What is a Gap Year?

A gap year is a structured period of time when students take a break from formal education to increase self-awareness, challenge comfort zones, and experiment with possible careers.  Typically these are achieved by a combination of traveling, volunteering, interning, or working. A gap year experience can last from two months up to two years and is taken between high school graduation and the Junior year of their higher degree.

voluntarytravelerThe Voluntary Traveler “is a travel anthology penned by writers from all over the world. Focused on inspiring volunteer vacations and/or encouraging adventure-minded people to see volunteer work as a part of ones longer journey, the book will also include a volunteer guide section, listing charities needing volunteer assistance, plus organizations that coordinate service orientated travel.”

What a great idea! Join their Facebook page, buy the book, tell your friends.

TweenTwelve tween and teen writers spent a week in New Orleans last summer, touring, eating, enjoying music, and participating in a writing and photography workshop. The resulting book (!) is now available on Amazon.

“The stories and photos that comprise New Orleans: A T(w)een Travelogue offer a rare look at the Crescent City through the savvy words and sassy eyes of 12 young women ranging in age from 11 to 14. Follow them through the narrow streets of the French Quarter as they spend eight days among tarot card readers, restaurant chefs, Mardi Gras floatmakers, street performers and vampire guides. The girls’ strong and varied voices celebrate New Orleans as a destination for t(w)eens, teens, and families of all ages. So, curl up with these stories and a steaming cup of café au lait. Before you know it, you’ll be making reservations for the entire family.”

Rita Golden Gelman’s Birth of a Movement blog chronicles the development of “Let’s Get Global,” a movement “whose mission is to encourage and assist youth in the United States to have international experiences, particularly during the year between high school and the next phase of their lives.” If you can help with writing, organizing, brainstorming, or fundraising, Let’s Get Global is looking for volunteers.

africa1I met Ethel Davies, a talented writer and photographer, in 2007 when we were both traveling in Tunisia and Libya. Ethel was working on Bradt‘s North Africa: The Roman Coast, which was released this year. In this interview, Ethel talks about her top ten favorite Roman sites in North Africa.

We visited four of those top ten (Leptis Magna, Sabratha, and Cyrene in Lybia; and El Djem in Tunisia) together, and I agree, they’re spectacular.

Editor’s Note: Here is an open letter from Rita Golden Gelman, whose goal is to “make the Gap Year experience of living in another culture, preferably in the developing world, an accepted and popular practice in the U.S., not just a luxury for the elite.”

I think this is a laudable goal, and would be an enormous help in bringing world peace through increased cross-cultural understanding. This is a long post, but please read it if you—or someone you know—could contribute in even the smallest way towards making it happen. You can reach Rita at

From Rita Golden Gelman:

The GOAL hasn’t changed: it’s to make the Gap Year experience of living in another culture, preferably in the developing world, an accepted and popular practice in the U.S., not just a luxury for the elite. I’m defining Gap Year as the year between high school … and college or work or vocational school.

HOW to reach that goal: There are two obvious routes (see below) but they both require a major PR campaign … nationally, locally, in every school and community in the country if we are going to reach every segment of the population … the urban poor, the rural communities, middle-America, the South, the Appalachians, the Pacific Northwest and everywhere in between.

I see as the first order of business of Global Learning a huge campaign to get out the message that a Gap Year is a great experience, that it will create more mature and motivated students and employees, that it will change perspectives, enrich the participants, enlighten the country, and produce a positive and friendlier opinion of the U.S. throughout the world.

Travel to Cuba!

February 23, 2009 | 2 Comments

From Christopher Baker on February 9, 2009:

Dear friends,

Last week a bipartisan bill (H.R. 874) was introduced into Congress that would lift travel restrictions to Cuba for all U.S. citizens and residents.

You can read all about this landmark legislation at my blog:

Meanwhile, I urge everyone to take individual action by asking your congressional representative to co-sponsor the bill. It’s simple to do and will take less than one minute of your time. Click here:

Let’s seize the moment together!

Christopher P. Baker

Lowell Thomas Award 2008 “Travel Journalist of the Year”

Press release: Context, the network of scholars who lead critically acclaimed walking tours in New York and several European cities, announce the launch of 2 ½- and 8-day packaged tours to Rome, Naples, Florence, Venice, London, Paris, Sicily and Istanbul. The first trips will run in April, 2009.

As with their daily walking seminars in cities around the world, Context will strictly limit group size on each trip to no more than six or eight people. Instead of relying on a single trip leader, Context will apply its model of scholar-led walking seminars to these packages: Groups will be passed from expert to expert throughout the trip depending on the specific site, museum, or topic in order to take advantage of the specialized, in-depth knowledge contained within the Context network.

  • Receive Travel Writers News updates via email

  • Upcoming Events

    March 2019
    M T W T F S S
  • Available in August, 2017

    I'm thrilled that it's getting rave reviews! Order your copy of Your Crocodile has Arrived from Book Passage, and I'll be happy to sign it.  
  • Winner of 4 Literary Awards in 2017

    Lost Kidnapped Eaten Alive!Order your copy of Lost, Kidnapped, Eaten Alive from Book Passage, and I'll be happy to sign it.
  • Get Occasional Updates

    You can also sign up for my personal Laurie McAndish King mailing list for occasional updates about readings and events.