A great post from China Youthology (link to source post below):
””In 2009, white- collar worker Xie Xie took a vacation in Tibet, and fell in love with an avid backpacker named CaiCai. They parted ways and returned to office jobs in Shanghai and Guangzhou, but soon after XieXie gave CaiCai a call. “Why don’t we both quit our jobs and take a gap year together?”
XieXie and CaiCai’s 10-month journey to 18 countries became a viral sensation on Weibo, their most popular post forwarded over 75,000 times.
‘Gap Year’, or taking a year off to travel, is fast becoming a cultural trend among Chinese youth. An increasing number of first- jobbers and uni grads are putting their careers aside for journeys to exotic places like Tibet and India. These trailblazers might not be a major segment now, but they do share tensions and aspirations with a broad audience avidly following their travel adventures on social media.
A big part of the attraction of a Gap Year is escaping the drudgery of working life for new and exciting experiences. But perhaps equally important is the act of choosing for yourself.
Many Chinese youth grow up complying with expectations of their parents, taught that success comes to those that follow. But with rising uncertainty Chinese youth crave the confidence to make their own decisions. The choice to take a gap year is a rite of passage to becoming a stronger individual, the challenges of independent travel helping equip youth to take care of themselves.
Beyond personal growth, many youth also aspire to social warmth and a positive impact on others. Gap Year travel is highly associated with volunteering.
Although taking a Gap Year comes with social risks, there are also rewards: travel stories can earn Chinese youth an audience of like- minded peers. That’s perhaps why Gap Year travelers skimp and save to stretch their travel for as long as possible, but invest in professional- grade cameras: stunning photos are very shareable social media assets.”
(via GAP YEAR TRAVEL: ON THE ROAD TO INDEPENDENCE)