Let’s face it, it’s not the best time of year is it. You’ve still got no money after Christmas, the nights are still far too dark and the prospect of a longed for holiday isn’t going to happen any time soon. As for cash-flow, it’s all going out!
If you can identify with the gloomy outlook then don’t worry, your problems are solved as 2012 is the perfect time to take a gap year or volunteer abroad.
Here are some reasons to seriously consider time out:-
The Economy is Rubbish
It is, it’s rubbish. There are only a handful of jobs around and it’s not going to get better quickly. And when it comes to young people – well you’ve seen the press reports. Over a million unemployed. What are you hanging around for?
You’ve Lost Your Job
Taking a year out isn’t exclusive to the younger generation. If you’ve lost your job and your family and financials are adding up then join in with the new trend. If you hate your job and you need time out, the same applies – there’s no better time than now. Come on, how many people out there are going through the daily grind and wishing there was more to life?
It’s Cheaper than Home
I’m not talking western Europe and its overpriced cities; the cost of living in areas like Latin America and Africa are so much cheaper than in the UK. Once you’ve covered your flight costs and secured accommodation or chosen your project, you can work your way through your trip.
You’ll See What Really Matters
And it isn’t all about you. No, really, it isn’t. Or about wearing the latest trendy gear. Be prepared for your whole perspective on life to be radically changed. Take a look at Costa Rica, for example. Head out there and help to build homes for the local families who are living without adequate sanitation (that’s running water and toilets to you and me). Exposed to the elements these vulnerable families rely on your help. Yes, you!
You’ll Make a Difference
It may be teaching children to speak English in Peru or maybe you want to work with orphans in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam? Projects like this look great on your CV when you decide to head home, but there’s no rush. Perhaps India is more your scene? Take a trip out to Goa and spend time teaching English to abandoned and homeless children. See what a difference you can make to their lives, never mind yours.
You’ll Discover Yourself
You’ll find a side to yourself you probably never knew existed. Get ready for a new emotion – humility! And if you prefer to work with animals, try working with elephants in Thailand. Spend time with the mahouts in Surin province preparing breakfasts of leaves and branches (for the elephants!) and spend your nights in a remote hill tribe village, learning what it’s really like living in desolate places. Be warned, you may well find this an emotional experience, it’s easy to become attached to those majestic creatures.
Oh, I nearly forgot, perhaps the most important reason of all …
You’ll Never Regret It!
In years to come you’ll be able to bore all of your family and friends with the exciting stories of what you did during your gap year. Of the time you went to volunteer abroad, surfed in Costa Rica, took an elephant ride through the jungles of Thailand or got lost in Ho Chi Minh City. The options are endless, as is the fun.
So, what are you waiting for?
Biog: Kate is looking forward to her next opportunity to volunteer abroad.