Mind the Gap

Welcome to my gap year blog. This virtual diary will follow me on my travels as I take a year off before college to explore the world. It started out ordinarily: visiting colleges covered in autumn colors, filling out extensive applications, trying to survive my senior year of high school. But then I decided that I had an opportunity that was about to go to waste. I had the time and freedom to take a gap year.

Here in America when I say I'm taking a gap year, I get puzzled and sometimes disapproving looks and comments about how most people who take a year off don't ever go to college. However, I will be doing my gap year in a different fashion. It is not uncommon for European kids to travel before attending a university, often backpacking or volunteering; I will be following this precedent rather than sitting at home watching Law & Order reruns. I am going to travel for at least five months out of the next year, experiencing local cultures across Europe and Asia.

You might wonder what made me decide to throw away my plans for entering college and embark on my own. Well I was writing my novel when...yep, I decided to write a novel to fulfill the senior project (a.k.a. capstone) requirement at my school. My fictional novel is about a girl who runs away from home to travel. But she doesn't have much in the way of funds or a college degree. So I began researching how she could plausibly travel the world. I spent hours looking on blogs and travel guides. I realized that travel is available to everyone. I had dreamed of traveling to every continent, yet I saw this as more of a far-off goal, something that wouldn't happen for at least another ten years.

So come late August, I will be catching a plane to England and starting my year abroad. I will be traveling alone, counting my pennies as I go. I will use this blog as an outlet for my plans, tips, experiences, and pictures. In the next couple of weeks you will read about how I am traveling affordably, what I will pack, where I will go, and how absolutely, out-of-my-mind excited I am to be living my dream.

Yours truly,

Madison