Taking a gap year between school and uni or during a midlife period when you’re reassessing your options can be cathartic.
But when you’re on your travels for an extended period, you might not want to switch off completely while enjoying new cultures, spectacular sights and interesting people.
So it’s possible to engage in enjoyable sideline activities which might help steer you in a different direction when you return home or simply nourish your soul and ensure you remain grounded.
With that in mind, here are five gap year personal projects.
In regular workaday life, many keen writers find it tricky to secure enough distraction-free time to complete an extended project like a novel or collection of short stories or poems.
But downtime while travelling presents an ideal opportunity to get your creative juices flowing again — and the change of scenery provides new input that will get your little grey cells working in completely new ways.
Reading this advice on writing while travelling from Literary Hub will stand you in good stead.
Meditation is an excellent way to control stress and boost mental and physical wellbeing.
If you already incorporate it in your wellbeing regime, it’s possible to keep up your practice by completing walking meditations and downloading a mindfulness app like Calm which you can listen to on your phone on the move. And if you don’t meditate yet, committing to it while you travel might mean you’re less anxious and more in control when you return.
3. Go vegan
It’s easier to be vegan or vegetarian in some destinations than others — for instance, countries like the Czech Republic which have meat-based cuisine might not have as many options as India or even Jamaica, where the Rastafarian diet is mainly plant-based.
Checking this advice from The Vegan Society will provide peace of mind — one of their tips is investing in a ‘vegan passport’ which translates vegan dietary requirements into most global languages.
Unless your sabbatical is exclusively city-based and you’re willing to splash out on guest gym membership, the chances are that you won’t be able to rely on your regular exercise routine to keep fit and active.
But workouts with planks, burpees, push-ups and star jumps can be completed without equipment in any space large enough for you to lie flat or reach up into the air — so there’s no excuse not to stay trim. Search online for bodyweight exercises and practice prior to departure.
If being fed up with a long-term career is part of what propelled you to take a gap year, boosting your CV with an online degree is a great way to return home to an entirely new sector or increase your chances of promotion.
Studying with a provider like Anglia Ruskin Distance Learning means you can fit academic work around your travel plans and submit assignments or communicate with classmates and tutors from any location with reliable internet connection.
That’s our list! Add your own gap year sideline tips in the comments section.