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Our Gap Year in Southeast Asia

In October 2018 we went on a year-long journey. And we can say right away: it was the biggest and most beautiful adventure we have ever experienced! We traveled through Central and Southeast Asia and this trip has changed our minds completely! Not only about our lifestyle and conventional tourism but about the world in general.

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Now, after 10 months abroad, its time to resume everything again and we are very excited to share your story and experiences with you here.

Should we really take a year off and go traveling?

In the beginning, we talked about our plans, or rather what we want to do when we have finished our studies. Fortunately, we had the same prospect! We wanted to explore the world before we start our careers.

Our parents weren´t really happy when they heard about our plans. To go traveling instead of getting the next degree or finding a job was not necessarily what they expected from us.

But fortunately, we have families who support us in everything and so they also got confident with our idea of a gap-year.

Our motivation for taking a gap-year

Our motivation to travel was less the indecisiveness, but more the fear to miss a great opportunity to explore the world!

Well, we fixed our plan to leave Germany, after we would have finished our Bachelor’s degree at university.

But where should we go? The idea to travel to Asia began with Anni´s big dream to fly to the Philippines to encounter a whale shark in wildlife. Timo was immediately hooked (who doesn´t want to swim with a whale shark?!).

How we planned our gap-year

After we decided to fly to the Philippines, we have added a few more destinations!
We thought: if we are going to travel so far, then it should be worth it!

Thus decided to visit all countries around the Philippines to get to experience as many cultures, religions, landscapes and seas as possible! In the end, 2 weeks in the Philippines turned into almost a whole year in Southeast Asia, including India and Sri Lanka.

Only a month before our flight to India, we organized everything to be prepared for the trip. New passports, visits at doctors, medications and vaccinations and backpacking gear.

Our route through Southeast Asia

After the first countries, India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, we changed plans. Instead of going to Myanmar and Laos, we went to Cambodia and Vietnam first.

In Vietnam Anni became very ill, so we almost decided to go back to Germany. Luckily she got well soon and we decided to travel to the Philippines by the shortest route to not miss our original goal of swimming with a whale shark.

After two fantastic months in the Philippines and the encounter of 2 whale sharks in the wild we went on to Indonesia.

Singapore and Malaysia were the last countries for us in Southeast Asia, as we decided to go back home to Germany on July 2019.

Traveling as a couple

Some people asked us if we had ever doubted that we would be able to travel as a couple for so long (we had only been together for 1.5 years).

The answer is easy: No! Not at all!

Couple sitting on a handrail with beautful landscape in the background
Us sitting on a handrail in the North of Thailand.

Before we left Germany, we have spent nearly every single day together, so this was already familiar to us. Of course, being together 24/7 for one year is still something different. But we have always been convinced, that we will get along well with each other!

Free and unlimited

Sometimes our trip seemed quite spontaneous and not really well thought out, but this was exactly what we wanted: to be independent and unlimited in our choices and decisions for the first time in our lives!

For example, in the beginning of our trip, we just had the departure date, the first destination in India and a hotel for the first night. But throughout the entire trip, we have always decided on the go and never planned a lot in advance.

How we financed our trip

We both worked during our time at the university and therefore have saved some money. Additionally, our parents supported us in realizing our dreams and gave us additional financial support for the gap-year in Southeast Asia.

Time vs. money!

Although we had our savings and a supporting sponsoring of our parents, it still has been the issue of time vs. money.

For us, it was clear: the cheaper we travel, the longer our journey will be! This was the biggest motivation to stay as cheap as possible and also one reason why we decided to travel to relatively cheap countries which are close to each other.

Southeast Asia is a budget-travelers paradise for a good reason!

Can traveling be cheap?

Oh yes, it can!

All in all, we have spent less money, than we initially calculated.

This was possible, because for several reasons: we ate local food, drank no alcohol and stayed mostly in cheap apartments or hotels.

Was our gap-Year a good idea?

Definitely yes.

Can traveling change your mind?

This gap-year gave us freedom which caused a lot in our heads and we guess we achieved a better state of mind.

It´s a super cliche that traveling changes mind, but we can´t deny this happened to us. In these 10 months, we were able to think and act independently to different opinions, social habits, and other people´s needs.

What are the benefits of our gap-year?

During traveling we were able to figure out our personal values. Due to these values, we made big changes and decisions, which will determine our future life for sure.

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2 thoughts on “Our Gap Year in Southeast Asia”

  1. Pingback: Traveling in Sri Lanka: Top Sights, Itinerary & Things To Know - Anni and Timo

  2. Pingback: Backpacking in Sri Lanka: Travel-Tips & Experiences - Anni and Timo

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