“A ship in the harbour is safe – but that is not what ships are built for.”

John A. Shedd.


What is a gap year?

broken compass gap year backpackers

In some countries, gap years are almost considered a rite of passage. Typically, they are known to be that year between graduating high school and heading off to college, university or the workforce.

Gap years are a time of self-discovery. The figuring out of who the heck you are outside of those four walls of the education system. But gap years aren’t just for the recently graduated anymore, they can come at any point in your life. A year off is a great way to re-centre, and to dedicate some time to yourself.

A gap year allows you to embrace the life you are living and to figure out where you want to go from here. Because sometimes ‘here’ sucks. “Here” could be in an office where your boss doesn’t appreciate you. Or at home where you’re trying to decide on two degrees that you don’t want to do but hey – everyone else is going to university so you should too.

Or maybe you just feel like something is missing. Like there’s more of the world to see, more people to meet, or more to experience than what you’re doing right now. Because a ship in the harbour is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.

If you’re looking for that one last nudge to make you book those flights here it is! For everyone else keep on reading. Here are five reasons why taking a gap year is a good idea.

Gap years allow you to treat yourself

Sometimes you gotta treat yo’ self. Maybe you’ve achieved something (like finishing 13 years of school or graduating university!?) or maybe you’ve been working so hard but you’ve forgotten the reason why. You don’t need to be celebrating a reason, but it sure can help you get your butt in a plane seat.

Gap years give you time baby, time

joss shots in broken compass pool

Your 20s and early 30s are literally the prime years of your life. You likely have less commitments. Not ready for that mortgage yet, thanks. And you’re definitely looking the best you ever will (hey hey, hot stuff). Not only that but you’ve still got energy to MOVE and your body can still bounce back after you fall off a scooter. Or have one too many shots on a night out.

A gap year can give you a sense of direction

Travel, especially solo travel, gives you time to think! Time to think about what YOU want. This is one of the best reasons to take a gap year. You have 365 days to find out what you really love. The hard part is then figuring out how the heck you can go on doing what you love for the rest of your life. Hey, we know that’s a little cheesy, but it’s damn true.

Gap years allow you to learn something new

compass divers scuba diving gap year skill

Travel opens the door to learning so many new skills! Embrace a new culture by taking a cooking class, learn to scuba dive (we can help with that), or speak to new people every day. Have you ever thought how cool it would be to know more than your own language? Spend enough time in a place and put in a little effort, and it’s possible to come out of your gap year with more skills than you had going in.

And finally, gap years give you friends

Friends! Friends everywhere. Meet people from around the world so the next time you decide to go off on an adventure you can stay for free. No, but really, you can never have too many friends!

But won’t a gap year ruin my hireability?

hireability after gap yearThe short answer is no, no it won’t. There’s been research by multiple independent bodies which support gap years. Even Malia Obama took a gap year before heading off to college. It’s all about how you frame it!

Travel teaches us many things. It teaches us how to adapt to change. It builds resilience, improves communication, and makes you better at relationships! Because you’re always meeting new people.

Taking a year off study is not something to hide on your LinkedIn profile, it’s something to include! It’s ok to talk about! Go into detail about where you went and the skills that you had to utilise to get you there. You can even network for employability while you travel. You never know who you will meet while you’re out there in the world. Only this – that it’s going to be so many more than you would have met back home.

Where should I go for my gap year?

Ok ok ok. So we might be a little biased but we have reasons to support why South East Asia is the place to be. In short, the people are friendly, travel is cheap, the food is incredible (so incredible we even wrote a blog about it) and culture is diverse. So get on it, follow that banana pancake trail.

Banana pancake what?

Rewind! The banana pancake trail refers to popular routes tourists take throughout South East Asia. There isn’t one clear route travellers take. It’s just a cute name for the many popular cities in Vietnam, Cambodia, Nepal, India, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Philippines and Indonesia.

And finally

Money comes back, time doesn’t. You have your whole life ahead of you to work your way up that corporate ladder –  or maybe you’re already halfway up and the view just isn’t quite what you thought it’d be. If there is doubt, if there is yearning for adventure, go.

Take that gap year. You won’t regret it. And if you ever find yourself in Indonesia, catch a boat over to the little island paradise that is Gili Trawangan. Broken Compass’ doors are open and ready to embrace you! Check our our dorms or private rooms and get in touch with us today to plan your first stop on your gap year.