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Is it hard resuming your life after a gap year?


Thorn Tree Refugee
Posts: 10
Joined: January 24th, 2011

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  • Added on: February 10th, 2011
I'm 5 years into my career and I'm burnt out already. I just don't think I can do a 9-5 after traveling for a year. It'd suck to start a new career though.

Anyone have experience with this? Maybe it's better to just travel once every few months and keep my job?


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Squat Toilet Professional
Posts: 859
Joined: November 8th, 2007
Location: California

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  • Added on: February 10th, 2011
See if you can't get a leave of absence. I was ready to quit my job for travel some years back, so I told my boss during a performance review. He suggested I apply for a leave and it surprised me but they granted it - we said it was educational to travel - and they let me go for 6 months and still have my job when I returned. Yes, I know many companies don't do that, but heck, all they can say is no (or maybe yes).


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Holds PhD in Packing
Posts: 112
Joined: January 29th, 2009

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  • Added on: February 12th, 2011
It is hard, I think... But I also think, worth it!!! I have been back 6 weeks from my RTW... The first 2 weeks totally sucked because I didn't want to believe that my 8-9 month trip was over... But I did find a job within 30 days... I used to think I would just spend the rest of my life at this job.... I have worked a long time and have been with my company for 16 years so I am grateful that they gave me a leave of absence and my new job is with the same company... I start back to work on Monday and I am a little nervous having been on a one-year sabbatical.... 2 months to get ready for my trip... 6 weeks post RTW.... and then the RTW itself.... And I have decided I cannot just go back and work at this job for the rest of my life if it means no more travel!!! I will find a way to get back to more travel.... The particular job I took is in a different town so I am keeping everything in storage and renting out my house and am looking at this job as a transition period.... I need to handle some things before I take a job long-term overseas... I need to sell my house, see my son into the Peace Corps (in August), completely pay off all remaining bills, put some money away, and figure out what to do with my birds... But when I am ready, I will do everything I can to bring my career together with my passion for travel... In the meanwhile, I am planning a trip to visit my son in Guatemala this Christmas and trying to decide where I want to go for a very short vacation this summer (probably 8-10 days).... Even though resuming my life after my RTW has been challenging, I wouldn't go back in time if I could and NOT do my RTW.... No matter the costs.... Life is a book and people who don't travel only read one page! It has been more meaningful for me to watch the situation that has been going on in Egypt because I was there and got to know some people there.... I met a family last night from China and feel I was better able to connect with them because I could speak to them about their country, having been there.... My new boss is Indian and I feel a deeper connection with him because I have been to India.... This kind of stuff happens every day.... The point is that I feel more connected to the planet because I have opened up my mind and my heart to different cultures and have lived however briefly in many of them.... Most of the people around me just aren't that interested.... I had a friend who posted on facebook that she was thinking of going to Key West for her 20 year wedding anniversary.... I suggested she go to Africa... This was totally out of her realm of interest.... I wondered how could someone NOT be interested in going to Africa!?!? Whatever, she can to Key West.... I don't have a problem with Key West... But anyone in the US can go to Key West anytime.... But to go to the Serengeti!!!! Now that is something to experience.... But that's just how I feel...



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World Citizen
Posts: 1174
Joined: January 12th, 2008
Location: Traveling for a while away from Playa San Diego SV

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  • Added on: February 12th, 2011
My situation was a bit different as I was the owner/operator of a small school/charter bus company which in this day & age of "the bigger is better" syndrome was a recipe for bankruptcy.

After much number crunching, soul searching & researching travel on the net, I sold out, took a 6 mo trip to Mexico, Central America & Cuba followed by an 11 mo RTW. During which I took a TEFL course in Bangkok.

As a result my experiences on these travels there was no way I live in Canada ever again. Since my 90 yr old mother was in a nursing home & I was the only child, I made the decision for us to move, bought a house in El Salvador.

Mother has now passed on & I am now renovating the house, that I will use as a home base, for a bed & breakfast, have to have caretakers here, so might as well get some income their pay their wages.

Plan on returning to SE Asia, likely Cambodia, in the spring to do some TEFL teaching. A complete career change at the end of my working life but one that will me to continue traveling as long as I am able! 8-) |
"I started out alone to seek adventures. You don't really have to seek them - that is nothing but a phrase - they come to you." Mark Twain


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Knows What a Schengen Visa Is
Posts: 307
Joined: June 3rd, 2009
Location: Austin, TX

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  • Added on: March 16th, 2011
I'm actually trying to figure out what to do when I get back. I don't want to do power/energy anymore. I want to transition into hardware design possibly. But does that mean studying/taking the GRE to get into grad school and get a MSEE? Or do I want an MBA and get into the business side of things instead, maybe become a management consultant. Or this or that.

And after all that, would I ever still be able to find time to travel to places I've never been down the road without uprooting myself again?


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Thorn Tree Refugee
Posts: 13
Joined: November 5th, 2010
Location: Dundee, Scotland

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  • Added on: March 18th, 2011
What you are calling a 'gap year' will become your life and a very different lifestyle choice. It's not like a 2 week holiday in the sun somewhere. It is just as much of a lifestyle change to go back to the 9-5 as it was to leave it in the first place. In fact, going back is more difficult since there is no excitement about it. Travelling becomes your life for however long you choose it, whether that's a few months or a year. Choosing to end what will probably be the best experience of your life, to return to a 9-5 is incredibly difficult for most people. Most of the hundreds of thousands/millions of westerners living in various far flung locations who set off for a few months travelling and are still abroad years later will verify this.


Holds PhD in Packing
Posts: 267
Joined: September 26th, 2007
Location: San Cristobal Mexico currently

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  • Added on: March 19th, 2011
It was hard for me. I was 27 when I quit my job and moved to Geneve for a year to be an Au Pair. Most people thought I was crazy because I had a good job for a great company and was in the process of being promoted. But, it was the best decision I ever made. It changed my outlook and life in so many ways it's impossible to count them.

After my year, I returned to the US and got a job again. For a job it was a pretty good deal. I got to travel, I got to attend lots of interesting events and I met people I never would have met, but I still hated it. After 3 years I quit and started my own business - which is much more in line with my personality. After 3 years of that I transitioned my business interests so that they can all be handled remotely and I've been on the road ever since. For two years I've been traveling in Mexico and Guatemala and last month I got married to a local I met while traveling.

Definitely not the way I thought I'd live my life but it makes me happy and that's all that matters.

I wasted a lot of time trying to fit myself into the round hole that most people expected me to be in but now this square peg of a girl is doing her own thing. :)
Traveling through Mexico and Central America starting in January '09. Hit me up if you want to meet!


Holds PhD in Packing
Posts: 200
Joined: March 21st, 2007

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  • Added on: March 19th, 2011
Hey Will, this is actually one of the reasons that's preventing me from leaving in the first place. But then, one of the many reasons why I want to leave in the first place is that hopefully, after a few years of moving from place to place, I really hope to get bored or fed up of the vagabond lifestyle that I would start craving a permanent home, a permanent job, a family of my own, the whole nine yards. Hopefully when this happens, going back to the 9-to-5 lifestyle would be really easy.

But instead of worrying about this, maybe you and I need to worry about leaving in the first place. The rest will hopefully work itself out. Que será será.
"This is your life and it's ending one minute at a time" -- Fight Club


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Holds PhD in Packing
Posts: 139
Joined: April 10th, 2008

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  • Added on: March 19th, 2011
I'm 5 years into my career and I'm burnt out already. I just don't think I can do a 9-5 after traveling for a year. It'd suck to start a new career though.

Starting a new career, can be almost as exciting as travelling. Back in the UK I was a corporate drone, working in IT sales. Since travelling I have worked as a Divemaster in Thailand, a cook in Sweden (the best job I ever had), a salesman for printing equipment in Australia, salesman for fitness equipment in NZ.

I now run my own business providing products to the wine industry here in NZ and I am very happy with my lot.

I never would have had the opportunity to do these things, unless I started my journey. I shudder to think what my life would be like now, if I was back doing the same job in the UK.

Don't forget your history
Know your destiny
In the abundance of water
The fool is thirsty

"Rat race" - Bob Marley

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