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21 Luty 2018



By Katarzyna Majchrowicz-Dolińska

So, you did it! Congratulations! You have long dreamed of this moment, and perhaps sometimes felt like the time would never come, but finally: you graduated. You have your degree and diploma. You are also richer with knowledge, friends, and quite possibly your first serious relationships. You have grown and matured as a person.


But do you feel you have enough experience?

As people, we are formed and change due to various experience, both the good, the bad, and the ugly, too ;) I have a deep belief that all things in our lives happen for a reason, and sometimes when we see things from a perspective, after some time has passed, we understand them better, and they help us grow as people.

And while we are talking about growing…. Have you ever considered taking a gap year after school? Spending a year travelling, learning about other cultures, people, listening to their stories and trying to walk in their shoes. There is a wonderful book from Elisabeth Gilbert, an American journalist who at some point in her life decided to change everything and travel to rediscover herself – the title is “Eat. Pray. Love.” In a very open manner she shares her thoughts and experience on what she has learned about the world around her, but first and foremost – about herself.

If you have just graduated or soon will – this is a very important point in your life. You can decide to start your career, if you feel ready. But there may also be those among you who feel they still need to do something important before they can settle down and make decisions regarding their future. Today I would like to share with you some thoughts on why travelling after you graduate may be the best thing you can do for yourself in terms of self-development, and that’s why I prepared this list of 5 reasons why you should consider a gap year:

live in a bubble; see; experience; learn; volunteer in Peru; Andahyuaylas; school in Peru

Peruvian mums during a meeting with Polish volunteers in Anndahyuaylas, Peru

1. If you feel that you are just scratching life at its surface

Do you sometimes feel, that we live in a bubble? Hollywood movies & TV series, shopping malls, branded clothes, gadgets – you name, you can have it. All great entertainment, but there is more to life than this. Living in western culture we have limited possibilities of experiencing what life may be for other people in other parts of the world, and living it is something different than reading a book or watching the movie. If you really want food for thought and spirit – go somewhere to help, see, feel, experience… live.


2. You are not sure who you are

Sometimes we get confused. Some years ago I heard someone say that the only time you can be sure what you would do in a difficult situation is when you really are confronted with it. And I personally agree. Travelling to far away destinations and signing up for programs like helping disadvantaged children in Peru and Nepal will most likely put you in positions when you will have to deal with issues that you never had to think about before. This will surely help you broaden your experience and find out new things about yourself. A true adventure and journey, indeed. 

help; patience; volunteering abroad; simple gestures; meaningful life;

3. You don’t know what you want

This also happens. You graduated, but you are still not sure what to do with your life, which path to choose, what profession to pursue. That’s ok. Sometimes it’s best not to rush and force things, but to allow them to incubate for a while. Besides, when we look at things from a distance – we see them differently, and maybe you will find answers to your questions you didn’t hear while being immersed in the life you led so far. So go, make a change, and see where it will take you to.


4. You want to make a difference

The world is truly a wonderful place. But not all people are as fortunate as we are. Sometimes the most important decision of the day we make is “will you take mayonnaise or ketchup on the side?”. And that’s not the impact on life we are looking for. Sometimes in this plastic-fantastic world all the days seem alike and we lose a sense of purpose. On other days we ask ourselves questions about what we do: but why is this important? Does it really matter? But it’s really simple. If you teach a child English, or help build a school, your work will influence others people’s lives in a really meaningful way. Maybe that’s just what you need to feel fulfilled? 

senses; discover; inspiration; dreams; living among other cultures

Photo: Unsplash

5. You want to learn about the world first hand

Because as people, learning and experience is the fuel that makes us discover new territories – both within us and in the world around us. Touching, tasting, feeling, listening – all these are triggers that may lead to some important changes in our perception of the world. A 2h movie – will always be just a movie. It might inspire, but to experience certain insights, we have to dig deeper. And living among other cultures and experiencing their problems on our own skin is 100 times more powerful than sitting on our coach, wrapped up in a blanket, safely divided from the world outside be our laptop screen. But the real world is out there, just waiting for you to jump in. The question is – are you ready..?


Travelling after you graduate bring you great possibilities to redefine, look at things from another perspective, discover what is important for you in life, who you are… and go ahead to pursue your dreams. Now, you are ready to conquer the world.

But perhaps you are reading this and have already gone through this experience..? If so, please share with our readers in the comments below your thoughts and feelings on this subject, we are sure these insights will be very valuable for them.

Thank you for reading, sharing and commenting! 

You might also be interested in reading other articles, for example:

  • how to start travel writing? https://www.travelwithmission.com/blog/how-to-start-travel-writing-9-ways-that-will-help-you-start/
  • the first-hand accounts about Nepalese cuisine, the volunteering experience and adventures from the jungle: https://www.travelwithmission.com/blog/travel-with-mission-takes-volunteers-to-nepal/ and https://www.travelwithmission.com/blog/travel-with-mission-takes-volunteers-to-nepal-part-2/
  • the details of our trip to PERU, the volunteering experience and adventures from our trip, cultural curiosities: https://www.travelwithmission.com/blog/our-great-adventure-with-group-volunteering-peru-2017/