Today a year ago I left my home for Australia. I felt that I wanted a nomadic, globe-hopping, dream chasers and game changes life before I could even descriebe what I was seeking. This was something I didn’t need peer validation for. First time I felt an ache like that was following a solo trip to Egypt at the age of 18. I was young, fearless, had blond hair and wanted to travel alone. So when I confronted my parents with my booked flight, they were like “Are you out of your mind child? Absolutely not.” I got their blessing after a convincing presentation and a list with all contact details of the hotel, Polish Embassy in Cairo, travel agent and emergency numbers.
Infused with the feeling that there are an infinite numer of ways to live life, not just the two or three paths I had been taught at school or saw among my family and friends, I wanted more. At the end every adventure will always remain something nobody can take away from me. Travelling changes you, and there is no way back after that. Breaking free of the shackles of Monday to Friday, mechanical civilisation and our money-based society seems to be something many among us are craving. Thanks to a growing global trend, we’ve learned that travelling the world while building your profession is not a completely impossible juggling act. And in most countries a gap year is recognised as a life-enhancing adventure and if you work abroad a perfect opportunity to gain experience with other management styles, business structures, product and marketing strategies and approches.
If you think of doing a gap year, here are some of my tips for a successful one:
Forget expectations – Expectations kill every experience (and every relationship – as a side note). You probably agree that the best things happen unexpected. Although it’s ok to plan ahead, it’s even better to just see what happens and be open for everything that comes, without imaginating every detail.
Take less – When packing suitcase, my best advice is to lay out all the things you think you absolutely need to pack and then take half away and you are close to perfect. (I still have way too much stuff with me)
Listen to your gut – Constantly remember why you’re doing what you’re doing and decide from a deep gut instinct. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t go ahead with it. But remember, if something scares you (in a posivite exciting way), it’s probably a good idea.
Journal time – Invest in a nice journal before you start your adventures. I got a beautiful leather-bounded journal from my lovely sister last year which I used every day on my last trip until it was full. Write down your day, your observations, thoughts in each place and on every day. Journaling is a therapeutic method to declutter your thoughts and also a unique reminder of your travelling experiences.
Say hello – Get to know the area where you stay and the locals as quickly as you can when you arrive somewhere new. Sightseeing can wait. Local people can give you local insights to their towns. Instagram is a great tool for meeting new people around the world. You can follow people in the places you plan to go and reach out to them before you get there.
Listen up – Audio books, podcasts and music on long lonely journeys and flights are life saving. Go for informative and educational content if you like.
Go off-line – Journeys are here to enjoy and be IN the moment. Being away from internet, phone, friends and emails can provide space to put an idea together, plan it out or just daydream and feel like a child again.
Find a new home – It’s easier to find accomodation once you’ve landed. Book a room on AirBnB for your first three weeks. Local knowledge is key. Don’t be afraid to ask.
Move quickly – While the notion of packing up and moving your life at whim seems romantic, the logistical elements of creating your new existence can be tricky. There is a mountain of admin that needs to be done. From simple tasks like redirecting your mail or getting visa to things like quitting insurences and renting agreements. Once you sorted out all details, relocate fast, which is good because you have less time to overthink it.
Feels like home – Make your new place comfortable as quickly as you can, no matter if you stay a few days or months. What ever it is that makes a place homey for you, do it. For me it’s sented candles, fresh flowers, clean place, cosy couch, cook a huge meal, fresh bed linen, pictures of friends, as well as going for a run in the area, grocery shopping, yoga class or anything like that.
This is my contribution to empower as many people as possible to be the very best version of themselves. Check also this out: RemoteYear.com & worldnomads.com