This Day in 2007

From my first blog, Peaceful Ponderings, on October 25, 2007:

What has been your path in life? If you’re anything like me, you went to school, K-12, then spent four years in college and are now moving on into the working world. This is what we have been told is “life” by our elders and very few of us appear to question it or take a different route.

I feel like I am one of the few, except for my own hesitations to stick to the status quo. Believe me, I tried to go off on my own, all the way to Africa, in fact – only to learn that I had a limit in such remote circumstances. Fair. I have no regrets. Now back in the States, however, I’m feeling that itch again. I want to travel. I want more experiences than sitting behind a desk, staring at a screen for 7 or 8 hours a day.

What is so difficult about finding your own direction? For me, it’s not so much the expectations of my parents, my family (although those are there as well, trust me). It’s more that I don’t want to worry them by going off into the unknown, trying a variety of different lifestyles and cultures. When it comes down to it, the ambitions and wishes I have for my life would give my parents – or at least my mother – a heart attack before she’s due for one.

Still, I read about more and more young people like myself going off and going just what I want to do. We are traveling the globe more than ever, taking one, two, five years off between college and a 9-5 to see more, experience more and soul-search more than past generations.

In a global economy like our current one, it is much easier and accessible. The world is calling to be experienced. I want nothing more than to be able to buy a one-way ticket anywhere and make my way around the world, taking odd-jobs when I need to and writing about my adventures the entire way.

I have been doing a lot of research, looking for low-paying jobs, volunteer placements or internships that could act as my starting point. The problem is that the vast majority require some payment for placement, or travel, or something that prohibits a lot of open-minded, caring individuals from helping where they are needed most. Literally, I’ve been surfing the net for two months now in search of the perfect opportunity and through the hundreds of sites I’ve seen, not even ONE has free assignments overseas. Even those that will pay you for your teaching skills, for instance, require a down-payment and independent travel.

I guess I shouldn’t be expecting too much from these non-profits, as most of them are; but I figure that if I am willing to give my time and energy, along with sacrificing comfort in most scenarios, the least these organizations can do is cut down the expense.

Just type “gap year” into Google (or Blackle, the more energy-efficient version of the search engine) and you will get 25,800,000 results. Exxciting, until you peruse further. Take http://www.gapyear.com, for example. If you’re looking to volunteer at an orphanage in Asia, you better be willing to drop at least $1,000 – and that could just be for a week. Outrageous, no?
Luckily, just today I found a wonderful site: http://www.findagapjob.com. This site has a plethora of opportunities abroad that are mostly paid and only require you to pay for your flight – which, depending on your length of stay, should be reimbursed by the time you leave. It has an extensive list of jobs everywhere. Your only dilemma might be getting the appropriate visa and papers to allow you to work in a specific country.
Just be wary of the site you choose. I have found great deals and offers only to realize the site only accepts applications from UK residents, for instance.
Thus, the search continues to find the perfect, inexpensive prospect abroad, because – come on – at 22 I’m much too young to settle into the status quo!
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