The Ultimate Gap Year Experience
What is your name and what do you do?
My name is Rosie and I now travel full time!
Where have you been?
I lived in Sydney for around 10 months and travelled up the east coast of Australia for just over 2 months, I also went to Melbourne and Fiji.
How old were you when you first went travelling?
I left for Oz when I had just turned 19, and I came home just after I turned 20.
What made you decide to take the leap and go travelling?
I decided to take the leap and finally go because I always wanted to see the world, and as I wasn’t planning on staying in education anymore and I didn’t really know where I saw myself going career wise, I figured there wasn’t going to be a better time! So I worked for about 9 months to save as much as I could (luckily I did have some money saved before that too!) and then I went!
How long were you away?
I was away for a year.
How did you plan your trip?
I booked my trip with an online gap year company, the trip included a weeks’ worth of activities (surfing, dinner up the centre point tower, trip to the zoo and aquarium etc.). They also helped me find an apartment, gave me tips on travel and work/job offers.
The company I booked with then passed me over to an Australia company, and they helped me with everything else, including finding jobs. They were amazing while I was over there, but unfortunately when I came back and needed help claiming my tax back they didn’t seem to want to know. The trip cost around £350-£400, and then I paid for my flights (the cost of the visa was included in the package price).
Did you need any medical treatment while you were away? If so why?
I went to hospital twice while I was over there, both were because of a pre-existing condition, the first time was just to be checked out and make sure I was ok, and the second time I was actually in Intensive Care because I stopped breathing, I was in there for 5 days the staff at the hospital were amazing! They helped me with my insurance and with claiming back the charges.
Did you do any exciting/adventurous activities?
I did some pretty awesome once in a lifetime things while I was over there. While I was surfing there were sharks out so I surfed with tiger sharks! I did a 14000ft skydive which was so amazing its unreal, it’s something that I would suggest to everyone no matter if you’re scared of heights, it is incredible! I swam with reef sharks in the Great Barrier Reef and I snorkeled in jellyfish infested waters at the edge of the Great Barrier Reef.
I also did a crocodile tour as well as going to Australia zoo and sitting in the front row of the famous croc show (the Irwins were presenting the show). I also spent three nights living in a tree house in the middle of the jungle, which may not sound exciting but the wildlife makes it so eventful it was incredible!
Where was the most interesting place you stayed?
The most memorable accommodation was definitely the tree house hostel, not necessarily for being great but I’ll never stay anywhere as exciting ever again!
Did you return home during your trip? If so why?
I didn’t come home during my trip, but my sister did come over to visit which was lovely, and made things a bit easier.
What was the highlight of your trip?
I think the highlight of my trip was snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef, it was everything I expected and more, I met some amazing people, the weather was amazing and it was right near the end of my trip, so it was generally just amazing!
Were there any low points during your time away from home? If so what were they?
I think the low points would be Christmas and my birthday. Although I was with my boyfriend (who I met whilst travelling), it was the first Christmas I’ve spent away from home, and I really missed my family at that point.
Did you work during your trip? How easy was it to find jobs? Did you enjoy them?
I originally worked at a factory stuffing cushions into cushion covers which was horrible and really hard work and tedious. I left there to work as a waitress, but it was only casual work and I wasn’t guaranteed constant work. I decided to look for bar work, and luckily the bar I drank at a lot offered me a job, so I worked there for 6 months. I was really lucky because I loved my job and everyone I worked with was awesome. I can’t wait to go back!
To be honest I never really had to look for a job, so I don’t know if it’s hard to find one or not, because the company I went with found my first two jobs and I was offered the bar job.
Is there anywhere you would recommend everyone visit?
The advice I would give to anyone thinking of going travelling is not to think about it, just do it! It’s the most amazing thing I have ever done and I feel like it’s helped me to grow as a person. I’ve met some friends for life and done things I’m never going to do again!
What one piece of advice would you give anyone planning to go travelling?
I would recommend that if people can, go to Fiji. It’s not only a beautiful place but the people are amazing, and there’s such a sense of community. It’s just generally a really laid back cool place to visit. I went all over Fiji but Nadi (where the airport is) was my favorite place there.
Would you recommend travelling solo or in a group?
I set out alone, which was scary at first, but as a backpacker you meet people every day! There’s never really a lonely moment, you meet people who feel like your best friends, even though you have only known them a few hours.
I think I enjoyed travelling alone because I had no ties, I could do what I wanted when I wanted, I didn’t have to please anyone else; I saw lots of groups fall out over where and when to move on.
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However I also think that if you choose to travel with people who you know really well, who you know you won’t argue or fall out with, then travelling with someone would be awesome; you would have someone to share your experiences with.