I’m the first person to admit I never wanted to take a gap year. I wanted to move away as soon as I finished school. However, finding myself rejected from my first-choice university and unwilling to settle on anything less than that, I was suddenly having a gap year.
Looking back, this gap year was probably the best thing that happened to me. I got my first full time job in a very, very fancy hotel which gave me my first proper insight to a working environment.
I knew I wanted to travel, so began looking into working holidays in Australia and New Zealand. I picked Australia, mainly for the weather – not realising I was heading out in their winter season! Luckily, it ended up being the hottest February Australia had seen, however not so lucky for my pale, sun deprived Scottish skin.
I booked my trip through Gap 360, which was definitely the most stress-free thing to do. I had everything arranged for me – visas, flights as well as my accommodation, food, drink, activities and transport for my first week.
Since you’re going on a pre-organised tour, meeting new people happens immediately, which takes away the worry of wondering if you will make friends.
After arriving in Sydney, my friends and I booked our East Coast trips straight away as we were so excited to get travelling. We got extremely lucky as our tour was filled with the nicest, friendliest backpackers – and they quickly became our best friends for the rest of this trip.
Thinking back there is no overall highlight from this trip, because it was entirely unreal. I got to go skydiving over the Great Barrier Reef, bungee jumping in the Cairns rainforest, dolphin kayaking in Byron Bay, scuba diving in the Whitsunday Islands and city breaks in Brisbane and Melbourne – to name a few exciting events!
Australia’s rural and city views are beautiful and unforgettable and one of the only places where waking up at 4am to see the sunrise is genuinely worth it.
As much as I always knew I loved going on holiday, this gap year trip really opened my eyes to how much I loved travelling.
There’s no denying travelling is scary, especially when you go alone, but the moments spent outside of your comfort zone are always worth it. Nothing compares to the feeling of visiting new places and making unforgettable friends and memories along the way.
Words: Siobhan Macdonald