Dreamers set off to see the worldpearl river delta

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 11 October, 2011, 12:00am


'It's definitely worth taking a gap year to think about what you want from life and get to know yourself better,' says Xu Yating, who decided to postpone her university studies by a year to travel around the world. 'I don't have much to share yet as I began my trip only 20 days ago, but I know my choice is correct.'

Xu plans to spend eight months travelling through Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Thailand, then through India, Nepal and three provinces on the mainland - Tibet, Sichuan and Yunnan.

Nowadays, the idea of taking a gap year is becoming popular among university students in Guangzhou. Some even choose to travel by bicycle.

While young people may be excited about a year of travel, parents are not always sure that this is a good way for them to spend their time.

'Before setting out, it took me two months to persuade my parents! But in the end they understood this is what I want,' recalls Xu.

Many people would like to make a round-the-world tour at a young age. 'This dream has been with me since I read the works of Sanmao, the Taiwanese writer. I have long yearned for the vagrant life she described,' Xu says. 'Now I have the amazing opportunity to fulfil my wish and travel around the world. I want to look back in 40 years' time and say that I have no regrets.'

Mahone, a 23-year-old student, has already completed his gap year. He came back to university last year. 'One year's travelling helped me lose my childishness and grow up. I learned to be generous and to cherish everything around me, even a stray dog,' he says.