Olivia Ross Rsz 2

Olivia's Gap Year Diary - Adventure is Out There


Travel is usually most people’s reason for taking a gap year. Now as I have mentioned previously the amount of travel which I wanted to do during my gap year, unfortunately, had to be downgraded for my own good. But I have good news – I'm off to Thailand for a month!

When we decide to explore and try new things we don’t think about the logistics and the many hard decisions that will actually get us on our journey to new experiences so I am going to enlighten you about my struggle to plan my gap year travels. Hopefully it'll help when it comes to planning yours.

Firstly some background, I have never travelled by myself before, having always gone on holiday with my family or friends, so the idea of booking and organising this trip was all extremely foreign to me. So, safe to say this is going to be more of a list of my mistakes than advice, but that might be what you need, after all sometimes it’s comforting to know someone else is having the same problems as you.

iStock_70849517_XXLARGE - Bangkok Thailand

Get your affairs in order

First things first, you need to deal with the environment you are going to be leaving behind while you are galavanting around a new country; i.e. work, family, friends – that sort of thing. 

Now I got off on a very bad start to this with the most important factor; my family. My family are extremely overprotective, even more so when i informed them of my plans to travel to Thailand by myself for a month. Straight away the stern voices came out, trying to persuade me not to go with news about the dangers I could possibly face and diseases I could catch. My advice now to you if your family are similar (as they probably will be) would be to listen, try and reassure them and try to compromise. Now I did none of this. I firmly asserted myself, declaring nothing they could do would change my mind, being so stubborn that my family and I have not talked about Thailand since. Which, as you may have guessed, is not good. So there was my first mistake.

Next lets go to work. Some of you may remember my post about my new job at Sainsbury’s, a job which I do enjoy and do actually want to keep. Now when I first started I was temporary and my contract then got extended, now this led to me to think that I wouldn’t actually be kept on after my contract had finished so I decided to keep quiet about the month and a bit I would need off work in July. This as you may have guessed, was a mistake. As i have now been told, i should have mentioned this when i first started, not just as they were about to make me permanent. So there’s the second mistake. My advice? Don’t be afraid of telling your employers anything, If it’s important and will effect them- they need to know asap.

Save up

My final mistake? Saving up. Now I was aware that travelling would cost me quite a lot, however, I thought that paying for flights would be the main thing, and that after paying for them I would be free to spend my money how I liked. This again is wrong. There are so many aspects to travel which my rose tinted eyes swept past: insurance, injections, spending money - the list goes on and definitely doesn’t end at flights. Now after telling my family of this mistake and them assuring me they weren’t going to help me, my dad gave me some advice which I am passing to you, he told me to save at least 10% of my wages every pay day and leave it for a rainy day.

Money © Lynne Carpenter - Fotolia .com 

Face the challenges head on

Overall, making mistakes is easy, especially easy in my case, but its the way you deal with those mistakes that matters. Now, sitting here writing this, I am happy with my travel plans, having dealt (somewhat) with the mistakes I’ve made and preparing for the next hurdle of problems to come my way.

My advice? Even if you do come to a hitch in the road, just remember there is a solution for everything and whether it’s achieved by talking to someone or found by searching on the internet, it can always be found.

One last thing – happy travels!