By: Mike Argyle
Sometimes you just need to get away. There are a million reasons to travel but chief among them is about escaping the monotony of everyday life. Sure, the traveling can turn into aimless wandering with no real destination in mind – a feeling that as long as you keep moving you’ll be happy – and this in itself can be just what you need to break out of whatever funk you find yourself in.
Get away and do something crazy.
In the final year of my undergrad degree I realized something: I needed a change of pace. Growing up in small town Canada afforded me few chances to truly see the world outside of what literature and the media had shown me and I felt the time to light out had arrived. Why did I choose now to go on this adventure and not sooner? Honestly, it was because I felt going to university directly after high school was the thing you were supposed to do and hadn’t thought of any other options, despite having friends who took that route. Looking back on it, I made the right choice for myself. That’s not to say others wouldn’t be better suited to get out and see the world before commencing their post-secondary education, but it wasn’t for me.
When you make a decision that is so drastically different from what everyone else is doing it’s inevitable you will face criticism, judgment and even support. The first two are expected because it’s so clichéd it’s a foregone conclusion – but that doesn’t mean it’s not hard or discouraging when friends and family look at you like you’re going off to Mercury (because after all, nobody ever thinks of going to Mercury). The support is unexpected because amidst all the negativity and “Oh…” reactions, you start to think you’re doing something childishly rebellious, so when you finally hear something genuinely supportive it shocks you into remembering why you decided this in the first place.
I chose to take a working vacation ahead of a studying one or one purely for pleasure. This way, I rationalized, I could be making money and traveling. Perfect, right? Aside from basically everything going wrong that could go wrong, it was one of the best things I have ever done.
So when is the best time to take a year off? It’s really up to you, but don’t choose do it so early that you remember little of it or so late that you might not do it at all. Remember, life may seem like a race from point A to point B, but taking a detour every now and then may make the trip all the more enjoyable, no matter which point you’re heading towards.