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Gillian standing in front of a waterfall set into a large mountain

Gillian Scholes - Travelling Intern

By Gillian Scholes

Last updated: 26th September 2011

Hi, so this is my first blog for Gap 360, which is probably the best opportunity to introduce myself. I grew up in Lingfield and attended Notre Dame School. After that I decided to explore the world before Uni and take a gap year, but instead of travelling around I worked; firstly as a Nanny in North Carolina, USA and then went on to do a Ski season in Austria where I became an instructor. I then went on to study Business and Marketing Management at Oxford Brookes University, graduating this summer in 2011. Like most graduates I had no clue what I wanted to do next and did not feel like I was ready to take on a full time job in the UK. Also the employment opportunities were limited and I felt I had to explore the world a little more, with so much out there to see. This is when I entered Gap 360’s competition for a free gap year, after my mum saw the advert in The East Grinstead Observer newspaper. I was pretty sure I would not win this once in a life time opportunity, however when they told me I was chosen to travel around the East Coast of Australia for 5 weeks I could not believe it. Having only done a bit of travelling before I was nervous to be going alone but also excited thinking about the amazing experiences I was going to have.

So what will I be doing? I start in Sydney on the 3rd October, staying at Wake-Up hostel. For my first week, Gap 360 have enrolled me into a Sydney introduction programme where I will meet other travellers, tour around the city and trek to the Blue Mountains, including my first ever surf lesson; I plan to be a pro by the end!!! I then leave Sydney and continue my surfing efforts with a course of lessons making my way to Byron Bay. From there it’s onto a Ranch, doing as the outback cowboys do by means of tractor driving and horse riding – taking me out of my comfort zone. My next adventure takes me to Airlie Beach with three days sailing around the Whitsunday Islands, where I’ve been told there is a chance to really chill out, go snorkelling and take in the breath taking sunsets. Finally, I carry on north to Cairns to go Scuba diving and see the Great Barrier Reef. This is where I sadly end my trip, having hopefully made lots of friends and some unforgettable memories to take home with me.

I will be blogging throughout my travels and uploading photos, which will hopefully give you a good insight in to what it’s like to travel alone, the places I come across and what I get up to travelling the Oz east coast thanks to Gap 360’s planning.

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