Featuring in If We Can Do It this week is Sam Starling from Totally Sam’s World, who is about to head off on her own grown up gap year. I love that Sam describes herself as a bit of a ‘material girl’ but she’s not afraid to rough it a bit on her trip.
Sam has had a passion for travel since a very early age and as soon as she left college she started working in the travel industry. She has since worked for two well-known travel companies and has also experienced a season abroad as an entertainer. In order to save up for her round the world adventure she has been working in the IT industry but has just handed in her notice and will set off on her trip next month.
1. Why did you decide to take your grown up gap year? Was it a difficult decision to make?
I have always wanted to take a year (or two) out to travel so it was not difficult for me at all. I had already moved to Spain on my own at the age of 19, so I guess it was always going to happen! The hard part was trying to talk my boyfriend into it. He wasn’t keen at first, but after a couple of holidays he soon came around! Luckily neither of us has any major commitments, so it is a little easier for us at the moment.
2. What were other people’s reactions when you told them your plans?
They were all really happy for us. Most of them laughed in my face when I announced we were going to go backpacking. I’m a bit of a ‘material girl’, my friends don’t think I can ‘rough’ it. But I totally can! I will miss everyone lots, but I know they are supportive of whatever I want to do.
3. How long will your trip be and where are you planning to go?
I’m not exactly sure to be honest. We have only booked a one way flight to Bangkok! We are planning on visiting South East Asia, travelling mainly overland, and then on to Australia and New Zealand. Our 12 month Aussie working visas were approved a couple of weeks ago, so that’s pretty exciting. I guess we shall see what happens. If we like somewhere, we can stay, if not, we can move on.
4. Will you be meeting any family/friends along the way?
Unfortunately I’ve failed to convince my mates to come with me, but I should be seeing some friends and family that I haven’t see for years in Australia. Hopefully we can meet up with some fellow travel bloggers during our travels too. It would be nice to meet people in person!
5. What is your travel style going to be? (Ie. Budget hostels/Mid-range hotels/Luxury travel – less is more, travelling slowly/pack in as much as possible)
As much as I wish it was luxury travel, it isn’t. We are travelling as budget as we can get without having cockroaches crawling over us while we are sleeping. I’d rather be able to afford to travel to more countries and be away for longer than just splash out on a couple of expensive hotels. Plus, we want to see the real world, so sometimes getting down and dirty is good! I have never stayed in a hostel in my life, so it will be an experience!
6. Do you plan to take any tours or do it alone?
When we booked our flight at STA they were trying to talk us in to going on tours. As great as they sounded, we decided to do everything alone and just see what happens. It will be nice to have the freedom of being able to change our plans whenever we want and to and be able to make our own travel path. I think that it will be much more rewarding, travelling on our own and knowing we made it happen.
7. What do you think will be the best thing about taking a grown up gap year?
apprecI think it will be learning new things. Some adults think they have learnt everything they need to know. People go to university and have great jobs, but they are totally oblivious to what is going on in the world around them. I am so eager to learn about new cultures and speak to the people in the destinations I visit. Then, once you come back home, you can put in to place some of the lessons learnt on your gap year, you will be able to appreciate what you have got and the opportunities you have in life.
8. And are you worried about any downsides?
I worry about everything, I need to chill out! I’m hoping this trip will make me relax and just go with the flow a little more! I am most worried about being poorly when I am away. I am a bit of a sickly child, so knowing my luck I will probably get dengue fever or something like that. But let’s hope not, hey?
9. What advice would you give to anyone thinking of setting off on their own grown up gap year?
I know it’s cliché, but just go. Don’t let anyone or anything hold you back. If you want to do it, just do it. If you don’t you will spend your whole life regretting it and wondering about what could have happened. Plus it opens your mind and sometimes it’s good to step outside of your comfort zone, sit back and see where life takes you.