Whether your motivations to travel are stress at work, completing 5+ years of university, the urge to explore the world straight out of school, or a complex break up you’re desperate to escape – we’ve all been there.
Here are some of our nomads stories to hopefully inspire you to take that leap of faith.
“I decided to take a gap year after 3 years in the LA workforce weren't doing it for me. I wanted to see the world from a different perspective. Having always wanted to go to Australia, it was lucky for me that two things made the decision even easier. One: Australia's work/holiday visa allows twenty-somethings to live and work in Australia for a year. Second: probably the most important factor, was having a college friend there to help the transition!” – Kevin Ellis, Lazy Rhino
“I took a “get out of the rat race” gap year. As a final-year medical resident, I got to a point where I’d spend more time daydreaming about traveling than focusing on the lab results. It became worrisome. I then had a patient who was supposed to go on a world tour and came to the hospital for some pre-trip check-up. He died that day. That was it for me.
I took 7 months off, began in India, did all of Southeast Asia, stayed the year in Australia, flew to South Africa, then to Argentina, Brazil, moved over to Colombia, Mexico, and then USA, ending the trip in Portugal surrounded by friends.
My gap year was motivated by learning experiences. I wanted to learn as much as possible in each country. I ended up becoming a copywriter, a barista, and a ceramist – all while traveling.
Remorse is a pain in the ass. Having a general goal in mind will help you stick to the plan in times of indecision. Once you know what you want out of your gap year, you won’t feel guilty to skip the Kilimanjaro and stay behind taking pictures of a tribe instead.” – Raquel Correia, via Facebook
“I didn’t do my big trip until I was 31, but I'd done a little bit of travelling prior to that, so I knew I was comfortable going solo. The only motivation you need to take a big trip is itchy feet. Everything else is just saving, saving, saving!" – Mark Seldon
"I was quite late in the game, taking a gap year at 25. The motivation was that I looked at a friend’s pictures of her travels, and it looked incredible. At the time I was at work doing general admin when I came across her pictures, and I suddenly realised that it’s what I wanted. So, I took a four-month career break/gap year.” – Jess Grey, World Nomads
"I took a year off after I finished art school to travel and work in London (doesn’t every Australian?!). I was motivated by a mad passion to explore the world, create photographic artwork, get work experience, and meet new people.
I wanted to go to Europe first, so I did a guided tour with a girlfriend to help find our feet. But before that, we stayed with my friend’s family friend – the couple we stayed with just outside of London were amazing, and became our European base camp for the entire year.
They were epic global travellers themselves, so they had loads of tips and tricks for us, and we could leave our luggage with them (we took way too much and packed all the wrong things)." – Emily Willis, World Nomads
“I chose to visit an English-speaking country for my gap year. I would have loved to have gone somewhere exotic, but the practicalities of funding my year abroad got the better of me. Going to an English-speaking country meant I could get a proper job, and keep myself afloat.” – Claire Taylor, World Nomads
"I took nine months off after I finished university because I really had no idea what I wanted to do, and was not thrilled with the jobs that my fellow business school mates were getting at the time.
In fact, the prospects terrified me. I needed a bit of time and space away from school to experience more of the world, and work out what I was really passionate about.
I knew that I needed a bit of structure and meaning to my trip, so I planned my time around a stint teaching English in Thailand, and doing some volunteer work in Cambodia. I traveled around Southeast Asia during my breaks." – Alicia Crosariol, World Nomads
"I took a gap year as part of my uni degree. My course required seniors to do a two-week, unpaid internship somewhere, and because I worried that it was going to be the last chance for me to have a big adventure, I asked the faculty if I could do it overseas. I found a position in London and ended up staying for two years while finishing my degree. Two birds, one stone. Thankfully, that wasn’t my last adventure!” – Martin Hong, World Nomads
"Right after graduating from Leeds Uni, I strapped on my backpack, stuffed my wallet with a few hundred dollars, and took a one-way flight to South Korea. There, I took on some freelancing photography and reporting on the Olympics, partnering with a fellow Chinese Studies journo mate of mine.
There were also many English editing and teaching jobs through the English language newspaper, the Korea Herald, so I figured I’d land something somewhere.
Why did I choose South Korea? I studied Chinese and Japanese, but wanted a new experience in the region – I couldn’t speak a word of Korean!
An exciting major world event that spanned across many weeks, and even months if you included all the organizational lead up to it, meant that there would be many European/US businesses setting up their operations from broadcasters, papers, other media outlets, and sponsors.
I knew with all those English speaking staff teams, I could hustle up a job as a runner or assistant with one of them." – Christina Tunnah, World Nomads
"My childhood goal was to get to know my own backyard before I travel the world. Plus, it’s cheaper!
So, after six long years working at a company in Sydney, I went back home to Thailand for a year and a half, road-tripping and freelancing my way around in my Mitsubishi Mirage. On the road-trip, I was working online and freelancing, which meant I got the best of both worlds." – Veronica Mercado, World Nomads
So you’ve decided now’s the right time for you to escape, but where do you start?
"Plan loosely, but have some anchor points to give your itinerary some shape. We booked some stays ahead of time in popular places (like Yellowstone National Park, and Munich for Oktoberfest), but allowed ourselves some spontaneity on the journeys in between.
We also booked a 10-day stint at a vulture rescue center in Cres, Croatia, which gave us a starting point for our Europe trip.
Feeding vultures isn’t for everyone, but the volunteer experience was a great way to get to know the area, and we made some lovely friends." – Ellen Hall, World Nomads
We all get a little nervous before traveling. Here’s how to overcome those pre-travel regrets, fears, and anxieties.
What’s the secret to saving up for a gap year? These nomads reveal their top tips.