7 Reasons To Plan A Gap Year Adventure

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If you’ve recently graduated high school or plan to graduate in the next 12 months, you may want to consider planning a gap year abroad. A gap year is a year spent abroad between graduating high school and enrolling in your first semester of college. It will give you the opportunity to explore the world and discover who you really are. Here are 7 reasons why that would be good for everyone young person:


1. Embarking On A Gap Year Will Force You To Become More Independent

Embarking on a year of solo travel will force you to learn how to take care of yourself as a full fledged adult. An example of this is learning financial skills, such as how to budget your spending money and how to fill out forms like visas, passports, etc. When you return home from your gap year with a smart phone full of photographs, you’ll also return as an independent adult who is ready to take on adult responsibilities such as moving away from home and enrolling in college.


2. Traveling Around The World Will Expand Your Horizons And Your World Views

You hold the opinions that you have due to your upbringing and the country that you were raised in. Should you choose to spend a fun filled year abroad, you’ll be exposed to different cultures and different ways of thinking that will no doubt reshape some of your world views. As a world traveler, you’ll also become a world citizen who thinks about the future of the planet instead of just the future of your own country. As an example, you may stop wasting your money on mass produced goods which are produced in sweat shops and start supporting small, locally run businesses.

sweat shop

3. You’ll Make Amazing Friends From Around The Globe

Not only might you make friends with the locals, you’ll meet those who will invite you to share a meal together and you’ll also bond with fellow travelers from around the world. After all, no one will understand the unique challenges that you’ll face like another gap year traveler. Better yet, when you finally fly home, you’ll have an address book full of friends you can visit on your next trip. And while it may be fun to stay in a luxurious hotel, nothing beats staying with locals who can show you a city’s real highlights.

people eating

4. You’ll Have More Time To Experience What Each Destination Has To Offer

On a typical vacation that only lasts a couple of weeks, you may only have a day or two to explore each destination that you visit. Whereas if you decide to travel as part of a gap year, you’ll be able to spend a week or longer in each destination. You’ll have the flexibility to change your itinerary at the drop of a hat. So if you fall in love with a beautiful Greek island or a beach town in Thailand, you’ll be able to extend your stay without any issues.


5. You’ll Have Time To Discover What You’re Passionate About

A large percentage of individuals who attend college immediately after their high school graduation end up changing their degree or major several times. After all, if you’ve spent your whole life sitting at a school desk, how are you meant to know what you’re passionate about? If you travel the world, you may find that you’re passionate about international cuisine after exploring a French marketplace, or be inspired to become a human rights lawyer after witnessing the struggles of individuals in developing nations.

chef's dish

6. You’ll Be Able To Share Your Culture With The Locals

Not everyone has the opportunity to travel the world. But if you do, you will be able to immerse yourself in a variety of different cultures and countries and share a small piece of your home country with the people you meet. For example, if you’re American, you may be able to share your Fourth of July stories and traditions with the locals that you meet, among other things.


7. You’ll Return Home A Different Person

After 12 months abroad, you’ll return home as a more confident, cultured version of yourself and you’ll be prepared for any challenge that comes your way. So what are you waiting for? The world’s waiting for you. All you need is a passport and a suitcase and you’re all set for the adventure of a life time. Just think about the stories that you’ll come home with!

A Gap Year Trip With My Dog

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I decided a couple of years ago to go to college to become a freelancer, doing all sorts of writing work for different clients around the world. Last year, I took a year off to travel, to gain a better understanding of the world and its cultures, so I would be able to write with more personal knowledge of different topics and places. Then I returned to college and will continue with my education so I can earn my degree.

When I went anywhere, I always took my best friend, Partner, who is my dog. I gave him such a name because my ex-boyfriend gifted him to me and just after a few days of receiving him, we went through a severe breakup. Since then, he’s been my partner with everything I do, and has helped me through a very painful time. He follows me like a shadow all the time, so I never thought of leaving him behind.

doggy with stick

In fact, I found him to be the best travel companion I could ever have wished for. Training him as a pup was almost effortless, and he is always ready to play and very much trustworthy. During my gap year adventures, I was taking a trip to Mexico, and as always, Partner was with me. We spent an amazing week there, visited a lot of places, especially beautiful Mexican beaches such as Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, and Cozumel.

Besides swimming and deep sea diving, I loved the nightlife there, and I also visited the El Cedral Mayan Ruins. After spending that fun week in Mexico, I was heading to San Francisco with Partner in my car, but on my way up there, he suddenly got sick. He stopped eating, vomited a couple of times, and was having nosebleeds. I also felt like he was dehydrated and whenever I touched him, his body temperature seemed to be hotter than usual. I was in shock, and almost panicked, but then I calmed myself and made a stop in Imperial Beach.

imperial beach

I started to look for a Vet, and fortunately, I found one very quickly. It was a smaller place named SeaCoast Veterinary Group. There was a female receptionist at the front desk, and she was very friendly and managed everything very quickly and efficiently. Even though it was a saturday, they instantly took me in as a emergency appointment. I took Partner in to a Vet who was very nice and took the time to listen to all of my concerns regarding the health of my dog.

Once I described the symptoms to the Vet, she suggested that my dog was most likely suffering from food poisoning and took a sample of Partner’s stool. The report was delivered soon after that, and during this time, my dog was very well taken care of. The staff were very efficient and friendly, and they carefully attended to Partner’s needs. The test confirmed the food poisoning, and the Vet put forth a wide range of options for filling the prescription. The cost for the whole treatment process was very affordable and I’m 100% satisfied with their services.

fortified dog food

More importantly, after Partner was given the first dose of the medicine, he was feeling better almost right away. After I wrapped up everything he needed, I fed Partner the specially fortified dog food suggested by the Vet, and while watching him eat, suddenly I realized how hungry I was! So, quickly, I grabbed some snacks from a nearby cafe and started to nibble on the food right away.

Finally, we were ready to hit the road to finish the rest of our journey to San Francisco. While I was getting inside my car with Partner, it came to my mind that my dog might have eaten something bad, most likely on the beaches of Mexico, which caused the food poisoning. Otherwise, there was no other reason for such an illness, as I always make it the highest priority to purchase the best food for my buddy, and he is fed every meal on time.

To make a long story short, we continued our journey to San Francisco, and my dog is all better and is just as active as before. That makes me extremely happy as well. We finished the rest of our journey without another incident, and once we reached home, I started to teach Partner not to eat anything that is not in his bowl!

Top 10 Places In The World For Rafting

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Rafting is dramatically increasing in popularity, and it’s something you can add to your gap year adventure list if you love extreme sports/activities. Many people these days are looking for the best destinations to try rafting for the first time or even challenge themselves with difficult runs. If you need to get a kayak before you go, check out best kayaks 2017. To find the best places to launch your rafting experience, check out these Top 10 Destinations In The World:

1. White Nile, Uganda

The White Nile River, a tributary of Nile River, weaves through Sudan, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda. Rising from Lake Victoria, rafting along the River Nile is a truly one of the best African adventures. Jinja is one of the towns of Uganda and it’s the premiere destination for one of the most exhilarating and thrill seeking rafting trips on the Nile.

white nile river

From the mild waters to the raging rapids that can flip you, plunge you over waterfalls and highside you against rocks, the White Nile is a force to be reckoned with. In addition, there are several different options available on the river, from leisurely jaunts for the amateur to jangling rides for the more experienced kayakers. As such, it’s perfectly suited for everyone. Between your rafting stints, you can also lunch on the river islands and, in case you opt for longer trips, you can camp in the African wilderness with dancing and music a-plenty.

2. Futaleufu River, Chile

The Futaleufu River usually cascades from the glacier-fed lakes high within the Andes Mountains. The aqua water is quite calm in most areas for the novice rafters. The Hobie Mirage 2 Person Kayak would be great for that.  Also, experienced rafters shall still feel at home in the longer stretches of Class IV drops and rough rapids. The area also has river camps with warm showers, hot tubs and beds. If you’re looking for a great adventure out of the waters, you can always try horseback riding or even rock climbing, which is available near Futaleufu River.

3. Pacuare River, Costa Rica

The Pacuare River in Costa Rica is enveloped in the lush tropical rainforest. Winding more than 67 miles through 3 sections, this river has rapids that are classed from III to IV. In case you have ever dreamt of spending a few days getting lost inside the jungle, then a rafting trip on Pacuare River should certainly be on your rafting hit list. Flowing ferociously all through the untouched rainforests of Cabecar Indian Reservation, it’s really a wet and wild experience.

pacuare river

Along the journey toward the Caribbean coast, rafters will have an opportunity of viewing the area’s resident ocelots, monkeys, exotic birds and jaguars. Waterfalls usually gush through forest gorges and the tropical birds soar overhead. The riverbank is also alive with toucans, parrots, sloths and green tree frogs. Rafting trips on Pacuare River are available all year round, all the way from San Jose to the Caribbean Coast and Arenal Volcano.

4. Çoruh River, Turkey

The Çoruh is among the fastest flowing rivers around the world, cutting through the breathtaking gorges found in the remote and beautiful Kaçkar Mountains of the northeastern parts of Turkey. Wildlife abounds in the area, from bears and mountain goats to wild boar. In addition, there are fascinating historical ruins that include castles dating back to the times of the Byzantine Empire. It would be great to always have a friend with you, so you can check out top 2 person kayaks before you leave on your adventure.

5. Zambezi River, Zimbabwe/Zambia

River Zambezi rises in the northwestern parts of Zambia near Angola and it snakes its way exotically through six different nations before spilling into the Indian Ocean on the coast of Mozambique. It is one of the top 10 rafting spots for a good reason. Where else can people brave the rapids that are beneath thundering Victoria Falls, with an epic African view as a backdrop?

zambezi river

The Zambezi River provides an adrenaline-soaked adventure for experienced rafters. Around half of the rapids found along this river are graded as Class IV. Apart from the massive swells and dramatic drops, this river offers rafters the chance to see hippos and crocodiles up close.

6. Colorado River, Grand Canyon

The Colorado River that winds for more than 226 miles through Colorado, Arizona and Utah is the quintessential white water rafting destination. When you are not battling with the powerful rapids, the calm stretches will provide you with a unique view of the Grand Canyon. The journey will also offer you plenty of adventure on the dry land with the ancient Indian ruins, campsites located on the beautiful beaches and miles of hiking trails.

7. Tully River, Australia

The Tully River is regarded as being the best place to try rafting in Australia. Located up near Cairns, choosing to brave the raging thunder of this river will provide you with a unique chance to take on the 44 rapids through the World Heritage rainforest, which is complete with dramatic gorges and cascading waterfalls. Might to have your Oru Bay Kayak for this one!

tully river

8. Río Upano, Ecuador

Río Upano is certainly one of the best places for rafting. Around you spreads the rain forest, where iridescent butterflies and toucans flit from one tree to another. You glimpse the palm-thatched village of the Shuar people and you can even stop to visit it. Starting from the remote town of Macas on the western fringes of Amazon Basin, you’ll embark on a great journey where pace varies from the gentle rapids to the tumultuous rides that run through narrow canyons. The highlight here is the Namangosa Gorge, with Class IV rapids and the sight of countless waterfalls that plunge down the gorge’s sides.

9. Rotorua, New Zealand

Rotorua is yet another adrenaline sport mecca. The area is set against a backdrop of the vast crater lakes and towering volcanic mountains. The eye-popping landscapes also add another level of excitement to rafting here. With both difficult and gentle grades, there is always a rafting trip for every person. From the scenic rafting trips with Grade II rapids to Grade V expeditions involving one of the world’s highest commercially rafted waterfalls, there is definitely no shortage of options available.

The Kaituna River found near Rotorua is a Grade V river and the highlight of the 45 minute journey is the 7-meter waterfall! You will paddle along lush landscape all the way through the beautiful gorges for a great experience. You can read inflatable kayak reviews before you go to see which one would be best for your particular adventure.

10. Ganges River, India

The sacred River Ganges originates in the Western Himalayas and it’s home to the best rafting in Asia. The Class IV and V rapids are normally experienced from October to June after the monsoon seasons. During stretches of calm water, the rafters can swim in the holy river and see Hindu temples that usually grace the shore.

Whether you’re new to rafting or you’re an experienced pro, there’s always a rafting destination that’s perfectly suited for you. Just pick up your paddle and head out to one of the above listed destinations for the best rafting experience. You can also find more information at www.kayaksession.com, a great kayaking site to research for your trip!

Excellent Reasons For Why You Should Spend A Gap Year In India

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If you are planning to visit South Asia, then be sure to consider India as one of your stops. There definitely is a lot to see, taste and experience while in this highly cultural republic.

Indians are widely known for their expertise in medicine (Ayurveda), mathematics (the invention of ZERO), and rich cultural beliefs. Their food has been embraced and duplicated all over the world but you will only get the opportunity to taste it first hand in its country of origin.

Above all else, spending your gap year in India will present you with the opportunity to leave with a mind opening experience. No other culture in the world is as rich as what India bestows upon us!

gap year in india

Prolific Architectural Designs

If there is something that Indians have well perfected, it is complex yet outstanding cultural designs.  Spending your gap year in India will make that very clear! A visit to your local temple will grant you a bit of insight into what this is all about. Having a first-hand experience of this is definitely going to leave you mesmerized. Their attention to detail and the ability to produce original, yet flawless crafts of shrines and buildings is worth the attention.

konark sun temple, india

Some of the sights and places worth paying a visit to while in India include Taj Mahal, Lotus Temple, Konark Sun Temple, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus Railroad, Agra Fort and much more. Most of the buildings and monuments with outstanding architectural designs are traditional and hold rich history, created the people’s ancestors. The beauty of the Indians is that they hold on to this cultural ability and continue producing outstanding works.

Historic Monuments

Only a handful of nations have and honor their historic monuments and objects. India is one of them. This guarantees that there will not be a dull moment when you visit this country. On tour around the nation, you will be greeted by opulent palaces, majestic structures and ancient forts that hold rich historic background around almost every corner. These depict tales of love/romance, battles, bravery, and strength.

There are certain monuments that hold rich historic culture that will hand you a handful of tasty experiences. These include the Taj Mahal Agra, one of the world’s seven wonders. It was built in the year 1632 by Shah Jahan for his late wife, who was the love of his life, Mumtaz Mahal. It took him 22 years to complete and it stands today as one of the best structures in the world. It is said that Shah Jahan cut off the hands of all the workers who helped build the structure to prevent them from ever duplicating the monument.

taj mahal in india

Agra Fort, another historic sight to see, was built in 1565. It is entirely built using red sandstone. The red fort Delhi was also built by Shah Jahan for over 10 years, from the year 1638-1648. It is where the President gives his speeches on Independence Day.

Qutub Minar, the first muslim kingdom, is definitely a sight worth visiting. The Indo-Muslim architecture displayed on this monument is unmatched and is dotted with carvings and rich verses of the Quran in Arabic and Nagari. Other history-rich places to visit include:

  • Humayun’s Tomb in Delhi
  • Fatepuhri Sikri in Uttar Pradesh
  • Hawa Mahal in Jaipur
  • Khajuraho temples in Madhya Pradesh
  • Sanchi Stupa, Madhya Pradesh
  • Konark Temple Odisha
  • Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya
  • Rani Ki Vav, Gujarat
  • Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu


The Hawa Mahal:

hawa mahal, india


Sanchi Stupa:

sanchi stupa

Mahabodhi Temple:

mahabodhi temple

Traditional Foods

Just like their culture, Indians are known to remain loyal to their traditional foods. Their staples include Basmati rice with just about every dish. Their food is of course, spicy but delicious as well. They incorporate a rich blend of spices and herbs into their meals so you may want to hold back if you have a sensitive tummy. Some of their favorite spices are curry, coriander, turmeric, cardamom, dried cinammon, dried hot peppers, and many others. However, some of their dishes are mild with minimal spices, yet still delicious.

Delicious Street Food in India - Gap Year

Some of the foods worth giving a try are Vada Pav, Masala Dosa, Aloo Parantha, Biryani, Rogan Josh, Chaat, Roti, Gulab Jamun, Pav Bhaji, Dhokla, Chicken Curry, Indian Bread, Samoa, Bhajia, Idli-Sambar, Gajar Ka-Halwa, Tandoori Chicken and much more. You can also expect to find international foods from fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s, KFC, and Pizza Hut and others.

Cultural, Traditional and Religious Beliefs

When visiting such a culturally-rich country such as India, it is best that you familiarize yourself with the people’s traditional and cultural beliefs. You should realize or study would could be considered offensive to them. A simple gesture such as patting a female acquaintance on their back could be translated the wrong way.

India is the birthplace of Buddhism and Hinduism, which are the fourth and third largest (respectively) religions in the world. Almost 84% of its citizens identify as Hindu, but there are several variations of it. However, there also are Christians and Muslims as well.

hindu goddess - Indian Cultural

Their traditional wear is the famous and colorful sari for the women and dhoti for the gentlemen. Dhoti is a unstitched piece of garment that’s tied around the waist and legs. The Kurta, a knee length long shirt, is also a traditional wear for men. During special occasions, men are known to wear a long coat with buttons running up to the neck, known as Sherwani. A Nehru jacket is also worn on special occasions and a short version of the Sherwani.

The largest and most important holiday in India is Diwali, which lasts for 5 days and all businesses are known to be closed during this festival. You may also hear this holiday being termed as ‘the festival of lights’. The different lights lit during this time symbolize inner light which protects them from spiritual darkness. Holi, also known as the festival of colors, is also an important holiday for Indians. It is also termed as the festival of love and is celebrated during the spring.

gap year in india : india festival of lights

Most Indians are vegetarians so you may notice a lot of herbs and vegetables in their diets. However, not everyone is a vegetarian and this group of people is well catered for in their rich and internationally recognized meat such as chicken tandoori. Cows are believed to be religiously holy, so expect to brush shoulders with a few of them in the streets. These remain untouched and to some people, eating beef in public is considered a sign of disrespect to cows.

If you are seriously considering your gap year in India, check out more interesting facts about India HERE!  Also, spending your gap year in India means being up-to-date on shots and vaccinations which you can check out here.

Historical/Education Places To Visit On Your Gap Year Adventure: Part 1

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There are many historical places to visit in the world that lets you experience firsthand where things happened, whether it was bad or good. It’s a fascinating way to be where people of the past once stood, or on battlefields where wars were fought, to see what they might have felt or went through.

One of the most horrible, well known events in history was the holocaust. If you are going on an educational tour as part of your gap year adventure, this is something you must experience, as sad as it will be. On a brighter side, you will be seeing Germany and Poland, which are beautiful by themselves.

You can find out about a 10-13 day tour that will take you all around Germany to see many sites, including Auschwitz, Krakow, and Nuremburg at eftours.com. The site also has other tours as well, depending on what you’re looking for and will give you an idea of what they will cost.

Travel Preparation Tips

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The video below will give you some useful tips on how to prepare for a trip to different countries, whether you are visiting a few of them or just one. It’s always a good idea to plan ahead for any difficult situations you may run into while you travel.

One of, if not the MOST important thing to research before you embark on a new adventure, is the use of Visas and Passports in each country. Some countries may not issue you a Visa right away, and you certainly don’t want to be stuck anywhere for an extended period of time. Make sure you have your documents with you at all times.


There are many more things to consider, as the video will explain, but another extremely important thing to do is to let people know where you are every step of the way. Your loved ones will already be concerned about you, but if anything does happen, they will know where you were last so they could find you or help you faster.