Gap Year // Central America // Work and Travel
I had the plan to do a gap year since my eight years older sister went to Italy as an Au Pair after graduating school. And as usual I thought for a long time I would be an Au Pair too or do Work & Travel in Australia or New Zeeland. Like everyone else.
When I actually graduated school this plan cracked. I did not want to be an Au Pair anymore. I did not want to go to Australia or New Zeeland. I did not want to have an agency. I wanted to do something different. My own small trip. Just me.
I had the tought in my head that if I fly to the other end of the world I do not only want to meet Germans everywhere and speek german nonstop. Obviously I wanted to go a harder way. So I thought after three less than not succesful years of spanish lessons I decided to go to an spanish speaking country.
I have been looking for endless beaches, an endless summer and endless new experiences. Central America caught my attention very fast and one late night after work I decided my first destination : Panama. Maybe an unsual place to start your travels, but I did not know that at that point.
As mentioned, easy is not my thing. I had a job back home, but it was not even nearly enough money to travel for several month – and actually it tourned out being more expensive than expected… – so I had to work abroad, but of course I am not allowed to work there and I did not want to work for an agency I had to pay for working for them. I was sure there is an other way to work with cute wild animals or help children at school.
So I discovered Workaway, HelpX and Woofing – working in exchange of accomodation and food. And in my oppinion it is as good as Work & Travel. It extends my travel multiple weeks and so there was more money for the fun things while traveling.
After endless discussions with my parents and multiple vaccinations I jumped into a plane and into a totally new world and lifestyle.
That is how I disigned my own gap year abroard. Sometimes it was hard. Sometimes I hated myself for just being stupid or uninformed and just not being in time. But most time I loved it. I would always do it again this way. And I am already planning my next trip.