Why I chose this gap year

Good morning World,

I’m not really sure how to start this whole blog thing so I’ll guess I might as well just start with me. My name is Joanna and I’m a mathematician with a love for history, interest in psychology and a passion for music. Or at least, that’s what I’ve learnt so far. I am currently on a year of self-discovery, experiencing the world of Baristas, dying my hair purple, and (soon) finding myself in the rain forests of Borneo. Let’s just say, I’m trying very hard to be a successful adult.

Let me tell you a little story about how jet lag can change your life, or at least how it is changing my life. At 3 o’clock early one morning in summer 2015, while struggling to sleep after a long haul flight from Peru, I got thinking about what I truly wanted to do with my life. I knew that I always wanted to travel but it was on this morning that I decided that I wanted to travel as soon as possible and, for some reason, realised that I had a desperate desire to go to Borneo. Within the next few days, university plans were postponed, friends and family were convinced, and an amazing three month adventure to Borneo and Cambodia was booked. So here I am. Tomorrow I will be flying to the other side of the world all by myself to spend twelve weeks with total strangers. Me, the girl who found it equally exciting and terrifying to solo travel one train stop away for a music rehearsal this time last year. I think we can safely say, gap years can change a person. Everyday of my gap year so far I have tried to do something that scares me, even if it’s just a little, because that is the way I have chosen to overcome my fears. Already this year has made me so much more confident, self-aware and independent. All because of a little jet lag.

So why did I chose to take a gap year? To the majority of my friends, family and acquaintances apparently I’m not the sort of person who would be expected to take a gap year. Yet taking a gap year seemed far more logical to me than simply rushing into university, and these were my thoughts long before the jet lag struck. I wanted to take a break from the pressures of education, so that I can reignite my love for learning. Also, I kind of like to be unpredictable in life. Although I have many incredible adventures ahead, my gap year so far has be pretty unremarkable, consisting of a lot of cafe work mixed in with little adventures like late night McFlurry trips, discovering the joys of sushi or around Somerset just experience the autumn colours in their full glory. Nevertheless, it’s already turning into one of the best years of my life. Without the burden of four A Levels, I am actually able to live exactly as I wish without feeling guilty about the fact that I am not revising. In truth, I took a gap year because I wanted a rest. At the same time, I am trying to squeeze as much into these 12 months as I possibly can because one day, when I am looking back on everything I have done, I want to be able to know with all my heart that I have lived. Yes, it’s been hard watching friends go off to uni, having to leave orchestras because rehearsals clash with travel plans and it truly broke my heart telling my grandparents exactly how long I will be away for, but I know that this year is an opportunity that I may not get again. I’m seeking adventure in my life, and what can be more adventurous than a gap year?

Hopefully I haven’t rambled too much over the last 600-odd words but, in my defense, it is currently quarter to one in the morning and I do have a rather daunting flight in less than 30 hours. If you’d like to keep up with all the adventures that I am sure Borneo has in store for me, do come again to read some more of my postcards. Whenever I have internet, I’ll let you know what I’ve been up to. In the meantime, wish me luck for the flight and go and find an adventure for yourself. Adventures aren’t reserved exclusively for gap year students you know.

I’ll keep you posted,

Joanna x


6 thoughts on “Why I chose this gap year

  1. Joanna I think you are an amazing young women and I hope that you have an incredible time. Live it to the full as a year goes so quick! I wish you the very best,you have inspired me to do some thing adventurous in my old age! X


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