If you’re here, you probably dream about quitting your job for a year to travel. [Don’t be shy, I had the same dream.]
But maybe you aren’t convinced this is actually possible for you. Or you think you can do it, but you don’t know where to start.
I’m here to walk you through the first 3 steps to planning your gap year.
I call the steps G.A.P., and I created a free downloadable worksheet so that you can follow along step by step, and finish with your rough plan on paper. (Or in the cloud, lol.)
Step 1. Goal
What you do during your career break, gap year or mini-retirement is totally your business. Every aspect of your life benefits from taking time to reflect and to renew your sense of purpose, so you don’t need to set tough goals for yourself.
But it is helpful come up with the theme of your time off. What will be your focus? Is this about travel for you, or volunteering, or learning a new language?
List out all of the possibilities, and don’t edit yourself. Let your ideas flow.
Then chose the goal or goals that speak to you the loudest. The dream that makes your heart beat faster.
Now you’ve got a theme for your gap year!
Ok, it’s research time.
This is the time to list all of the tools you need in your toolbox to make this gap year happen. You don’t have to know the specifics yet. Just give yourself a general idea what you’ll need.
For examples, taking a career break takes money. So cost will be one of the things you’ll research after you finish your worksheet.
If you’re taking a year to travel, you’ll also need to make sure you have a valid passport. And tourist visas for any country that requires them. Another thing to research.
Watch my Grown Up Gap Year A to Z series on YouTube for ways to make your gap year super affordable, like choosing budget destinations, house sitting and volunteering in exchange for free room and board.
Did you know I’m a full time house sitter? I recently stayed for 6 months in Mexico and only spent $3,000 TOTAL! So definitely check out the videos on Affordable Travel and How I Saved $14k.
3. Parallel Timing
I think this step is critical to keep you from getting stuck procrasti-planning. Procrasti-planning is when you perpetually plan and never do.
I’ve been guilty of this before.
To keep from falling into that maze, use parallel timing. Set a start date for your time off that coincides with an important event.
For example, maybe you want to spend your 40th birthday in Bali or watch the running of the bulls in Pamplona.
Once you give your gap year a start date, you’re much more likely to take the leap.
I wanted to be in Chiang Mai, Thailand for the Loy Krathong Lantern Festival which happens in October, so I had to start my gap year in September or I’d have missed it.
I made it to the festival, and it was one of the most memorable parts of my year.
So pick your go date, and get planning!