View from an employer:
Chris Price, Business Manager at Direct Line Travel Insurance comments: 'Taking an extended break from work used to be the preserve of a privileged few, but now more and more people are taking time out from their careers to travel. It seems that firms are recognising this desire and are offering sabbaticals as a way of recruiting and retaining the best staff.'
A Case Study (courtesy of Worldwide Volunteering):
Dickon Verey - AIDS orphans and children - Cambodia
2003/4 - From Banking To Biking!
Dickon Verey, aged 28 from London, was enjoying a successful career in banking when he decided it was time for a change. “I’d gone straight from university to the city. I felt that I needed a broader perspective on life, in terms of my own personal development.”
Dickon certainly picked a challenging placement. For 3 months, he supported AIDS orphans and children with AIDS in Cambodia. His experiences were deeply moving, uplifting, and on occasions, traumatic.
“Essentially I was a flying doctor, but on a bike, with provisions consisting of little more than soap or vitamin pills. It was humbling to see the gratitude of the people we tried to help. For so long nobody had cared. There were many moments of utter tragedy, as well as plenty filled with the laughter and warmth of the amazing people that I had the privilege to support.”
Aids is rife throughout the country, and with little or no government support in place, suffering and discrimination is commonplace.
“I can honestly say that volunteering has changed my life. I feel a lot more grounded as a person. The simple things in life mean so much more. I’d encourage anyone to take time out to volunteer, it’s amazing how a comparatively short period of time can give you an utterly new steer on life.”
Families are increasingly joining in and having a gap together. Many people hold the view that if children have good health, educational support and are in a safe environment, they are no hindrance to a gap year.
The Tubbs family went with The Leap to Kenya, Summer 2007
The Tubbs family went to Shimoni in South Kenya on a conservation project in Summer, 2007 with The Leap. Rupert Tubbs, Felix's father said:
'In the forest, walking for up to five hours along narrow trails and through thick undergrowth, we jumped lines of soldier ants, removed animal snares, and logged the local fauna and flora. We were there to map the extent of deforestation and search for the endangered Colobus monkey; with this evidence to hand our hosts would be in a position to approach the World Wildlife Fund for support in protecting these fast disappearing forests.'
Have a look at this article in the Times following the gap year of the Tims family: