Continue Your Formal Education Through Travel

By Jennifer Miller on June 8th, 2015
BootsnAll
Graduation season is upon us, once again. My Facebook feed is full of prom pictures and announcements of impending celebrations of that final milestone of childhood for the children of my friends. This is a sure sign that I’m getting old. A further indication might be that I’m graduating a young person of my own this spring, and he’s not my first. Yikes. Of course, having been a school-free zone for the past couple of decades, our process looks somewhat different from the American standard, but it’s no less significant as we launch our life’s work into the world.
Want to learn how to plan a Gap Year trip?

As parents, we’ve done our best to ensure that our children are ready. We’ve given them the best education that we can. We’ve made sure they’re as well rounded as they can be. We’ve maximized their strengths, and we’ve worked, patiently, with them to develop their weaknesses. We’ve supported, encouraged, admonished, and generally worked our asses off from the day they were born into our hands, through all of the nail biter hair pin twists and turns of childhood and adolescence to the hair raising leap of letting them go.

The continual question is, “Have we done enough?”

We’ve done our best, but is our best adequate? Will they take what we’ve handed them and soar? Or not? No one knows the answer to that question as kids fly the nest. We cross our fingers, smile our most encouraging smiles, and wave hard while repeating my friend’s mantra: “Have some faith in your parenting!”

What happens when you have a kid who isn’t quite ready to head to college, or the work force yet?

Perhaps they are unsure of what they want to do, or perhaps their academics aren’t what they need to be. Or maybe their grades are great and they have good direction, but you can see that they’re just a bit burned out on the process. Maybe they’re plenty “book smart” but you feel they lack maturity. Perhaps the missing piece is that all important “real world” experience.

“Time out to travel is considered a valuable part of the educational experience; an opportunity to apply what’s been learned so far and get a firm grip on how much we do not yet know.”

In many countries around the world a gap year travel experience is the norm. It’s an expected and time honored tradition for young people to get outside of their cultural comfort zone, celebrate their milestone achievement with a trip, and blow the cobwebs out of their brains before returning, with renewed vigor, to their studies or work. Time out to travel is considered a valuable part of the educational experience; an opportunity to apply what’s been learned so far and get a firm grip on how much we do not yet know.

“As parents, who perhaps have not traveled in that way, it’s hard to know where to start.”

Young people are often excited about the idea of taking a year off in the world. Taking a big trip is an adventure that many dream of but few realize. As parents, who perhaps have not traveled in that way, it’s hard to know where to start, how to help and what we can do to make sure that our kids take the gap year they need and learn as much as possible from the experience.


Gap Year

We’ve got you covered.

We just rolled out two new versions of our popular Round The World 30 (RTW30) planning e-course: one for students, and one for parents.

If you’re a graduating senior, then GAPYEAR30 is for you. Designed specifically for very young travelers who have no experience living or traveling on their own, we’ll walk you through every step of planning your gap year trip, from budgeting to lodging, to health and safety on the road.

Plus, we’ll introduce you to the Travel Access Project (TAP), which will help you maximize the educational benefit of your journey and quantify it in a way that will mean something to college admissions boards and employers alike, upon your return. If traveling is your dream, we can help you make it happen.

GAPYEAR30 for Parents takes into consideration the special concerns of parents as their young people hit the road for the first time. Not only will we help you to help your child, in practical and emotionally supportive ways, we’ll do our best to alleviate your fears and reduce your worry at sending your child off on the adventure of a lifetime.

Want to support your child in his or her Gap Year dreams?

We know that you haven’t necessarily traveled extensively, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be your student’s biggest ally and supporter. You can learn together; we’ll help. If you’re concerned about the impact of taking a year off on your child’s academic and career path, then you’re going to be very excited about the possibility of partnering with TAP to be sure that your young person comes back in a position to leverage their time abroad in a way that catapults them ahead as they enter the next phase of their lives. Custom designed for your young person, TAP will give them an edge.

“There is a strength and confidence that is borne of adversity that a young person is hard pressed to develop without spreading her wings a little bit.”

There are people who believe that no education is complete without a serious dose of travel. We at BootsnAll tend to agree. There are things the road teaches that are impossible to learn in a classroom. There are lessons learned in the real world, face to face with the dirty, sticky, complicated web of humanity that simply don’t translate into words on the page of a textbook. There is a strength and confidence that is borne of adversity that a young person is hard pressed to develop without spreading her wings a little bit. Travel develops that faster than anything else I can think of.

If you’re a student, join my kids in taking some time to travel, for the adventure now, and for the benefit to your future. If you’re a parent, join me in supporting our young people through real world, intensive education in the truest sense. I’m right there in the trenches with you as my 18 year old takes off for most of the summer on a two continent, three country adventure, and my 17-year-old prepares to board a working schooner to sail the Med and cross the Atlantic in pursuit of his dreams and adventure.

Class dismissed.

Photo credits: Denis Kuvaev, Mila Supinskaya