Travel: Mind the gap

August 10, 2018


For many young people, the period straight after high school is a chance to stop and take stock before heading off to university or full-time work.

Many even take what is called a ‘gap year’, deferring the start of university to allow them to spend time travelling or working before focusing on studying. It can be a good way of refreshing yourself and preventing burnout, as well as getting out into the world and broadening horizons.

For those looking to take a gap year, it’s possible to combine this break with self-improvement, and do more than just party or go to the usual destinations. If you’re looking for something more here’s a few things to consider:

1. Volunteering
Volunteering not only provides a way of helping others, it can be good for you. It can be a way of developing skills, or adding experience to your resume and putting you in a better position when the time comes to look for work.

There are a broad range of opportunities to volunteer, and in all sorts of areas. They include everything from helping out in a Salvos Store to assisting in an administration or IT support role. With a huge range of community programs and services, dedicated volunteers are essential both on the front line and behind the scenes.

One exciting gap year experience is available for passionate, motivated, vibrant and resourceful 18 to 25-year-olds, offering a Certificate 4 in Youth Work while caring for Melbourne's most vulnerable. Order 614 is an accredited Urban Mission gap year, where Order 614 members receive training in a Certificate 4 in Youth Work and work in a full-time volunteer capacity at The Salvation Army Melbourne Project 614. For more information contact: lauren.cockerell@aus.


2. Supporting others
Sadly, there can be an unhealthy culture around the gap year concept, with people getting a bit carried away when it comes to enjoying their last taste of freedom. This can see many of the holiday hotspots becoming the site of wild partying and holidaying, and can lead to young people getting into more trouble than they expected.

If you do want to travel, but want to avoid the downside, why not consider helping ensure others have a safer time? At certain times organisations like the Salvos put together youth teams to provide support to other young people at some of these hotspots, providing a friendly face or even ensuring that they get back to their hotels safely.

This can be a great way of still getting to travel and it can become more than just a holiday, allowing you to change people’s lives—and your own. 

You can find out more at


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Vol. 139, No. 14 // 11 April 2020

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