1. You appreciate it more – I did a gap year in Asia after I finished my degree and although I had the most incredible time and it firmly instilled the travel bug in me, I probably didn’t appreciate the time in the same way I did after 10 years of working 60 plus hours a week. All the stresses and frustrations that can come with a fast paced city lifestyle melt away.
2. You probably have more money – When I did my first long trip in South East Asia, my friend and I both had a budget of around £3,000 to last for 4 months and of course we ran out of money! Now back then this amount went far when a hut on the beach in Koh Phi Phi set you back $5 and a 12 hour bus ride was only $10. Although you can still travel on a budget you might find you don’t always want to and having a bit more spending money allows you to mix up your accommodation, opting for a nicer hotel or a flight instead of a bus journey.
3. You may not be able to do it again – depending on your situation, you may want to have children, buy a property or start your own business. In our late 20’s and early 30’s this tends to be what the people around us are doing and it’s likely you will want to do one or all of these things. This creates physical and financial ties that prevent you from being able to spontaneously quit your job and to run away to South America like I did!
4. You will find another job – by the time you decide to quit and take a later age gap year you are likely to have established yourself in your industry. You will hopefully have a CV with a number of years experience and a little black book of contacts who you can call on. On my return I went to quite a few interviews, not one of the people I met with looked negatively on the fact I had resigned, given up my clients and taken over a year out of the industry. In fact everyone I met congratulated me, wanted to discuss what I had done and said they wished they could do the same! I was lucky enough to have no shortage of job offers and actually went back to the company I had left over 14 months previous.
5. You will come back with a renewed energy and actually might crave the structure that you were so desperate to escape – After my trip I came back re-energised and enthusiastic, not only about businesses I wanted to start or get involved in, but also on re-entering the corporate world. Having such a long time off allowed me to see the merits of the corporate structure and although it may not be where I remain long term I certainly think for some having a break will make you appreciate what your job can give you, friendships, purpose and of course funding for your travels!
6. You will never regret the decision – To sum it up in a quote from Mark Twain ”Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines, sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”