A gap year can enrich your life by immersing you in new cultures and teaching you about the history of the world.
Also known as a career break or sabbatical, a gap year is often taken for a period of one year. The aim is to reconnect with life at a different pace or embark on new experiences.
Typically, most people who take a gap year are between high school and university, hoping to get to know more of the world and see sights beyond their hometown.
But what about those who never had the opportunity to take a gap year in their younger age and are looking to have that experience in mid-life?
When you’re older, you’ve likely seen a lot of things — but that doesn’t mean you’re done learning and experiencing the world around you.
These breaks can be great if you’re seeking a break from the usual routines and responsibilities of work and life and want some time to explore before returning.
Here’s what you should consider when planning your mid-life gap year.
Decide why you need a break
What’s driving your decision to take a gap year?
Knowing why you want to take a gap year is a great way to learn more about yourself and what motivates you.
Many students who take gap years use the time to find themselves and broaden their horizons before settling into adult life or choosing their career path.
But even mid-life adults may want the opportunity to change their lifestyle, recover from burnout, take time out for their mental health, have the opportunity to volunteer, or learn new skills.
Whatever it is you want to experience during your gap year, get clear on your intentions before embarking on the adventure.
Set a budget
Before choosing where you want to go, you need to start a budget.
Building a budget might seem tedious, but it can save you plenty of stress and worry in the future.
If you have a budget you can stick to, you could feel less stressed about finances than you would if you had to track everything as it happens.
Budgeting is key to an enjoyable gap year.
Pick a path
Once you have everything decided, it’s time to chart your course.
Unless you want to stay in one place for your entire gap year, you should plan every stop you plan to take and how long you’ll be there for.
Gap years are most common in the United Kingdom and Australia, so be sure to research the travel paths that other people from your area often take to get ideas. You might even consider country-hopping in Europe.
Do some research to align your destination with your life goals.
Do you want to focus on living more intentionally? You could immerse yourself in the ‘pura vida’ lifestyle of Costa Rica, which translates to ‘pure life’ or focusing on what’s really important.
If you want to explore a different form of spirituality, you could try India. Rather than choosing a top tourist vacation spot, think about what you hope to learn from your experience.