Where's the best place for a gap year?

Cadence35
Cadence35 Posts: 13
edited April 2010 in The bottom bracket
I’m going to be taking a gap year after school next year to go travelling, just not sure on what to do but keen to keep on meeting people really! I have a few mates doing the same thing so we’ll no doubt meet up somewhere while doing it. Does anybody have anything to chuck in on what the good places are? Think I’m fairly sure of where to go but always great to have another side. Going to try go somewhere laid back and fresh ( somewhere with good country roads for cycling would be a bonus). Let me know!
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Comments

  • fast as fupp
    fast as fupp Posts: 2,277
    kandahar
    'dont forget lads, one evertonian is worth twenty kopites'
  • mroli
    mroli Posts: 3,622
    The question is "what do you want to do". Just saying a "gap" year means you are leaving things really really wide open - its a big world out there. If you are just wanting to go travelling (which is effectively partying around the world for 4-6months) then the SE Asia (cos its cheap), Australia/New Zealand (cos its easy and good), America tours are popular and you'll bump into people that way.

    Or S America is a good bet - especially if you want to improve your Spanish (or Portuguese in Brazil). Africa is good if you want to do the safari thing and overland it.

    Or do you want to do a whole year overseas and live somewhere? Then you are looking at something like teaching in a foreign country, working for a charity etc etc.

    Saying "I wanna do a gap year" and not qualifying it with anything is a bit like saying "I wanna buy a bike" - you really need to be a bit more focused.

    As for good country roads for cycling - your problem if you go to a developing nation, then the roads are pretty crap and you won't be able to get hold of a bike - if you go to a developednation then its expensive generally and there will be a lot of traffic. There are good countries out there though - say what you want adn that will make it esier.

    Meeting people - will depend on you! Tell us your plnas and we'll criticise/advise as needed!
  • I spent five months in India and SE Asia for my gap year. Best time of my life. If you want culture then I would really recommend India. Loads of fantastic religious buildings to see and living is very cheap (We were living comfortably on less than £10 a day including travel and accommodation costs!!!). Getting around is also very easy and part of the enjoyment (sleeper train journeys of over 500km that cost about £5!). It is quite hard work travelling there though as everyone assumes they can somehow get some money out of you. But the people who aren't after your money are just amazing and so inspiring!!

    SE Asia is great but it gets very western which is a bit of a shame IMO. That area definitely has a 'travellers route' but if you try and leave it you see some of the best places. Laos and Vietnam are amazing and well worth a visit (a lot nicer than Thailand IMO which is just too touristy). They have some really interesting (maybe the wrong word) military history. Cambodia is great as well. Worth it for a trip to the Killing Fields.

    Central America is also an option. Not been myself but my brother went and he had a great time. Couldn't comment infrastructure and living costs though.

    I think trying to bring cycling into it would incur a lot of costs, mostly because the cheaper to travel countries just won't be suitable for cycling around. I think Australia would be a possibility for cycling in though.
  • davelakers
    davelakers Posts: 762
    "Where's the best place for a gap year"

    Doing some work you lazy workshy stoooodent!!!
  • Homer J
    Homer J Posts: 920
    I hear Milton Keynes is good this time of year.
  • jgsi
    jgsi Posts: 5,062
    Nothing brings on more to the phrase generation gap as does the phrase gap year.
    My dad had 6 of them - they were called W W 2
  • Cadence35
    Cadence35 Posts: 13
    Sorry should've put more detail in, I just wanna head around meeting some new people and get some good outlooks on how other people live. I'm working part time to raise the money for it, would just rather spend a year discovering something new than the bore of working full time in my youth. Working while I'm away would be nice. To give you some idea of where I'm at I'm thinking of going to NZ to do WOOFing (working on a farm and in return they feed you and put you up etc) and then backpack around the country :D

    I think I'll do Asia and South America a bit later on, thanks for the suggestions so far though it's been a great help
  • nolf
    nolf Posts: 1,287
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKFjWR7X5dU

    And then I just chundered everywhere!
    "I hold it true, what'er befall;
    I feel it, when I sorrow most;
    'Tis better to have loved and lost;
    Than never to have loved at all."

    Alfred Tennyson
  • desmosedici
    desmosedici Posts: 117
    JGSI wrote:
    Nothing brings on more to the phrase generation gap as does the phrase gap year.
    My dad had 6 of them - they were called W W 2

    Good one. I just spluttered coffee all over my screen. :lol:
  • Ollieda
    Ollieda Posts: 1,010
    kandahar

    Jokes aside, there are a few students doing this. Sign up through the TA (a few of my friends went with 4PARA) then do all your training and attach to a unit doing tour. Come back having served your country, much more mature for uni and with a bit of money in the beer fund! Obviously there are risks attached so it's not an option to take lightly!

    If you want to keep cycling it might be an idea to try and find a place where you can cycle all year as your gap year! My brother plays cricket so he went to Sri Lanka for his gap year and played and worked at a cricket club for the year. Earnt enough money to live out there easily for the year and his cricket skills improved masively. Maybe you could look at working in a bike shop or for a bike manufacturer or something in America (if you don't fancy having to learn another language) and then get loads of miles in on the bike
  • jc4lab
    jc4lab Posts: 554
    Maybe look at Lonely Planet Thorntree forum for General Gap year stuff
    Has a bike section also...Hostelbooking webbsites like Hostelworld have also lots of related links..Check out your RaIn , Typhoon or hot seasons in areas which you are going to.

    http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/f ... forumID=58
    jc
  • spen666
    spen666 Posts: 17,709
    Where's the best place for a gap year?

    University is as good a place as any
    Want to know the Spen666 behind the posts?
    Then read MY BLOG @ http://www.pebennett.com

    Twittering @spen_666
  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 74,454
    nolf wrote:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKFjWR7X5dU

    And then I just chundered everywhere!

    Yeah...BANTER!


    Seriously though. Ignore anyone who says you're being lazy. They're just very jealous. You only live once, and you can work for the rest of your life. One year won't make a difference.

    Also, given the chronic state of graduate employment at the moment, this year is probably one of the best times ever to take a gap year.

    But don't try and fool anyone; it's just a very big holiday, where you go where YOU want to, when you want to, which, post school, is a lovely feeling. Treat it as a holiday and enjoy it!

    Having said all this, I never went on one, because I'd been pretty spoilt as a child and teenager with regards to seeing the world. Didn't feel the need to see anything especially immediately.
  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 74,454
    jc4lab wrote:
    Maybe look at Lonely Planet Thorntree forum for General Gap year stuff
    Has a bike section also...Hostelbooking webbsites like Hostelworld have also lots of related links..Check out your RaIn , Typhoon or hot seasons in areas which you are going to.

    http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thorntree/f ... forumID=58

    I'd personally go for the rough guide over Lonely Planet.

    My experience is that Lonley Planet is aimed at more middle aged travelers with more money and children in tow.

    The rough guide is a little more 20's orientated (though, they still point out all the pricey sh!t).
  • MattC59
    MattC59 Posts: 5,408
    Gap ? There's one in most large towns...........

    Seriously though, a mate of mine did a year in Nepal, said it was one of the best things he could have done. He also did a year in Australia. He didn't move around too much, just worked in bars on the major backpacking route. Why ? He spent most of his time sh*gging the endless stream of young ladies coming through the town :D

    Two options, culture or LOTS of sh*gging.............. as an 18yr old, I know where I'd go !!!
    Science adjusts it’s beliefs based on what’s observed.
    Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved
  • spen666 wrote:
    Where's the best place for a gap year?

    University is as good a place as any
    I disagree, I got a lot more from travelling then I could ever get from uni.

    As for RG vs LP, I found the LP books have a much better structure. Also, the trouble with these books is that everyone has them so everyone goes to the same places! Often some of the best places are those you find by accident, which is harder to do if you're using the books.
  • Bikerbaboon
    Bikerbaboon Posts: 1,017
    have a look,

    http://www.projecttrust.org.uk/

    I did that for my year out. It can be hard but living in a country for a year you learn alot more than just passing though.
    Nothing in life can not be improved with either monkeys, pirates or ninjas
    456
  • dbmnk
    dbmnk Posts: 217
    Dunno if you're off to college, uni, want a career, or something similarly stupid, but then you might consider working for some charity instead of just fooling around.
    That way you can see the world while doing something useful - help people in need, and put a nice show on your CV.

    Go work help develop schools in Africa, help orphan street-kids in South America, help on hospitals in Palestine, fight the ice melting in Greenland.

    Normally organizations doing that kind of work can provide you with shelter and food, but you don't get paid. Either way, it's better than spending all your money partying in Thailand.
  • dbmnk
    dbmnk Posts: 217
    have a look,

    http://www.projecttrust.org.uk/

    I did that for my year out. It can be hard but living in a country for a year you learn alot more than just passing though.
    excactly
  • guilliano
    guilliano Posts: 5,495
    Agree with the work for a charity idea. Looks good on the CV but also allows you to do something worthwhile for others who don't have the option of a gap year.

    If you want something bike related, how about a charity ride? Do a lap of the UK coastline...... that's a LONG ride and you'd meet loads of people from different backgrounds
  • bigmat
    bigmat Posts: 5,134
    I'm in two minds about the charity thing. If you have a particular skill e.g. medical, construction, engineering etc. then you may well be able to be of genuine assistance, but a lot of the charity programmes I came across they just wanted your money, and you could then pretend to be doing some good so you had something to put on your CV at the end of it. Stuff like building wells in Peru, honestly the one thing less developed countries aren't short of is manual labour! I'm guessing anybody coming out of school wouldn't have a whole lot to offer, so the best thing you can practically do is pump as much money into the local economy as possible, either through donations or by avoiding western owned businesses as much as possible.
  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 74,454
    dbmnk wrote:

    Go work help develop schools in Africa, help orphan street-kids in South America, help on hospitals in Palestine, fight the ice melting in Greenland.

    .

    I can think of plenty of charaties and other institutions in the UK which are in need of volunteers.

    Going abroad to do that strikes me as a little indulgent. Seems a convenient way to cover up that it is, in fact, a holiday, since what you're doing abroad you could easily do on your doorstep, where you'd more likely feel the benefits of you work!

    If you're going abroad, and spending lots of money to do so, you might as well visit the places you want to see, rather than be straght-jacketted into whatever charity you've signed up for.

    Then again, you might have some genuine colonial desire, a 21st century "developed citizen's burden" idea, in which case, I take issue with you!
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    Join up, get some good mates and shite lobs, you will laugh about it for decades, not just mincing round hostels in flip flops trying to pull.yawn.
  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 74,454
    edited April 2010
    dmclite wrote:
    Join up, get some good mates and shite lobs, you will laugh about it for decades, not just mincing round hostels in flip flops trying to pull.yawn.

    I don't think you quite get the same experience of the world looking at it down the barrel of a gun...

    Anyway, I thought the point of a gap year was to immerse yourself in other cultures, which a little difficult to do in uniform?
  • guilliano
    guilliano Posts: 5,495
    Does "gap year" actually have a description other than "year off"?
  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 74,454
    guilliano wrote:
    Does "gap year" actually have a description other than "year off"?

    Implicitly it means you are spending a reasonably large proportion of that year abroad.

    But it also is refernece to a year off specifically between A levels and University, rather than just a random sabbatical, as I understand it.
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    dmclite wrote:
    Join up, get some good mates and shite lobs, you will laugh about it for decades, not just mincing round hostels in flip flops trying to pull.yawn.

    I don't think you quite get the same experience of the world looking at it down the barrel of a gun...

    Anyway, I thought the point of a gap year was to immerse yourself other cultures, which a little difficult to do in uniform?

    In Angola, we rebuilt a school, relaid fiilter beds for a water station and gave the local orphanage a new roof, made good lots of repairs and a bbq at the end of it. We stayed at each location, ate and cooked locally with the people. We had medics do sick parades for the kids. We also provided clean water for the Un force, but distributed it for the locals. No guns involved in that, only thing I looked down was at the deck as an 8 year old called Ben kept thrashing me at connect 4. It isn't all guns in the forces, just sometimes.
  • rick_chasey
    rick_chasey Posts: 74,454
    dmclite wrote:
    dmclite wrote:
    Join up, get some good mates and shite lobs, you will laugh about it for decades, not just mincing round hostels in flip flops trying to pull.yawn.

    I don't think you quite get the same experience of the world looking at it down the barrel of a gun...

    Anyway, I thought the point of a gap year was to immerse yourself other cultures, which a little difficult to do in uniform?

    In Angola, we rebuilt a school, relaid fiilter beds for a water station and gave the local orphanage a new roof, made good lots of repairs and a bbq at the end of it. We stayed at each location, ate and cooked locally with the people. We had medics do sick parades for the kids. We also provided clean water for the Un force, but distributed it for the locals. No guns involved in that, only thing I looked down was at the deck as an 8 year old called Ben kept thrashing me at connect 4. It isn't all guns in the forces, just sometimes.

    Fair enough. I wouldn't be comfortable with the 'sometimes' pointing guns at people, but nevermind.

    My second point still stands however. How do you immerse yourself in another culture whilst's walking around in British Army Uniform (or with a blue UN helmet), with all your mates, with lots of testosterone charged 'banter'?

    If people fancy that kind of work, which is fine, then they wouldn't look to a gap year to find that kind of experience, let's be honest.

    It's a fine experience, but not one that particuarly aligns with the experiences most people want on gap years, as I understand it at least.

    Also, there is also an added risk to your life joining the forces, particularly when they're stretched pretty thinly too.
  • Anonymous
    Anonymous Posts: 79,667
    dmclite wrote:
    dmclite wrote:
    Join up, get some good mates and shite lobs, you will laugh about it for decades, not just mincing round hostels in flip flops trying to pull.yawn.

    I don't think you quite get the same experience of the world looking at it down the barrel of a gun...

    Anyway, I thought the point of a gap year was to immerse yourself other cultures, which a little difficult to do in uniform?

    In Angola, we rebuilt a school, relaid fiilter beds for a water station and gave the local orphanage a new roof, made good lots of repairs and a bbq at the end of it. We stayed at each location, ate and cooked locally with the people. We had medics do sick parades for the kids. We also provided clean water for the Un force, but distributed it for the locals. No guns involved in that, only thing I looked down was at the deck as an 8 year old called Ben kept thrashing me at connect 4. It isn't all guns in the forces, just sometimes.

    Fair enough. I wouldn't be comfortable with the 'sometimes' pointing guns at people, but nevermind.

    My second point still stands however. How do you immerse yourself in another culture whilst's walking around in British Army Uniform (or with a blue UN helmet), with all your mates, with lots of testosterone charged 'banter'?

    If people fancy that kind of work, which is fine, then they wouldn't look to a gap year to find that kind of experience, let's be honest.

    It's a fine experience, but not one that particuarly aligns with the experiences most people want on gap years, as I understand it at least.

    Also, there is also an added risk to your life joining the forces, particularly when they're stretched pretty thinly too.

    Testosterone charged banter is a myth. Get a few soldiers dealing with kids and you are handing out boilies and having a kickaround or a game of softball etc. Most squaddies believe it or not are fairly conservative in their views, non reactionary and are not malicious. I saw lots of fights and scuffles in the 10 years I was in but never once saw any soldier stamp on anyones head, pull a knife of glass anyone.

    Fair do's if you want to travel and see/do something, just the saying "gap year" makes me think of stereotypical situations. I am corrected.
  • Cadence35
    Cadence35 Posts: 13
    dbmnk wrote:
    Dunno if you're off to college, uni, want a career, or something similarly stupid, but then you might consider working for some charity instead of just fooling around.
    That way you can see the world while doing something useful - help people in need, and put a nice show on your CV.

    Go work help develop schools in Africa, help orphan street-kids in South America, help on hospitals in Palestine, fight the ice melting in Greenland.

    Normally organizations doing that kind of work can provide you with shelter and food, but you don't get paid. Either way, it's better than spending all your money partying in Thailand.

    I want to help a charity for sure, but right now I really don't have the money to spare to be able to just help the whole time. I want to head back after a few years of making money so I can afford the time off for that. Or at least have the money to donate
    MatHammond wrote:
    I'm in two minds about the charity thing. If you have a particular skill e.g. medical, construction, engineering etc. then you may well be able to be of genuine assistance, but a lot of the charity programmes I came across they just wanted your money, and you could then pretend to be doing some good so you had something to put on your CV at the end of it. Stuff like building wells in Peru, honestly the one thing less developed countries aren't short of is manual labour! I'm guessing anybody coming out of school wouldn't have a whole lot to offer, so the best thing you can practically do is pump as much money into the local economy as possible, either through donations or by avoiding western owned businesses as much as possible.

    Yep I agree with this, definitely want to help at some point in my life but not right now. It will happen though!
    nolf wrote:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKFjWR7X5dU

    And then I just chundered everywhere!

    Yeah...BANTER!


    Seriously though. Ignore anyone who says you're being lazy. They're just very jealous. You only live once, and you can work for the rest of your life. One year won't make a difference.

    Also, given the chronic state of graduate employment at the moment, this year is probably one of the best times ever to take a gap year.

    But don't try and fool anyone; it's just a very big holiday, where you go where YOU want to, when you want to, which, post school, is a lovely feeling. Treat it as a holiday and enjoy it!

    Having said all this, I never went on one, because I'd been pretty spoilt as a child and teenager with regards to seeing the world. Didn't feel the need to see anything especially immediately.

    Cheers! Really got my heart set on NZ, ticks all the boxes for me and is still far enough removed from the UK.

    Does anybody know about working Visas and the like for NZ? Or does anybody have some cool pictures to share from over there? I've read all the replies here and there's definitely some interesting points but for now I just wanna cruise out of the UK for a bit and see what happens in NZ!