Our Gap Year

Road tripping the U.S. & backpacking Southeast Asia
During our final semester at Penn State we had a decision to make: start applying for jobs or plan a gap year. While most American students are eager to get a job and begin working, the idea of traveling for a year was too good of an opportunity to pass up. So we decided to put off our job search and begin planning our travels.

The question of where to go and what to do wasn’t easy to answer. Originally, we decided to stay in the United States and see more of our own backyard. We figured we would spend the year road tripping throughout the U.S. However, halfway through our gap year we changed plans to also include a month-long trip to Southeast Asia.

So far, we have…

fed Chiang Mai’s gentle giants,

slept in some sweet bungalows,

visited the beach from ‘The Beach’,

volunteered with pups in Koh Lanta,

cruised through Halong Bay Vietnam,

beat Bangkok’s insane traffic,

ate street food in Hanoi,
Leslie walking at the top of the Beehive Trail in Acadia National Park in Maine during our gap year

hiked to the top of countless mountains,
Brad blowing ring bubbles underwater at Wekiwa Natural Spring State Park in Florida during our gap year

snorkeled in central Florida’s natural springs,
The street sign on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans Louisiana where we stayed during our gap year

stayed at the end of Bourbon Street in New Orleans,
Brad getting splashed on the rocky coast of the Ocean Path in Acadia National Park in Maine during our gap year

walked the rocky coast in Maine,
Leslie in the waters of Key Biscayne near Miami Florida during our gap year

went for a dip in Key Biscayne,
An owl perched on a branch during a flight demonstration we saw during our gap year at the Center for Birds of Prey near Charleston, South Carolina

learned about birds of prey in Charleston,
A view of the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean from the top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park we saw during our gap year

watched the sunrise from the top of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park,
Anime graffiti for the Bushwick Collective in Brooklyn New York City that we saw during our gap year

discovered a new appreciation for street art,
A Sunrise we saw during our gap year at the beach in Sea Isle City New Jersey

lost, broke, and waterlogged some equipment,
The Pulaski Obelisk located at Monterey Square in Savannah Georgia which we saw during our gap year

explored the squares of Savannah,
The LOVE sculpture in Philadelphia which we saw during our gap year

got to know our hometown city of Philadelphia a little better,
A miniature donkey we saw peeking through a wooden fence during our gap year at Shelburne Farms near Burlington Vermont

met a miniature donkey (and milked a cow) in Vermont,
Sitting on Snake Mountain after hiking with our Couchsurfing hosts early in our gap yearnear Burlington Vermont

and got lost with new friends!

Learn from others

More gap year experiences

We highly recommend people consider taking a post-grad gap year, but we realize that not everyone is at the same stage of life as us. Luckily, a gap year doesn’t have to be a full year and they can be taken before college, before a career, or even during your career. We have invited others to write guest posts about their gap year experiences.

From Taco Trucks to Thailand: Kellie Mogg’s Gap Year Experience

After graduating from the University of Oklahoma, Kellie Mogg took an 18-month gap year experience traveling the U.S. on a food truck before taking a trip to Thailand.

Kivunim in Jerusalem: Danny Magerman’s Gap Year Experience

Danny Magerman shares his gap year experience at Kivunim in Jerusalem. In the post he discusses the Kivunim program, where he traveled during the 8-months, and how the experience changed him.

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