Why and how you can take an adult gap year to help discover your true desires

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Taking a gap year is no longer just for school-leavers or recent graduates. A ‘grown-up’ gap year can help you work out what you want in life, at any time of life

Why and how you can take an adult gap year to help discover your true desires

I took my first gap year when I was 19, just after sixth form. I took my second in my late 20s following a messy break-up and being made redundant. My third? My husband and I are planning to sail around the Mediterranean to celebrate a big birthday. But I’m not a permanent student or living off a trust fund; I’m part of the steadily growing trend for ‘grown-up’ gap years.

Although there are no official figures for how many of us are now taking adult gap years, a quick Google reveals the explosion of travel companies aimed at older ‘gappers’. Social media is also filled with photos and updates from older generations taking a year off. Some of us have reached a natural break in our lives, like turning 30, 40, or 50, while others are discovering there’s more to life than the standard nine-to-five.

If you’ve ever thought about taking a life break, but are put off by the thought of travelling solo surrounded by amorous A-level students, then a grown-up gap year may be exactly what you need.

Why and how you can take an adult gap year to help discover your true desires

Why take an adult gap year?

There are many different reasons to take a gap year. “You might get itchy feet, or start wondering if there’s something else out there,” says Gemma Nixon, a life coach from Durham, who’s also taken three grown-up gap years. “You could be getting married and decide to take a longer honeymoon before you have children, or plan to take the children travelling while they’re still little.”

Your desire for a gap year could also take you by surprise. Gemma says: “You might develop a sense that you’re not 100% content in your life, but you’re not sure why.”

For me, my first gap year felt like a natural point at which I could take time off to backpack around South East Asia, but my second was more about helping me work out where I wanted to go next in life. “A gap year doesn’t have to ‘bookend’ parts of your life, but can offer new dimensions to it,” says Gemma.

This yearning to take a different path is inspiring more of us to make the break post-pandemic. “As people have gone back into shops and offices, they realise their ‘old’ life is no longer enough,” Gemma says. “Many loved spending so much time with their family, and want to enjoy more experiences together, or they’ve decided there’s more to life and now’s the time to enjoy it.”

Others may have planned for years to take a grown-up gap year. This could be after retirement, getting the all-clear after an illness, or to celebrate a milestone event, like a significant birthday or the children leaving home.

What to do during a grown-up gap year

A gap year isn’t limited to full moon parties in Thailand, or fruit-picking in Australia – although if that sounds appealing, go for it! You could use the opportunity to explore a new career, or put more time into a

6 films that will change your life, for the better

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Settle down with these thought-prompting films

6 films that will change your life, for the better

Films have the ability to change our lives. With stories that open up other experiences to us, and characters who navigate the forces that we also face in our own lives, the right film at the right time can be transformative.

Here, we’re rounding up six films that will change your life for the better. From surreal moments that invite us to take a step back to reflect on the world around us, to intimate character studies that can teach us about the choices that we make, open your mind with these options.

1. Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022)

Since its release, reviewers can’t stop talking about Everything Everywhere All at Once, and for good reason. When an interdimensional rupture unravels reality, Evelyn must fight bizarre threats from the multiverse. What might appear at first glance to be a larger-than-life surreal, action-packed thrill-ride, has some incredibly potent messages about family, love, and the lives we choose to live. You’ll laugh and cry in equal measure, and it might even prompt you to reflect on what truly matters in your own life.

2. Amélie (2001)

For anyone who has ever felt stuck on the sidelines, like you don’t quite fit in, and for the introverts quietly going about their lives, this film will make you feel seen like never before. Watch as Amélie makes the decision to fix other people’s lives – but her endeavour leads her to discover much more…

3. The Kings of Summer (2013)

There’s something truly special about coming-of-age films done right, and The Kings of Summer is exactly that. Three teenage boys decide to leave their dysfunctional families behind and live an isolated life in the woods. With plenty of laughs, and a careful look at the relationships we have with our families, this film is the perfect prompt for reflection on the things we’re all running from.

4. Swiss Army Man (2016)

A film like nothing else you’ve seen, with career-topping performances from Daniel Radcliffe and Paul Dano, Swiss Army Man follows Hank, as he's stranded on an island. He notices a body, which slowly starts to come to life as the two embark on a fantastical adventure. It’s surreal, moving, and sometimes uncomfortable, and it will have you questioning the reality each of us live in.

Content warning: This film contains references to suicide that some viewers may find distressing.

Friday Faves

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Hi friends! Happy Friday! I hope you’ve had a wonderful week. Ours was a bit of a whirlwind. We headed back from dance competition Nationals

(we stayed at the Scott, which has super cute decor and a pool that the girls LOVE)

straight into fun with friends who visited from Florida for the week,

straight into VEGAS, BABY.

The Pilot and I are hopping on a plane to meet up with our friends Betsy and Jeremy in one of our fave spots. If you have any new Vegas recs, please send them our way!! We will absolutely be shopping (a lot), gambling (a little), and eating all of the amazing Vegas food.

Caviar spread going down in 3….2….

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Find your sanctuary: how to escape the daily chaos and create your personal piece of paradise

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Whether it's a physical place, or a mental space, we all need somewhere to retreat and recover from the noise of the world

Find your sanctuary: how to escape the daily chaos and create your personal piece of paradise

Hello Happiful readers,

“If we could make our house a home, and then make it a sanctuary, I think we could truly find paradise on Earth.” – Alexandra Stoddard.

When I read this quote, I couldn’t help but think back to being a kid, and revelling in building blanket forts.

Mismatched quilts, various pillows ‘borrowed’ from any room that could spare them, and the dubious structural integrity meaning you might find the fabric roof resting on your head at any moment; it was thrilling, imperfect, and utterly personal. A cosy little cocoon to play, read, or daydream to your heart’s content.

Nowadays, it’s rare to take a walk through the woods without spotting a makeshift den. Remnants of a fun afternoon of adventure, which can set a little pang of longing in your heart to join the creativity.

As adults, we can take for granted the benefits that a safe space to call our own can bring.

Whether it’s a physical place to find some tranquillity, or a mental one to clear our minds of pressures, stresses, and endless to-do lists, we all deserve somewhere to switch off and find respite.

So, with that in mind, in issue 64 we’re homing-in on how we can create our own bubble, mentally and physically, to give us a breather from daily woes.

It’s time to recapture that magic of our youth, and create a sanctuary to retreat from the chaos of the world. Why not try our quiz on p44 to discover how to craft your own sweet escape?

It could be a kingdom of contentment as you reconnect with nature, like in our article on p53, or the comfort of retreating behind your own parametres of peace by setting healthy boundaries on p17.

Find your sanctuary: how to escape the daily chaos and create your personal piece of paradise

Plus, this print edition includes:

Fascinating features including self-compassion secrets, the ultimate mindset reset, the throwaway sayings we need to ditch, the grow-your-own revolution, and the world's most soothing imagery.

Creative life hacks from how to ask for emotional consent before you vent, to questions to reconnect with your career path, and tips to get grounded.

Professional insight from a range of experts on topics including work addiction, natural energy boosts, and support for new mums.

Spotlight on: relationships: closing the orgasm gap; how to set healthy boundaries; insight into the struggles faced by the LGBTQIA+ community; and print-exclusive guided journaling pages to nurture your personal connections.

Take a moment to consider your true needs. Knowing this little piece of paradise is there for you could be a great, untapped comfort in testing times.

You deserve to feel resilient, rejuvenated, and reborn. Your sanctuary aw

Chocolate Covered Pretzel Ice Cream

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Chocolate Covered Pretzel Ice Cream is the salty, chocolate sweetness that you just can’t stop at one bite. Heck, I have a hard time stopping at just one bowl!

Chocolate Covered Pretzel Ice Cream

Pretzel Ice Cream

Ice Cream is quite literally the dish of summer if I am in charge of choosing. It is easy to make and hits the spot on a hot day. Whether we are talking about a snack or dessert. It has milk so I would even call it breakfast.

Crunchy, sweet, chocolatey, and salty this homemade ice cream recipe checks all the boxes. By adding large pieces of pretzels at the end they keep their crunch and salty bits don’t dissolve for the perfect bite.

What I love about homemade ice cream with different mix-ins and combinations is that you get to control the flavor and quantity.

It is frustrating to buy a container of my favorite ice cream, only to find it with just crumbs of the mix-in or play hide and seek with a few chunks of cookie. Pieces of pretzel and swirls of chocolate stand out in this recipe.

We’re celebrating three weeks of new ice cream recipes this summer with a very cool ice cream maker giveaway! Enter to win the Cuisinart ICE-100 1.5-Quart Compressor Ice Cream Maker by CLICKING HERE and submitting your email. The giveaway ends July 8th, 2022.

The most popular question I get is whether it’s possible to make ice cream without a machine. The answer is YES. You can make ice cream without a machine. Find the full directions here!

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