A 29-year-old business school graduate who turned his gap year into a 'gap life' explains why gap years are so important

AntarcticaAmar Hussain/Gap Year EscapeAmar Hussain of Gap Year Escape in Antarctica.

Amar Hussain took a gap year after graduating business school to a bleak job market.

Seven years later, he’s still on it.

What began as a blog to document his solo travels is now Gap Year Escape, an expansive go-to travel guide that Hussain curates as the editor-in-chief.

Having visited all seven continents in those seven years, he continues to encourage adventure seekers to find their escape through gap years and extended travel.

INSIDER caught up with Hussain via email while he was in London preparing for a trip to Sri Lanka, where he shared just why gap years can be so transformative.

Hussain graduated from business school in the middle of the recession, so he decided to hold off on looking for a job and do some exploring.

He planned on going to South East Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and around the US, and started Gap Year Escape at the suggestion of a friend, in order to document his travels.

'We sat in his kitchen eating feta (he's Greek) and came up with the blog name Gap Year Escape, and in less than an hour the blog was born,' he said.

After spending 'far too much money,' he ended up in Australia looking for work.

That's when Gap Year Escape took off.

Now, Hussain gets invited on press trips and works with companies such as surf camps, hostels, and adventure sports companies.

He also travelled to all seven continents in seven years.

'Through various trips I'd managed to go to six continents, and it seemed inevitable that I should visit the seventh,' he said.

To get to Antarctica, he started in Vancouver and worked his way down.

'More often than not people do a round-the-world trip, much like the one I did on my first gap year,' he said. 'I thought it would be a bit different to do a 'down-the-world' trip instead.'

'It was a pretty big undertaking, but it was all worth it when I jumped off that zodiac and planted my boots on the shore of Antarctica, and saw the place teeming with penguins.'

His gap year has become what he calls a 'gap life.'

'Gap years are supposed to end, but I was that passionate about the subject, enjoyed the lifestyle, and wanted to turn Gap Year Escape into a business, so I pursued it.'

He recommends that anyone who can take a gap year should.

'Taking a gap year gives you a much needed break from education and allows you to re-charge and re-focus, giving you a better and more rounded perspective on what you want to do,' he said.

Gap years can help smooth the transition into college life.

'Heading to university can also be an overwhelming experience for some, but a gap year will give you plenty of opportunity to push your comfort zones, making university life, if anything, seem easier to adapt to.'

They can also help with student loans.

'If you decide to work during your gap year, you will not only gain work experience but improve your finances, lessening the burden of college fees.'

They're not just for taking a break between high school and college, either.

'You could take a year after graduating, during your career, or even take a senior gap year, which is becoming increasingly popular,' he said.

'Regardless of when you go, taking a gap year has so many benefits.'

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