That is the question..
Birth. School. School. College. University. Job. Marriage. Children. Retire. Die
Where in that list do you get time to travel? Do you skip University, not get a job, don’t have children? Or can you still do all of those and travel?
So far I have done birth, school, school, college, job, travel.. and now planning more travelling, having deferred university twice. This probably isn’t the most standard route, but it seems to be a lot more common nowadays. Young adults, in their late teens early 20s are going on the ‘gap yah’ before University. A lot of people say this is the only time you get to travel before you settle down with your life and get tied into too many commitments to actually ‘live’.
I remember being at sixth form and turning up to one of those sessions where lecturers come in from Universities and try and sell it to you. I remember walking out of the hall after, turning to my Head of Sixth Form and telling him that I won’t be applying to Uni.I remember he made me write a personal statement, a personal statement that had no life or drive in because frankly I had no passion for Uni. I remember after results I panicked that I would have no career, so I applied through clearing and go accepted onto a Criminology and Psychology course (even though I knew I didn’t want to do that as a career). And finally, I remember deferring that place two days later, and the year after, because I realised that Uni is for everyone, but the world is.
So now I’m sat in my living room, having worked in insurance for a year and a half, quitting that job to volunteer in India for 3 months, and now I’m thinking what to do next. After getting back from India I had numerous people asking me, ‘so which Uni are you going to in September?’. They were shocked and very often confused when I replied, ‘no I’m not going to Uni.’ A lightbulb would soon click and they would then proclaim, ‘oh, so you have a good job lined up?’. Again, ‘no, no job lined up.’ You would then see their face register that I was going to be a bum, on the dole, lay about or simply a dosser.
Finally I would tell them about my plans to travel the world, to which they would scoff and joke about me going on a ‘gap yah’.
‘So what are your plans when you return?’
‘I don’t know..’
‘What career are you going to do?
‘I don’t know..’
‘Are you going to go to Uni after?’
‘I don’t know..’
‘What do you mean you don’t know?’
‘I just don’t know..’
But I think that is the beauty of it, I DON’T KNOW. I’m 21 years old, am I really meant to know what I want to do with my life? I’ve heard numerous stories of people who do years at University to be a doctor, they complete all the relevant exams, do all the relevant training, have a year in the profession, and then they realise they actually want to be a stand up comedian and they rushed into what they thought was the right thing to do.
I’m 21 for goodness sake. I want to see the world, experience new things, live a life of adventure and wonder. Yes, that might not be the ideal life for everyone. I understand a lot of people go to University straight after school, get their degree, go into their desired profession, and stay there until they retire, absolutely loving it. Kudos to them. But that’s not me, and as far into the future as I can see, that won’t ever be me.
So yes, to everyone who is asking, I am off on my gap yah to galavant around the world, with no true goal in sight. I want to see the Taj Mahal, the Great Barrier Reef and Machu Picchu. I want to reach base camp of Everest and walk The Great Wall of China. I want to lie beneath the stars of the Australian outback and the Aurora Borealis of Iceland, with no real aim and journey planned.
To me, that is my life. One day I will settle, or return to where I am now. Hell I may be back in two months, but maybe, just maybe, I will never come back. I may go to Jordan or Japan and realise this is where I should be my whole life.
But until then, I will step on that plane next month, and say goodbye to Cheltenham and hello to Melbourne. The rest of my life starts then, and I cannot bloody wait.
Until next time,