How easy is it to have a gap year?

(I know I've made a plenty number of generalisations in this blog post, but I hope most of you won't take it as offence. This article is meant to inform, not offend.)

According to Wikipedia, "gap year" is defined as:

an extended break that some people take at a life transition, such as between studies, between study and work, or between careers

which means that this kind of 'year out' is mostly taken soon after one graduates from college.

If any of you in America or Europe are to ask most of us Asians who live in Indonesia, Thailand, or Philippines, here I tell you:

Travelling to foreign countries is still a hard-earned luxury for most of us in third-world countries.

You know, I once chatted in Gtalk with a well-known expatriate blogger in Indonesia (I hope he doesn't relate to this when he reads this post, because I know he will) who suggested that in between my school year and my upcoming four years in college, I should take a gap year by travelling around the world.

As if it's that easy!!

Here I tell you:

People in western countries/developed countries always have it so easy in booking plane tickets; they're cheap and readily available for booking at any given time. Sometimes taking a plane from London to New York is not much a hassle than taking a bus from Berlin to Paris.

While for most of us in developing countries, it could take seven days of ticket-booking in advance in order to travel from Jakarta to Bangkok, for example.

This is the problem with people in developed countries: they think hopping from one country to the next is that cheap.

I once talked with my Singapore school cook who told me that he just went to Melbourne for his June holidays. No wonder it sounds so easy for them, they have a standard of living which is too high!

On the other hand, the kind of people in developing countries like Indonesia and Philippines who go to Melbourne for their June holidays are the top executives and managerial kind of people; i.e those who have achieved high status in life.

So the next time you want to suggest travelling around the world, make sure you know what kind of person you are talking to. Westerners can easily hop from Brazil to Cambodia with their easily-earned dollars, while it is still largely uncommon for an Indonesian or Vietnamese to hop between the same places.

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