This week’s If We Can Do It is with Katherine Reynolds from Kat the Wanderer. In 2012 she booked a one-way ticket from Australia to London and is now living in the English countryside.
1. Why did you decide to take your grown up gap year? Was it a difficult decision to make?
I decided to take my grown up gap year because I really wanted something different in my life. I had a real sense of urgency to make a huge change. It was one of those things where I wasn’t feeling as if I was achieving as much as I would want to at my age and wanted to push myself to do something out of my comfort zone! It was a difficult decision to make, but because I made it so fast there wasn’t much time for me to mull it over and question it, which I’m glad about.
2. What were other people’s reactions when you told them your plans?
There were a lot of interesting, mixed reactions going on. So many people were happy for me, and my family were incredibly supportive. However many people thought I would only last a couple of months and literally had bets on me coming back for Christmas with my tail in between my legs! How wrong they were.
3. How long did your trip take and where did you go?
I guess you could technically say my trip is still going. So that would be almost two years! My first trip was around Western Europe when I first arrived and I’ve popped over to various parts of Europe a few times since then as well. I’m not continuously travelling, no matter how much I would love to, as my money has to come from somewhere! So I try and make the most of living in the UK and am doing more trips around here at the moment.
4. How did you finance your grown up gap year?
I initially financed my gap year from the money I saved up from working before I left. And now I’m working in the UK to fund more of my smaller trips.
5. Did you go alone or with family/friends?
I went alone!
6. What is your travel style? (Ie. Budget hostels/Mid-range hotels/Luxury travel – less is more, travelling slowly/pack in as much as possible)
My travel style was budget and hostels when I first started my travels. Now that I’ve had my fair share of hostels I am more of a mixture of hostels and mid-range now. Treat myself!
7. Do you go for tours or do it alone?
My first trip around Europe was with a tour and I’ve done a few other trips with tours as well. However now I tend to go it alone, as I’ve gained a lot more confidence and enjoy planning my own itineraries. I would recommend maybe doing one or two tours if you’re young, get to know how it all works and then from there you’ll have you own freedom and decide what you want to do, when you want to.
8. What is the best thing about taking a grown up gap year?
Definitely the personal growth. It’s amazing how much you can grow and change when you throw yourself in the deep end and experience something out of the ordinary. It’s truly exhilarating and makes you very proud of yourself.
9. And were there any downsides?
Of course there were downsides – there still are! Being away, I’ve missed things like weddings and babies being born, but sadly that’s the sacrifice you have to make to experience these things. Having technology so readily accessible makes it so much easier though!
10. What advice would you give to anyone thinking of setting off on their own grown up gap year?
Go. For. It. If you have the opportunity to take a gap year, I couldn’t recommend it more. I’d suggest making an initial plan, maybe for a month or two, that is still quite flexible, and then from there make your plans as you go. It will allow you more freedom and give you more time in the places you fall in love with.