Mind the gap


A GAP year isn’t just for young people, says 65-year-old author Chris Herrmann.

He wrote My Senior Gap Year and is encouraging people over 60 to take the challenge.

“Some people our age get stuck in the routine of life…They need to take a year off…step out of their comfort zone.”

Three years ago the Bicton local wasn’t thinking about a gap year, but the death of his wife of 40 years made him take stock.

Initially there were a hundred reasons not to step out of his life, Mr Hermmann says.

“The voice in my head said ‘What are you doing, what if you get sick or have a heart attack?’.”

Ignoring them he terminated his lease, sold the furniture and car, and with nothing more than a round-the-world ticket and a backpack headed into the unknown.

For 12 months Mr Hermmann travelled alone through Spain, South and Central America, and South East Asia with no accommodation pre-booked and no itinerary.

He experienced every form of transport, from a horse and cart to a five-star coach, and slept on the floor of a Buddhist temple and in the middle of a jungle.

“Some nights I shared a dorm with kids younger than my kids.”

Initial hesitation at climbing onto a top bunk gave way to  thinking “this isn’t bad”.

And exchanging travel stories earned the respect of his younger bunkmates.

“I lost count of the number of times young people said ‘you are a legend, my parents wouldn’t do this’.”

You can hear more about why a senior gap year is good for your mind and body at his talk at East Fremantle’s Glyde-In Community Learning Centre on Friday July 5, 9am. Tickets at glydein.org.au

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