I was born with a "frequent flier" gene. Between the two, my parents have been to over 100 countries. My dad rushed out and got me my first passport when I was just two weeks old. Even when I was very young, I always told my parents that it was a life goal of mine to see as much, or more, than what they had already seen.
My desire to experience the world has become even stronger as I have grown older. On my travels, I became deeply interested in travelers I met who were taking “Gap Years.” Many of them were on sabbaticals from academia, enjoying time before finding a job after college, or in more common terms, “finding themselves.” Regardless of their individual driver, they all shared a desire to better themselves and learn something new from their trips. Through meeting these individuals, I realized how beneficial the time taken to experience a new environment of your choosing, can be for an person.
In September, I was involved in a car accident. While I was okay, my car ended up being "totaled", and something inside of me was different as well. My self-reflection during that time was challenging. I was working in a job that I adored, alongside a group of people that were supportive and mentors of mine. However, I still couldn’t shake the idea that this was a time in my life where I needed to go out and have a life-changing experience.
I got to thinking - should I go out and attempt a “Gap Year”? However, after more thought, a year seemed like a long time to go out and find what I can only describe as a “calling for experience.” When I became serious about my desire to go travel around Asia, I brought the idea to my parents, and after some discussion, we came to the idea of what would be a “Gap Quarter.” My goal is to use this time over the next few months to experience - well, everything. I want to meet new people, immerse myself in new cultures, and grow spiritually.
A friend of mine, Jason, is currently on a year long backpacking trip around the world. When I asked him about his experience, he wisely said that the time you spend taking a trip like this is best described as “the feeling of not knowing where you are going, but knowing you will get to where you need to be.”
A Gap Quarter is something people of all ages could consider. This does not necessarily mean it needs to be in Asia, but taking the time to reflect on where you are going. My hope is through being vulnerable and sharing my experiences it will not only allow me to catalog my journey, but perhaps offer guidance to others seeking something similar.
So, here I go. I am en route to where I need to be.
First Stop: Seoul, South Korea