The gap year is a familiar concept. Soon out of school or university, young teenagers with few responsibilities and even less money jump on a plane and head abroad. They spend a year or two living in overcrowded share houses in London, drinking cheap beer most nights of the week and working in temp jobs or dead end bars. They spend their weekends in backpacker hostels in Berlin or Barcelona, drinking more cheap beer and attempting to tick a few landmarks off their list.
You might have done it, maybe your kids have done it.
This year, my parents are doing it.
Yes, my 60-something parents are on a gap year, or as we’re calling it, the ‘golden gap year’.
People fresh from travel are sometimes just a bit annoying, as Those Two Girls demonstrate. (Post continues after video.)
I’m not sure how it started. Maybe it was the realisation that some of their adult children were never going to leave the family home so maybe they should go first? Or perhaps the first-borns of the next generation gave them both mid-life crises and they decided they needed to live a little before accepting their fate as grandparents?
Whatever the catalyst, last year they packed their bags, bought a one-way ticket and jumped on a plane to London. Initially they told us they would be there for eight months. It’s now been 12 months and they are reluctantly considering when to book their tickets home. Maybe by Christmas, they say.
To be fair, they’re doing it slightly classier than their more youthful counterparts. They have a two-bedroom flat in a gated complex that they only share with the incredible number of visitors who have been taking advantage of the free London accommodation.
They have also picked up decent jobs. Mum is lucky enough to have a British passport so, with no restrictions, they found it easy to pick up part-time work in their chosen fields.
One thing they have in common with their younger counterparts is the travel. They’re currently in Portugal, a few weekends ago they visited Budapest and they spent Christmas in Vienna and the Canary Islands. Every weekend they can, they’re off to another destination, seeing all the exotic destinations that seem so far away from Australia.