Why it’s OK to have a (non)plan for a Gap Year

ImageIt’s here! Our Gap Year officially starts today, June 1, 2013.

Sam and I haven’t gotten very far with planning. (Except for two things, see below). The truth is that we’ve been so busy the past few weeks, we haven’t had time to sit down and articulate every dream that will come to fruition in the next 12 months.

And yes, we each have a list of dreams and Wanna Do’s.

This reminds me of the conversations I had many years ago with our three children. We encouraged each of them to take a Gap Year at age 18 before starting college. They were clear they wanted to take “time off” after a rigorous high school experience. But none of the three had a clear idea, initially, of what they would do.

As the “organizing parent,” I was a bit disconcerted by this. But I chalked their indecision up to being vague and adolescent.

Now it seems Sam and I are equally vague at age 61.

We’re 19 in the photo above. Cute, huh?!

Surprisingly, we’re feeling rather comfortable with our non-plan.

In fact, having a non-plan is part of our plan for this next year.

Instead, we’ve set a few ground rules:

  • We want to learn to live on a much smaller budget
  • We want to travel to places we haven’t been
  • We want to try new ways of working

A little bit about what we do: Sam is a physician and he just completed (yesterday!) 31 years of medical practice as a gastroenterologist in Washington DC. He’s highly knowledgeable and he’s passionate about health care reform. He’s not a blogger – yet. But you’ll be hearing much more from Sam soon. As soon as I can coax him into publishing his first blog post. Whoa… here’s his first post!

vm_logo_SMALL copy 2I’m the author of THE CORPORATE BLOGGING BOOK. I’m a speaker, a book coach and an eBook publisher helping up-and-coming business authors take advantage of the publishing revolution. My company, Voxie Media, is starting to take off. As a location-independent enterprise, Voxie Media will continue during this Gap Year.

In addition to a non-plan, we have some shared values.

We really do want to make the world a better place – for our children, our grandchildren and many others.

ile de la citeWe believe that less… can be more. That means a smaller house, a much smaller budget and living in a less expensive city. And we believe that a guiding principle should be “Yes, and… ”

So, no, we don’t have a perfect plan laid out for the next 12 months. We’ll figure it out as we go along. Finances will dictate some of what we can or can’t do. We will disagree about a whole bunch of stuff. That’s the “No, but… ” part.

But we’re confident that “Yes, and… ” will help us to THINK BIGGER and have the adventure of a lifetime.

World Domination Summit and Paris!

First up, we’re both going to Chris Guillebeau‘s World Domination Summit in Portland, OR so we can learn to hack travel and other useful skills for a low-budget Gap Year.

Then Paris for five weeks in November and December. w00t!  We’ll be living in an apartment on the Ile de la Cité. Deets to come.

11 Responses to Why it’s OK to have a (non)plan for a Gap Year

  1. David Rich June 1, 2013 at 11:40 am #


    Congratulations…so excited for you! So many places to go in the USA and throughout the world. We have found Europe to have a treasure chest of places. Note my post on our decision to move abroad: http://davidjrich.com/barcelona-here-we-come.html

    Unfortunately we are coming to an end of our year….can’t wait to do it again. My wife has been blogging about the experience: http://bonanova.tumblr.com/


    • Debbie June 1, 2013 at 10:53 pm #

      Your wife’s blog is FANTASTIC! She should turn it into a book.

  2. Debbie June 1, 2013 at 11:56 am #

    Thanks David. Can’t wait to read your blogs. Why not keep going… ?!

  3. nataliegtcurrie June 1, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

    Congratulations Debbie. I’ll love to hear more about your experience when I see you at WDS!

    • Debbie June 1, 2013 at 10:52 pm #

      Natalie, look forward to meeting you!

  4. kiwiduck June 26, 2013 at 11:59 am #

    Wonderful Debbie – this sounds awesome. Can’t wait to meet you at WDS and hear more.

  5. kiwiduck June 26, 2013 at 11:59 am #

    Hmmm – that was from Vicky!


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