May 29, 2018

Imagine, by Elizabeth Martin

Tomorrow I leave Italy after living here for over a month. While I spent several years imagining I might take such a trip as this, I thought it was truly imaginary. That is until I read this article “Taking a Gap Year Later in the Game” in the New York Times on 7/16/17. It caused me to sit straight up and think that’s what I’ve been looking for, “the how-to-travel-the-world” guide.
Her name is Holly Bull and her company is Center for Interim Programs. Her father started this company in 1980 for young adults to experience the world through “gap year” programs. What I learned last July is that Center for Interim Programs also works with adults like me! People who want to live and work in foreign countries, volunteer abroad, help conduct important research, get certifications, learn, write…pretty much if you can dream it, Holly and her team can connect you with a program that is the perfect fit for your dreams, or your kids!
First, you complete an interest inventory, then you schedule a 90-minute Skype call where you talk about ideas with a gap year counselor. I could hardly breathe while talking to Holly as I felt she was unwrapping the most beautiful gift I had ever seen.

Imagine helping baby sea turtles get to the ocean while in Greece. Or assisting in marine biology research of the dying coral reefs. Yoga certification in the Caribbean? Writing workshops in the US? Name a country and Interim most likely has a connection.
Holly connected me to this option in Italy out of kindness when my life was changing so quickly.
I have walked goats, watered plants, hung laundry out to dry in the warm sun. I’ve seen tortellini made, chocolate poured, bread baked, gondolas steered, hay baled, lace tatted, glass vases blown into life.
I’ve received gifts of time, talent, and shared resources from so many people, from Holly, Clark, and Chiara, to Dale, Roland, and Ricardo. I’ve heard divine music played on the piano (as well as silly tunes), I’ve had a yoga instructor and former ballet dancer guide me through yoga and I’ve learned tips and techniques to cook authentic Italian food from Chiara.
One of my fondest memories will be singing Imagine along with Ricardo on the piano and 10 of my new German yoga friends to Imagine by John Lennon.
I hope to pay all these gifts forward by sharing with you what I’ve seen, experienced and learned in the hopes you will be inspired to contact Holly and learn more about the opportunities that can be customized for you.
I’m now off to another adventure that my friend Melanie planned for us that includes Prague, Vienna, and Budapest. I feel so blessed and can’t wait for the next part of the adventure.
“Imagine all the people, living for today. You can say I am a believer, but I’m not the only one.”

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