Since I was 7 yo I wanted to travel the world and when I was 14 yo I started saving. I saved for a trip I felt I was destined to have but little did I realise I would start something that would change my life.
It is a misconception that Gap Years are about finding your true self, I call it a misconception because it isn’t about changing who you are but growing into yourself.
In my life time I have had two Gap Years and to some that seems selfish but it is a choice I will never regret.
When I was 18 yo I finished my Higher School Certificate (HSC) and in the January following I was on a plane by myself for the first time.
My 2010 Gap Year was a shock to the system as it would be for any 18 yo traveling alone but it was nothing less than accelerating.
I landed in Heathrow with a number of other Gap Year students all waiting to begin their volunteer work. I still remember that first hit of cold weather when I existed the airport it was breathtaking and turned my lips purple.
We were assigned our schools and mine was like Hogwarts. It was surrounded by woods and was made out of random passageways.
First duty was shoveling snow. I has never seen snow so this was a first and needless to say not my only first for the year ahead.
I became a mother, a big sister and a friend to the children I met throughout the year. I often had to stop myself from sounding like my mother when asserting authority.
In my time off from the children I backpacked through Europe. I grew up watching ‘Getaway’ and those Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen movies so I had a list.
I tackled my list easier but found along the way I added to it and then tackled that list and before I knew it I had created a million more lists of place I wanted to experience.
I ate fresh baguettes in Paris. I threw tomatoes in Spain. I skinny dipped in Greece. I got lost in Venice. Ultimately, I fell in love with every street I walked down, every corner I turned, every door I went through and every sight I saw.
The beauty of Europe is that despite how old she looks she is forever youthful at heart.
From every adventure I had I grew a little wiser.