Financial access can be an obstacle when planning out your year, and we understand. However, "expensive" does not always equal "valuable." To give you an idea of what you might want to consider: here are a few examples of some awesome, self-funded gap years.

Sterling D

  • Led youth wilderness trips in Maine
  • Intensive bicycle repair school
  • Spent a week in the woods without seeing a single human
  • Peer led a youth trail maintenance crew for the Northwest Youth Corps
  • Biked alone from Oregon to Arizona, camping on public lands of the West
  • Survived off of acorns, fish, and wild edible plants in the Cache Creek wilderness of California
  • Worked at an off-grid cattle ranch in Argentina washing dishes and learning Spanish
  • Worked on a farm in Chile through Workaway
  • Joined an Argentine family on their month-long horseback cattle drive from the Andes to the winter grazing grounds
  • Found a job in a village of Chilean artisans and learned to turn a fresh goatskin into slippers
  • Taught hammock-making to dozens of youth at a wilderness summer camp
  • Started making and selling sandals from repurposed tires and leather

Jack G

  • July-August: Interned for Facebook, developed content for inspirED website
  • October-December: Interned for Brooklyn Nets, worked for the equipment manager
  • November: traveled around Vietnam, visited former VietCong and talked to Vietnam war veterans
  • January-July: teaching at Maru-a-Pula school in Gaborone, Botswana

Katerina P

  • September-November: Travelled and did work/stays in Greece, Italy, Switzerland, France
  • November-April: Worked at a local organic bakery, as a babysitter, and choreographing at my old high school
  • April-May: Traveled in to Prague, Athens, and New York to explore and visit family/friends
  • May-June: Worked reduced hours at the bakery and relaxed at home
  • July-August: Travelled through Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador