This week’s If We Can Do It interview is with Jacomijn Heupink, a police officer who went on a three-month trip though Asia.
1. Why did you decide to take your grown up gap year/trip? Was it a difficult decision to make?
I went on a holiday with a friend and told her I wanted an adventure by doing Java on our own and Bali in the house of her family. She thought it was alright until we were there. I bought a train ticket for the next day to Yogyakarta and was looking for a place to sleep, when all of a sudden she told me she had seen a travel agency. She thought it would be nice to book a trip….all the way back to Bali. So we did, otherwise she wouldn’t have felt relaxed. But at that moment I decided that the next holiday I took would be my first solo travel. That same year I went solo for two months 🙂
2. What were other people’s reactions when you told them your plans?
Most of the reactions are like: “That’s great that you are doing that! I wouldn’t dare” and “It sounds great, but I haven’t got the money for it.”
3. How long did your trip take and where did you go?
My first trip was two months in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Now, a year and a half later, I am on a three month trip. I started in Myanmar, and then did a diving course in Thailand, Koh Tao. Now I’m travelling through Malaysia to Indonesia.
4. How did you finance your grown up gap year?
I saved as much as I could, while working as many irregular hours as possible to get the best pay 🙂
5. Did you go alone or with family/friends?
6. What is your travel style? (Ie. Budget hostels/Mid-range hotels/Luxury travel – less is more, travelling slowly/pack in as much as possible)
I stay in good guesthouses or mid-range hotels as I don’t feel like sharing a room…
7. Do you go for tours or do it alone?
Sometimes tours, because it is nice to meet fellow travellers. But also alone when there is not too much a guide could tell me. I do want to learn about the culture and country, that is why I do prefer a tour with guide!
8. What is the best thing about taking a grown up gap year?
You get to know yourself much better and understand your place in this world. But also you learn about your needs and preferences. And, best of all, you get to know what you basically need to be happy 🙂
9. And were there any downsides?
So far not really. When you’re sick you can feel lonely. But get a good hotel and that will help 🙂
10. What advice would you give to anyone thinking of setting off on their own grown up gap year?
Just set your goal, work towards it and go! You will never regret it – you will only regret the things you didn’t do!
If you want to catch up with Jacomijn on her travels, visit her blog Safe and Healthy Travel.