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3 Gap Year Ideas For Nature Lovers

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Lauren Topor
Written by Lauren Topor

You don’t have to travel across the world to take your own gap year. Here are a few ideas to inspire your gap year adventure.

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You don’t have to travel across the world to take your own gap year. Here are a few ideas to inspire your gap year adventure.


Generally taken between high school and college or following college before setting out on your own, gap years became popular in the 1970s in the U.K., according to the American Gap Association. For many, this time is used to strengthen practical, personal and professional awareness. And oftentimes, people taking a gap year set out on adventures across the globe, from hiking the Himalayas to kayaking down the Mississippi.

Now you don’t have to travel across the world to take your own gap year. Here are a few ideas to inspire your gap year adventure.

Backpack Through a National Park

Some of the best backcountry hikes in the United States can be found in the National Parks. From Alaska to Oregon and from Utah to Tennessee, our country offers a wide-range of National Parks to choose from, all which offer something very different and unique. Sequoia Kings National Park in California has more than 800 miles of maintained trails that wind through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Spending time out on the trail will give you the chance to find peace and solitude while exploring some of the most beautiful natural places in America. Keep in mind you will have to plan out your hiking route and plan ahead to reserve your backcountry camping spots.

Travel by Train from Coast to Coast

Traveling by train is a popular and efficient way to see the United States. Vacations by Rail offers a trip that starts in New York City and ends in San Francisco. The trip is only six days long, but you can opt to make your own travel plans and spend time in the cities of your choice if you’re thinking about taking a longer trip, in true gap-year fashion. However, the six-day trek is great for eager travelers who are strapped for time but want to see some of the most picturesque landscapes by rail, without getting too immersed in nature. Of course, many solo travelers will want to bring along their favorite device to get a little work done and communicate with friends and family back home. Lenovo ThinkPads are ultra-portable and durable, which makes them a solid option for solo travelers trying to pack light. The lightweight laptops even offer about 20 hours of battery life, so you don’t have to worry about finding an outlet to get a charge.

Work During the Ski Season at a Canadian Resort

Some of the best skiing conditions are half a world away in Austria, Switzerland and France. And although these locations are famous for their snow-covered peaks, our neighbor to the north, Canada, has a handful of popular resorts, too. Taking your gap year and traveling to Canada to work at a ski resort can be a great way to earn money and do something you love every day. Check out Whistler ski resort in British Columbia. Some common jobs include ski instructors, cooks or ski chalet workers, along with many jobs available at the base village. All you need is your passport, your ski equipment and plenty of winter clothes to get you through the season. This is also a great way to meet a lot of new friends and make lasting memories that you will cherish forever.

Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life – Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.™ Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the above article. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.

1. What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?

That we have to all appreciate the little things and to not take anything for granted.

2. What have you learn to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?

I’m blessed to have loving family and friends in my life.

3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What makes YOU most proud? What goals and dreams do you still have?

Graduating from Arizona State University in 2013. 

Travel more and always learn from new experiences. Maybe one day I’ll even write a book about it. One day…

 4. We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth—we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? What imperfections and quirks create who you are—your Identity?

Nobody’s perfect and it’s been hard to accept it. I’ve learned to embrace my curly hair, my curves and my quirky personality.

5. “I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!) Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”

I love my unwavering intensity. Everything I do is 100 percent.

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About the author

Lauren Topor

Lauren Topor

Lauren Topor is a lifestyle writer based in the Southwest who spends her days writing about food and health, fashion, fitness and entertainment.