The person behind the blog

I updated the About section for this blog. Check it out and learn more about my interests and endeavors.

One of my favorite past times: kayaking.

One of my favorite past times: kayaking.

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August 9, 2013 at 6:32 pm Leave a comment

One Person’s Trash is Another’s Treasure

Money. Downsizing. Spending some time in the great outdoors.

Whether you call it a yard sale, tag sale, garage sale, or moving sale, it’s an easy way to make some quick money.

From my personal yard sale.

Here are some eye-catching banners I made for my own yard sale. I hung them right out front of my house so people would know where the fun is at.

My boyfriend and I had a yard sale a few weeks ago and we made more than enough money to cover our round-trip plane tickets from Philly to Boston. It was really quite simple!

Are you at home? Look around you. Is there some stuff you could part with? Ka-ching! Instant start-up funding for your gap year. It doesn’t need to be a daunting task. Here is a list of tips to get you started with organizing your own yard sale to bring in some cash for your gap year adventures:

Location: Be sure to establish your yard sale somewhere that has high pedestrian volume. We chose my mom’s driveway–it almost makes you feel like you’re at a mini flea market. We had it on a Saturday to try to lure people from the Farmers’ Market down the street.

Pricing: Take time to price things, or at least consider what amount you would like to receive (especially for bigger ticket items). Leave room for people to haggle/negotiate. Do you want at least $25 for that mirror of yours? Start by telling the customer that it’s $35; either you will get $35 or when the person offers you less you are still getting the amount you wanted. Keep in mind that sometimes actual price tags can deter people from buying things, but sometimes no price tag is also a turnoff. Consider making a whole table or box with items (e.g., books, dvds) that are $3 each or 2 for $5.

Advertise: Post on your local Craigslist and Patch websites to reach people through the Internet, but also be sure to print out signs and hang them up on telephone poles, street signs, at coffee shops and supermarkets, and maybe make a particularly impressive sign to display at the location of your sale (ahem, see photo above),

Be Prepared: Even though we stated everywhere that the sale would begin at 8 AM and “no early birds please,” people still tried to show up before 7 AM! Be prepared to be stern with people. Let them know that you won’t be bringing items out until the advertised time. This will  not drive away business because there will be many more people showing up throughout the day. Finally, be sure to have a plan for what to do with the things you do not sell. I am partial to donating to Goodwill, keeping the big ticket items to try selling next time, and sometimes rediscovering things of my own to incorporate back into my daily life.

Don’t fret the next time you start thinking, “How will I ever afford my gap year?!” Have a yard sale to help start your savings, and during your down time at the yard sale start plotting other ways to make bank.

August 6, 2013 at 10:17 pm Leave a comment

Staying Safe While Traveling Abroad

Today’s post is brought to you by a guest blogger, KC Owens. His experiences traveling and discovery of this blog inspired him to write a wonderful post on safety, which you can enjoy below.

Staying Safe While Traveling Abroad

Traveling abroad is an incredible adventure full of new experiences for college students. Perhaps nothing is more exciting than leaving home with a group of friends or by oneself. However, an adventurous journey can quickly turn into a dangerous one if precautions are not taken before your trip. Every traveler needs to consider his or her own safety during a given trip no matter which countries they plan to visit. Too many travelers are unprepared for dangerous situations and when they encounter them, their situations become much worse. Know what you’re getting yourself into, plan ahead and be prepared.

travel photo

Protect Your Money

Students use credit cards for many reasons these days. I use mine for books, bills and to help fund my education. When I’m traveling, I use a great prepaid credit card because it helps to secure my finances while I’m on the go. Prepaid cards can protect tourists in foreign countries because they don’t have much money on them. By loading small amounts of money onto a prepaid card, a person doesn’t need to worry about losing everything if they lose their card. Money can be transferred from their bank account to the credit card when more money is needed.

A prepaid card is also a great safety tool because it can be used without your personal information on it so if someone steals it, they will have a difficult time purchasing anything with it. A friend of mine was once mugged and the person took their cash and left their card and wallet. The lesson learned for us was to carry less cash and use a card.

Be Careful with Water

Most travelers don’t realize that countries don’t always regulate drinking water. In the United States, water from the faucet is treated for bacteria. The same can’t be said for water in other countries. A single glass of water in the wrong country can put foreign visitors in the hospital. While traveling abroad, a person should stick to bottled water from a safe source. Likewise, it’s important to eat healthy in order to avoid becoming ill. Some countries lack adequate healthcare systems so getting sick while abroad is a situation you need to avoid at all costs. If you do become ill, make sure you take proper care of yourself.

Know the Laws and Social Norms

Every country features its own laws and social norms. Failure to follow them can result in steep legal consequences. Unfortunately, being a visitor in a foreign country doesn’t count as an excuse. Travelers should always extensively research the biggest laws in the country they’re about to visit. Doing so can save a person from spending time in jail during their adventures abroad. These days, too many tourists assume the laws are similar to their own country’s and wind up in hot water elsewhere. For example,

Staying safe while traveling abroad isn’t always easy. Plenty of hairy situations can arise that really sour the tone of a journey. To avoid these problems, travelers need to prepare themselves for these situations and others. A traveler needs to protect themselves, their finances, and their fellow companions. The fact of the matter is that travelers desire a perfect trip. In most cases, perfection is attainable while traveling abroad, but safety must be considered beforehand to avoid issues.

headshot

KC Owens has written and submitted this article. KC is a college student who loves traveling, college life, fitness and a good survival kit. He enjoys studying different cultures, meeting new people and leaving his footprint somewhere most people only read about.

August 2, 2013 at 7:00 pm Leave a comment

Time warps us all…

And quite a gap in time it has been! So much has been going on in my life, many transitions have occurred, and I keep my head up and keep moving. I even have myself one of those full-time office jobs.

You are not your job.

Official name tag. Note the artificial lighting and bland grey cubicle wall.

What can I say? It pays the bills. And it helps me build up my savings–you never know when you’ll need that! I plan for it to be used for some type of adventure. Definitely traveling, which I have been doing a decent amount of. My 9-5er also gives me lots of time to think. What am I passionate about? What am I doing with my life? Wait a second….didn’t I have a blog that I loved? Yes! Something to get excited about.

Expect new content including guest posts, interviews, and other goodies exploring different options for gap years, travel, accumulating funds, and how to handle transitions.

To wrap up this sweet reunion, I would like to thank all of those who have come across this blog in the recent years and enjoy learning about gap years. You have re-inspired me to continue my research and follow my passions.

July 31, 2013 at 11:12 pm Leave a comment

Consider a gap year with Projects Abroad

Looking out from Kripalu, there was a rainbow.

Toward the end of May, my mom and I took our annual trip to Kripalu.  Kripalu is one of the largest yoga centers in the U.S., and is a place of healing, learning, and respite.  Kripalu offers a volunteer program where chosen applicants live, eat, and participate at Kripalu in exchange for 35 hours of work per week.  This is definitely a bohemian gap year.  However, while I was participating in a sharing circle, I met a woman whose two children have both volunteered abroad.  Each time they organized their trips through  Projects Abroad.  This website offers volunteer and internship opportunities abroad, focusing on the following areas:

  • Care
  • Teaching
  • Conservation & Environment
  • Sports
  • Culture & Community
  • Archaeology
  • Building
  • Performing Arts
  • Medicine & Healthcare
  • Journalism
  • Law & Human Rights
  • Business
  • Veterinary Medicine & Animal Care

The website is fairly easy to navigate, and you can choose according to projects, destinations, or price.  This is a great resource if you have a good chunk of money to spend on your gap year, want to live with a host family, and are interested in any of the areas listed above.

July 18, 2011 at 12:11 pm 1 comment

Is it a gap year? Spread the word(s)!

While volunteering this weekend at the Mercy Edible Park in South Philadelphia, I weeded and mingled with others interested in bringing change to the neighborhood.  One lady helping us weed did a year of service in West Virginia through AmeriCorps.  She worked with a non-profit to help drive tourism to a small town.  With a degree in painting, she moved from Nebraska to Philadelphia to intern with the Mural Arts Program.  There was also a couple with an adorable baby, and they met while getting TEFL certified in the Czech Republic to teach English abroad.  Learning about these three people made me realize how common it is to take a meaningful gap year, even though the term gap year is not a commonly used phrase.  Keep in mind: when talking with people, sometimes you need to make your own connections about their motivation and interest in doing something gap year related and see if it resembles your interests.  Oftentimes, we need to search for meaning instead of waiting for someone to blatantly state what we are looking for.  It was really fantastic meeting new people while doing something we were all interested in and realizing they share common interests of mine.

July 18, 2011 at 11:47 am Leave a comment

Preparing to Travel

 

 

Brazen Careerist “is a career-management site for high achieving young professionals and ambitious college students. The site helps you meet new people, find a job, and build relevant relationships to advance your career.”  It really is a wonderful resource, and I came across a great article titled How to Prepare to Take a Break from Your Career to Travel.  This article gives great advice about the steps to take to prepare to start traveling and to follow your dreams.  If you are interested in incorporating travel into your gap year, then this is a must read.

July 7, 2011 at 2:50 pm Leave a comment

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