Sometimes it can feel like you took the wrong turn somewhere. Maybe you aren’t happy with the career path you have chosen, the degree that you studied, or you don’t like the place you are living in. A good way to assess your decisions and revamp your life is to take a gap year doing something out of the ordinary to help you set things back on track. Here are 5 life changing gap year ideas.
Trekking in Nepal
Nepal has 8 of the world’s 10 highest summits and it is a fantastic place to go trekking. You can plan your whole adventure before you get there or you can arrive with no plans and make it up as you go along. There are many different trails to try in Nepal that require different levels of fitness. Make sure that you are in really good shape before trying out any of the more challenging paths. Trekking in National Parks requires permits and there are many police check points along the path. Being caught without permits can be quite expensive so make sure you have all of the permits that you require.
Make a Difference
There are so many volunteer opportunities all over the world. If you are interested in animal conservation there are many great organizations that are doing great work. Working with bears in Romania, saving sea turtles in Costa Rica, and rainforest conservation in South America are just three of the many things that you can do. You can also help out in orphanages, help build infrastructure for poor villages, or provide medical skills if you are trained. There are so many options for volunteering and there are many great websites that will give you ideas.
Working in a different country is a great way to spend a gap year and being immersed in a new culture is a great way to learn more about yourself. There are great opportunities to teach English in Asia that will change your life. Japan requires a university degree but there are many countries that do not. Many schools will provide housing for teachers as part of the deal so you can easily arrive and begin work right away. Depending on where you are from, Canada offers some great work visas that allow you to visit this beautiful country, work and travel as you get paid.
Become a Gaucho
Argentina is a beautiful country and a great way to explore the country is to work as a gaucho on a ranch. Many of the ranches require a time commitment so make sure that you can commit for the time required. If you have riding experience you can help herd cattle but you can also do other work like gardening, kitchen work or helping out on guest ranches. It is difficult to find a job that will pay you but there are many ranches that will provide free food and accommodation.
Explore the World By Sea
Getting a job on a cruise ship is a wonderful way to explore the world. There are many different employment opportunities that require skilled or unskilled labour. There are also many different cruise lines throughout the world that explore different routes. Choose a boat with the destinations that fascinate you the most and you can explore the ports when the ship docks.
Walking is one of the best forms of exercise that there is and it is one of the best ways to reduce stress. Spending your holiday walking is a great way to get in shape and clear your head of the challenges of day to day life. It is also a great way to really pay attention to your surroundings and appreciate everything that is going on around you. Here are five beautiful destinations for a walking holiday.
Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina
Los Glaciares National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is home to more than three hundred glaciers. It is a great place for walking and you don’t need a guide. Make sure that you take the time to visit the famous Perito Moreno Glacier that is the only glacier in the world that still continues to grow. Make sure you take a break from walking long enough to take a boat cruise that will allow you to see the glaciers from the water.
Tibet is in the Himalayas and it is a great place for a walking holiday. There are several paths to walk along where you can see stunning sights like Buddhist Monasteries, rare flora and fauna, and stunning views of some of the tallest peaks in the world. Tibet is known for the friendliness of its people so it is a great place to make new friends.
Atlas Mountains, Morocco
The mountains of Morocco are a great place for a walking holiday. The Jebel Toubkal Ascent is the highest peak in Northern Africa. The climb is challenging but it can be managed if you are in good shape. The walk is filled with stunning landscape and the pat will take you past Berber Villages where the villagers’ lifestyles have changed very little during the last several centuries. The view at the top is a panoramic view of the surroundings that will leave you awestruck.
Crete is the largest island in Greece and there are several walks that you can go on. Walk the circular route that takes you around the village of Palea Roumata and is about 5km. The walk takes about 2 hours and criss-crosses several times through the stream bed that is usually dry enough to navigate without getting wet. The Samaria Gorge is a 16km hike that takes you through the gorge where you can see different birds of prey, and view the ruins of several tiny villages and Byzantine chapels.
Blossom Trail in the Cotswolds, England
The Cotswolds are only an hour from London but you will feel like you have entered a different universe. You can rent a holiday cottage in the countryside and use it as a base to explore the network of paths that run through the surrounding areas. The Blossom Trail is a great route to walk and this 80 km trail winds its way through charming villages and has a series of bridges that will take you over the Avon River. The trail is lined with cherry, pear, and apple, trees that have stunning pink and white blossoms.
The Central American country of Honduras has been slowly but steadily crawling out of its violent reputation and emerging as a paradise for travelers from all over the world. With its varied wildlife, abandoned Mayan ruins and beautiful national parks, Honduras is one of the best off the beaten path tourist destinations in Central America. The country is noticeably cheaper than the other destinations of Central America which makes it a great budget travel destination for backpackers. However, the low prices do not mean that Honduras has anything less for you in store. In fact, there are a lot of Honduras tourist attractions which should be counted as must visit attractions of Central America itself. To help you navigate through the lesser-known paths of Honduras, here are the top three things which you must try out when you travel to Honduras.
1. Explore the Copan Ruins
The ruins of this Mayan city is the most popular tourist attraction of Honduras. The Copan Ruins Archeological Site is, in fact, the most studies Mayan city in the whole world. Dating back nearly 2000 years, these ruins have been declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. There are a lot of things to see in this Honduras tourist attraction. Explore the stelae and altars which surround the huge plaza, stand in awe in front of the ball court, or see the longest Mayan text ever known at the Hieroglyphic Stairway. There are so much to see, that it is impossible to explore the ruins in a simple visit.
2. Visit Roatan
Roatan, the largest of the Bay Islands is also the most developed of the lot. This well-kept secret of Honduras has now become a really popular tourist spot due to its beautiful landscapes and diving opportunities. The beaches of this beautiful island especially make this destination one of the must visit Honduras tourist attractions. The West Bay Beach is particularly worth mentioning. Explore the mountainous interiors of the island, spend some relaxing days by the beach or dive into the colorful coral reefs – a trip to Roatan is must when you travel to Honduras.
3. Bird watch at Lago de Yojoa
It doesn’t matter if you are a birder or not. A trip to Lago de Yojoa should certainly be a must in your Honduras itinerary. Lago de Yojoa is the largest natural lake in Honduras, and it is just the perfect spot to watch some birds. More than 480 species of birds have been spotted in this huge lake. You can enjoy the beauty of the lake from the shore, or get into the water on a canoe. There are quite a number of hiking trails, waterfalls and even an underground cave system located in the nearby area, which you can explore. A lot of guided tours are also conducted to the nearby coffee plantations or the archeological sites. The lake also shares its borders with two national parks, namely Santa Barbara National Park and Cerro Azul Meambar National Park.
Located in Central America, Nicaragua used to be a secret destination which was famous among backpackers and intrepid travelers. Tourists used to crowd at other locations like Costa Rica or Panama, whereas the true adventure seekers used to enjoy the unspoilt beauty that Nicaragua had in store for them. However over the past years, the word got around, and Nicaragua has become one of the hottest tourist destinations in Central America as more and more people started falling in love with the country’s unspoilt beauty. With its colorful cities, relaxing beaches, beautiful hiking trails, magnificent volcanos, dense jungle, beautiful islands and extremely warm locals, there are a ton of reasons why you should pack up your bags and travel to Nicaragua. And when you do, here are the top four things which you must try out while you are there.
1. Try volcano boarding
This is one of the most unique things that you must try out when you travel to Nicaragua. Visit Cerro Negro, an active volcano in Nicaragua, hike to the top and board down the slope of the mountain. You can easily enjoy this activity by booking a trip from Leon. It is one of the main reasons why people travel to Leon, and you cannot miss the chance of enjoying this one of a kind activity when you travel to Nicaragua.
2. Swim in the Somoto Canyon
Nicaragua is a paradise for adventure lovers, and if your choices are so inclined, then visiting the Somoto Canyon is another must do activity during your Nicaragua trip. The Nicaraguan version of the Grand Canyon was only discovered in 2004. The canyon boasts of picturesque locations with turquoise waters surrounded by huge milestone cliffs. Jump into the clear blue waters from one of the shorter cliffs and take a peaceful swim through the water.
3. Enjoy surfing
Like many other Central American countries, Nicaragua also boasts some of the most amazing surfing waves. With the slow breaking waves, the Nicaraguan surfing conditions are perfect for beginners and expert surfers alike. Hitting the waves on your surfboard is a must when you travel to Nicaragua. But if you don’t know anything about surfing, don’t worry. You can easily get a surf lesson at the San Juan del Sur beach or the Las Penitas beach. The lessons are really cheap, and it’s a great way to enjoy your time on the beaches of Nicaragua.
4. Hiking trip at the Miraflor National Park
Going on a hiking trip at the Miraflor National Park will surely be one of the highlights of your Nicaraguan adventure. This beautiful park is situated in Esteli in northern Nicaragua. There are a lot of treks conducted through the park, starting from one day to multi-day trips. You will get to hike through a pristine cloud forest, visiting small local farms and exploring hidden waterfalls and rivers. Chances of encountering other tourists are extremely less, and it is truly the perfect way to get away from the city-life, immerse yourself in pure nature and give up everything else. It is one of the most beautiful experiences you will have when you travel to Nicaragua.
Panama has been serving as the heart of international shipping since the opening of the world famous Panama Canal in 1914. The ever busy connection point between the Pacific and the Caribbean also happens to be a major center for international banking. However businesses aside, Panama has also become a major tourist destination as Central America became more and more popular among travelers. Many of the tourists travel to Panama as the starting point of their Central American adventure. And the decision is also well-reasoned, as Panama holds a lot of breathtaking vistas and exciting activities in store to offer to its guests. From backpackers to family travelers, this beautiful country has something for everybody. Here are the top four things which you must try out when you travel to Panama.
1. Visit the Panama Canal
Well, it is the most obvious thing to do when you travel to Panama. Built in 1914, this 50 miles long canal acts as the passageway for ships traveling between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. There are three sets of locks used in the canal, Miraflores and Pedro Miguel Locks on the Pacific side and Gatun Locks on the Caribbean side. The Miraflores Locks are the most popular due to its close proximity to the capital Panama City. You can also take a boat ride through the waters of this magnificent canal or take a three-hour long train ride with the Panama Canal Railway to see some beautiful views of both the oceans in a single ride.
2. Explore Casco Viejo
Located just outside Panama City, Casco Viejo is the oldest city in the Americas. Walk through the red bricked streets, spend some time at the street side bars and restaurants and enjoy the beautiful Spanish styled architecture. Declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1998, the cultural and historical significance of this city makes a visit to Casco Viejo a must to activity when you travel to Panama.
3. Relax at Bocas del Toro
The province of Bocas del Toro is extremely popular among the backpackers and tourists. Especially Bocas Town, the capital of the province located off the Caribbean coast is beautiful with its crystal clear waters and beautiful beaches. Indulge in the laid-back Caribbean attitude and spend some relaxing time in the pristine natural setting. Here you will also find some of best surfing and snorkeling spots in Panama. The island’s shoreline is full with luxury shorefront or on-water accommodations, which makes it a perfect getaway destination to enjoy the beauty of the Caribbean Sea from the comfort of your own bed.
4. Take a trip to one of the rainforest parks
Panama has some of the most amazing rainforest parks for you to explore. Three of them, namely Parque Soberania, Parque Metropolitano, and Parque Chagres, are located just outside the capital, Panama City. If you want to take a break from the city-life and leave everything behind when you travel to Panama, then hike through any of these rainforest parks. You will get to spot a variety of birds and wildlife during your hike too.