Back when I was in high school, I never really knew why people wanted to go travelling before university. I never really knew anyone who went on a gap year either, so I suppose that is what made me not think about taking one – that and the fact that my teachers would talk about ucas and university non-stop so that’s why I decided to go straight to university to get a degree in journalism, quickly bypassing the thought of spending a year abroad.
But when I got to year 12 in 2008, the clogs in my head started to churn as there was an opportunity to spend a month in Kenya doing all sorts of activities with a charity called Adventure Alternative. Of course I jumped at the chance to be a part of this, I mean who wouldn’t want to travel to Kenya? All the beautiful scenery, travelling around the country, the safari’s and spotting the big five whilst indulging in their culture and living their way of life for a truly amazing 5 weeks seemed like the perfect summer before my final year at school.
The 5 weeks away from home really opened up my dreary eyes about what is actually outside of Wales (bar the odd week in Spain) and travelling to new place. I guess that is why over the past few years I have been itching to jetset around the world after my 3rd and final year (which is drawing closer every day)
I suppose that is why I have chosen the travel topic for most of my university work over the two years, and with no exceptions to this year as it is my topic for my dissertation – yes the dreaded “D” word.
Research into where I plan to visit has been ongoing for many years, weighing the pros and cons for each country I want to explore and thoroughly making sure where the best places to go are and where the places to avoid are – just so I don’t get into some sort of trouble as I will be travelling alone.
Yet while the thought of travelling is rather exciting and I’ll get the chance to explore everything I have always wanted to see, I really have no intention of returning back to rainy old Wales.
Whilst this may seem like a naïve state of mind, never wanting to return back to the place I grew up, there are some things that are too important to miss out on and that is what life is all about – making the most of what there is to see and creating adventures for myself and finding that one special place that can be called home.
I know what most of you will be thinking, where will I be getting the money from to just up and move away? But my theory is hard work never hurt anyone. I have many, many dreams that I plan to accomplish before setting off on my own – including working on a cruise ship where I can explore the places we dock at everyday and internships abroad where I can explore that country and write about it – thus trying to expand my interest in travel journalism and helping me update my professional website.
And never one to just leave it at that, after I graduate in summer 2012, I shall be applying to do a TEFL award – or as some people know it ‘Teaching English as a foreign language’. The award is popular with gap yearers, who find they can teach to fund their travels and build up their CV with their teaching experience. With this award in tow, I am aiming to head over to Asia to begin the first day of the rest of my life earning money that will help me fund myself along the way – hopefully for the long term.
While I do not plan to settle down in Asia, as the amount of research into jobs, flats and money situations has led to my heart belonging to Canada (and I haven’t even visited the country yet!) I feel as if Wales doesn’t have the same opportunities that I used to think it did and why bother coming back to my homeland when there is nothing for me here?
It is time for a new chapter in my life after university – Wales will always be here for me no matter what, as my parents will always be here, but let’s see what else will always be there for me, and branch out into the big, scary world. It’s time to begin adventures and become a true jetsetter.