my arm about how travel changes you but the truth is you won’t know or understand it until you experience it yourself.

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    Clare Jensen
    November 15, 2014 at 4:13 am

    I can’t advocate for this enough. Travel is a fantastic education.

    Abbie Driscoll
    October 1, 2014 at 6:50 am

    Brooke, I love your blog! I have to admit, I get jealous for a moment when I look at your life. But reading about how it’s not as hard as everyone says it is to travel the world, see how you’ve done it, and read about all of your adventures, I am so encouraged to go do it myself! Thanks! 🙂

    Diane Corriette
    September 21, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    I always wish I had the confidence to wander when I was younger but I didn’t. In the next 3 years when my youngest has left home I will start, age 50, to start my own wandering. I am excited about it but nervous!

    It is a great life experience to enjoy. Stories you will tell your whole life. Fantastic 🙂

    September 19, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    Such an inspirational post Brooke! Through travelling not only have I learnt a lot about the world but so much about myself – it’s been great! Everyone go out and travel, it will be the best decision you make! 🙂 x

    September 16, 2014 at 12:13 am

    I’m so glad I found your blog via Instagram. I especially appreciate and find this post inspiring. I am traveling next month, for just the month because I knew I wanted to do something before I found a job and “settled” into life. I’m hoping to add another trip or two later in the year and I will be referring to your blog for ideas, advice, and inspiration!

    September 12, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    Great post! I haven’t traveled yet, but I look forward to going someone different and learning things about myself that I haven’t before!

  • awanderlustblog@OUTLOOK.COM'
    September 10, 2014 at 8:02 am

    great post.. i need this inspiration to be brave and go for it!

    September 10, 2014 at 4:30 am

    You’re literally living the dream! Such and inspiring post and I’ll definitely have to take some sort of gap year xxx

    September 10, 2014 at 2:20 am

    Great list and very true! People just have to experience it to understand why we love to travel..

    Clipping Path Outsource
    September 9, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    We have to travel to learn, known etc. Not reading your reasons but the reasons will made inspiration for anyone.

    September 9, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    I love youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu! <3

    September 9, 2014 at 10:47 am

    I definitely can vouch for a gap year. Although i only went to Australia, i learnt so much!

    Lizzy at Nomad Notebook

    September 9, 2014 at 10:46 am

    I wish someone had told me these things in high school. My parents never encouraged international travel. I guess that’s why I moved two states away after college! I do want to make travel more of a priority though, for now I’m doing my best to explore the south. 🙂


    Departures With Aimee
    September 9, 2014 at 4:08 am

    You are literally one of my biggest inspirations. Although I don’t need motivation to travel you sure do make me believe in myself. After all no one else usually does, people think I’m crazy when I tell them about all the things I aspire to do one day haha! For my gap year I’m planning on going to volunteer in an elephant conservation centre in Thailand, I’m going for about 6 months and I absolutely can’t wait! 😀

    • worldofwanderlust
      September 9, 2014 at 4:10 am

      While no one else does, I certainly do! We can do whatever we set our minds (and hearts) to!!! 🙂 x

    September 8, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    So inspiring <3

    September 8, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    Such a fantastic post Brooke! Wow, you are truly inspiring! I have definitely decided that I want to travel (solo) and these points are perfect to convince parents (and myself).
    I also believe that I should make the most of my youth and travel while I am able to, instead of thinking about the ‘what ifs’ :)xx

    Marta Chan
    September 8, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    As a long term traveler, I think that you became more aware of society issues and try to figure out ways to help people. Also you will respect more mother earth and understand that we need her to live so we start treating her much better, wasting less water, reusing more, etc etc
    when you visit poor countries you will appreciate way more your own country and reconize how beautiful is your life. Dont waste any more time, go travel! 😉

    Runway Ribbons
    September 8, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    Such an inspiration Brooke! Currently reading your book and I love it! Wish I could get it off my mac and into my iBooks though so I can read on the go, lol

    Lovely post!

    Stéphanie | Expeditie Aardbol
    September 8, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    Thanks for sharing, I needed this 🙂

    September 8, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    beautifully written, Brooke!

    I decided to go on a “gap year” from working last December, since I thought i ought to see the world whilst I am young. One of the best decisions I have ever made. the only problem is now that I cannot stop. ha.

    travelling definitely enriches you, and you learn things that you cannot learn back at home. And you get to meet some fascinating lovely people.

  • Madelinefedmont@yahoo.con'
    September 8, 2014 at 4:59 pm

    Thank you for this post. This year I am taking a gap year and at first I felt worried about it but now I am very happy that I am taking it.

    September 8, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    I totally believe that everyone should travel.

    Best holiday destinations
    September 8, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    Thanks for posting nice views.

    Michelle | Lights Camera Travel
    September 8, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    Absolutely! We need to make the most of our youth. Contrary to what people say, we do not actually have “all the time in the world.” Life passes us by if we’re not careful.

    September 8, 2014 at 9:05 am

    I agree with every single point!! I graduated in may from the University of Michigan (in the states) and instead of enter “corporate america” as we call it I’m forging my own path, and taking the year to travel around the world, by myself. I do workaways which is a great way for people on a budget to travel, and I agree–it is way cheaper than living at home!!

    Thanks for the amazing post.

    September 8, 2014 at 8:59 am

    You are very inspiring! Thank you for sharing your life 🙂