Lots of us dream of travelling the world, but not all of us are fortunate enough to have, or brave enough to seize, such an opportunity. It takes determination, grit, courage, and the resolve to put everything on hold.
For those going on a gap year, it’s an entirely different ballgame than it is for those who are adults. When you’re in your 20s or 30s, you have so many more sacrifices to make, and so much more to take care of before you can go: your home, your job, and your relationships, to name but a few.
Before you make that jump, here are a few of the things you need to think about…
Going travelling when you’re older can mean giving up a lot, and a stable job is just one of the things that you might have to sacrifice. So many people put their dreams on hold to build their career, but if doing so isn’t making you happy, then you have to ask yourself whether committing to your job is right for you. Even if the reply is ‘no’, the future of your career still needs thinking about before you go. If your company has bases in other countries, could you visit one of them? If your employer uses freelancers, could you be added to their network? Or, if they really value your contributions, could you return to work for them when you’ve finished travelling? If the answer to these questions is ‘no’, is this enough to deter you?
Travelling doesn’t only entail leaving physical possessions and sensible commitments behind; it can also mean sacrificing friendships and romantic relationships too. Those who fall into the former category will usually be willing to wait for you, but will those in the latter feel the same way? Although long distance relationships can work, they’re not the right choice for everyone, so you really need to consider whether what you have is worth staying at home for, or whether your dreams must take precedence.
There are a thousand other factors that you should consider, but one of the most important is your property. If you rent, then you simply need to provide adequate notice to your landlord, but if you own your home, then there’s a lot more to think about. Firstly, is it possible or desirable to keep hold of your house and cover your mortgage payments whilst you’re away? Would you feel comfortable renting it out from afar, or would you rather leave it empty or sell it? If the answer is the latter, then how quickly will you need to close on it, and how much realistically can you ask for?
When you can answer all of these questions, then only one remains: to travel or not? How will you choose to live your life?