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24 Gap-Year Experiences For Graduates

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Just because school's out doesn't mean the learning opportunities have to end. We believe travel is the best form of education, and a gap year abroad is our favorite kind of class (so to speak). Here are 24 experiences that go beyond the typical graduation trip.
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No matter where you are staying in the UAE, you can't leave without visiting the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. The mosque, the third-largest in the world, is the final resting place of Sheikh Zayed, the nation's founder. Even on the...
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Gleimstraße 55, 10437 Berlin, Germany
The name Mauer Park means Wall-Park, named after the former part of the Berlin wall, which can be found there. A 30m strip of the Berlin Wall still stands in the park today as a monument, and is a popular place for graffiti artists to paint and...
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Tarn Taran Sahib, Punjab 143401, India
Sikhs and non-Sikhs go to Amritsar for one reason – to see the Golden Temple (Hamandir Sahib) so, that is what I did on my most recent trip to India. Except, I went on Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday which is a national holiday in India and because of...
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Peru
The Inca Trail is perhaps the most famous trek in Peru. This is the road to Machu Picchu, an ancient route that leads from the Sacred Valley into the heart of the Andes. You must obtain a permit and hire an official guide in order to hike the Inca...
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160/1 Khaosan Rd, Khwaeng Talat Yot, Khet Phra Nakhon, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10200, Thailand
Began on the ever-bustling Khao San road and met my new travel mates. Traveled the back khlongs and canals of Bangkok, rode elephants in the jungle, lived with monks for a few days. Hung out and fed the tigers they raised from birth.Went on a...
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Göreme, 50180 Göreme Belediyesi/Nevşehir Merkez/Nevşehir, Turkey
A hot-air balloon flies over sun drenched 'fairy-chimneys' in Cappadocia. The Cappadocian landscape is full of interesting rock-formations, which are best seen from over-head in a hot-air balloon.
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Lake Atitlán, Guatemala
Getting to Lake Atitlan is no easy feat. After flying into Guat City, it's another 4 hours by bus to Panajachel. Then, if your'e staying on the lake, which I recommend, it's a short (and sometimes rocky) boat ride from there. But upon reaching the...
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Golden Ears, Fraser Valley F, BC V0M, Canada
This little trek is an easy jaunt away from Vancouver, British Columbia. Located in Golden Ears Provincial Park, a winding trail leads along a forested canyon before climbing steeply to Panorama ridge where this photo was taken. Some friends and I...
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Cleaverville WA 6714, Australia
On a drive through the Pilbra, from the town of Karratha to the local beach spot, Point Sampson we decided to turn off the North West Coastal Highway and checkout the turtle nesting beach in Cleaverville. After 30 minutes bobbing down a dirt road...
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San Pedro de Atacama, Antofagasta Region, Chile
San Pedro de Atacama is a beautiful adobe-esque town on the edge of Atacama Desert in Chile, just west of the Bolivian border. I took this photo in near by Valle De Luna, while I was mountain biking through a virtual moonscape of natural...
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Wiang Tai, Pai District, Mae Hong Son 58130, Thailand
Pai is an overlooked city in Thailand but is highly frequented by young backpackers, and is located 3 hours northwest of Chiang Mai. It has one of the most lively night markets, and a fun thing to do is purchase gas lanterns and release them into...
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Canoa, Ecuador
In the late afternoon every Friday, volunteers and students at Río Muchacho Organic Farm pile into the back of large, slow-moving trucks. They are then bounded along the bumpy, winding dirt road that leads roughly 10 miles southwest into the tiny...
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Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland, Canada should be on everyone's bucket list. It is spectacular in its natural beauty. This picture was taken from atop Mt. Gros Morne, which provides breathtaking views of the...
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When I think of India, words like color, life and vibrant....raw, open and warm.... come into my mind. From the perspective of a Westerner, India is beautiful chaos. Life opens up in Varanasi, India, along the banks of the Ganga. Arrive at sunrise...
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1 Nelly Bay Road, Magnetic Island QLD 4819, Australia
The sound of the ocean's waves lapping the shore greets you when you wake up at Base Backpackers Magnetic Island. As if that's not enough, this Australian hostel is located on Magnetic Island National Park, just a short ferry ride from Townsville,...
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Landmannalaugavegur, Iceland
At the beginning of a 4-day, 40-mile trek through the fringes of the Icelandic highlands, we saw these artistic masterpieces. Landmannalaugar. To me, they were the Rainbow Mountains. Majestic. Surreal. Hiking by this beautiful landscape seemed...
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Chapitre, 13001 Marseille, France
While living in Paris as an undergrad, I bought a train ticket to Marseille on a whim. It was a weekend trip, and I didn’t take anyone with me, nor meet anyone there -- no plans at all. The countryside passed in sweet silence on the 3-hour TGV...
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Historic District, Luang Prabang, Laos
You haven't done Asia until you've done a temple stay - so sayeth a snobby backpacker I once met. I hate to admit it, but that snobby backpacker was on to something; nothing replicates the experience of breaking bread with a monk, discussing the...
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Malwal, South Sudan
Malwal, is a rural village on the Ethiopia/South Sudan border. I learned upon arrival that the last white woman to come to this village was in 1984, so needless to say, myself and the other ladies in my travel group were something of a...
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Paharganj, New Delhi, Delhi, India
Known locally as the "Hippie Market," Paharganj has everything you need and plenty of surprises, too. Check out these stunning printing blocks in every size, style, and material. The proprietor of the shop, Mr. Jimmy, took us to his nearby...
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Machu Pichu, Peru
This month marks the hundred-year-anniversary of the "re-discovery" of this Inca citadel by Hiram Bingham. Machu Picchu deserves its clichés--'place of a lifetime,' 'bucket-list destination'...'mystical'...'amazing'... Sometimes, it's okay...
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Malapascua Island, Daanbantayan, Philippines
Malapascua, a tiny island in the Visayan Sea north of Cebu, is well-known for its thresher-shark cleaning station, where divers gather daily to see these beautiful creatures ascend from below to be cleaned by fish before returning to deeper...
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Nuwakot,, Trisuli 44900, Nepal
To experience Nepali life off the tourist trail, head to the one-lane town of Nuwakot, a four-hour bus ride northwest of the overcrowded alleys of Kathmandu and an easy detour on the way to the popular Langtang trek. Terraced rice paddies, pumpkin...
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Busy day and night, Khao San Road is a backpacker haven with a down-and-dirty image. But it has evolved into a bustling market and nightlife destination for trendy residents and travelers. By day, you’ll find it great for all things...