The Dangers of a Gap Year
Part of the point of a gap year is to get yourself out of your comfort zone. By definition that can put you in danger and in recent years there has been mounting concern that some ‘gappers’ are so busy embracing new challenges, they forget the old habits of self-preservation. Obviously many gappers are schoolleavers, whose naivety is part of the problem.
But even a graduate can be lulled into false security by the thought that they know how to handle themselves. Maybe they do, but not always and not everywhere. Common sense is a gapper’s main protection against losing possessions, having them stolen, being ripped off, falling ill, having an accident, or generally having a bum trip. But common sense only goes so far and, according to the organisers of the Annual Gap Year Safety Conference, held for the first time last year, one in three gap year trips is cut short by accidents or crimes.
One such accident – a coach crash in Peru – took the life of 19-year-old Georgia French, inspiring her parents, Ian and Pat, to set up GapAid, a charity to help gappers get wise before travelling and have access to help while they’re away. There are also plenty of one-day courses that will leave you better equipped than simply relying on your limited street-smarts. In the long run they might save you considerably more and leave you free to hang loose without fear of being left dangling.