Animal lover 79-year-old Eric Wellard travelled to South Africa to live and work with lion cubs. He's returning next year.
"I was visiting family in Australia and saw an in-flight magazine ad about volunteering with lion cubs in South Africa. The company was actually quite near my house, and I arranged the trip immediately. I've always been an animal lover and since losing my wife four years ago, I've been to Canada to study polar bears and stayed on a raft in British Columbia studying grizzly bears.
"This project involved breeding lions to return to the wild - I saw rescued tigers, cheetahs and elephants, and illegally smuggled lemurs. We spent our days repairing fences and clearing out the lion enclosure, and bottle-feeding, cleaning and playing with baby lions. Another volunteer Maureen was the eldest lady on the project and I knew she wanted to do another project. I said I'd be happy to be a travelling companion and we're going back in March 2012."
Watch: massive wave created after underwater blast
Simon Reeve on why gap years shouldn't only be left to the 'gap yah' crew
Share your gap year pics with us on Facebook!
Find the best summer holiday deals with Ciao
Blog: Sarah Outen travels the globe with just a kayak and bike
Gap years probably do more to educate a youngster than 3 years of university. They're also cheaper.
As an ex-education officer, I'm appalled by the way my former colleagues have created unnecessary paper qualifications for almost every area of life. They market courses taught by presenters often with little understanding or experience of what they deliver, but employers insist on them due to fears about litigation. Jobs for the academics who should be retired!
Uni is fine if you're really passionate about the subject & know you'll definitely be working in that field, but only 1 in 5 graduates do. Far better to get experience by going off & doing something, then come back passionate & knowing what you want to do, or better still. run your own business.
some great pictures, stories, and memories here and I'm giving the travelling experience a massive thumbs up.
Definitely do it. It's a big world. Whatever you want to do is possible.
I started easy in Australia, then did Asia & S America when I had a bit more confidence and travelling experience. (but like exploring the UK too.... doesn't have to be far away)
most companies offer good employees sabatticals. You come back such a potentially better, employable person.
There are so many interesting people to meet. Now got great friends all over the world.
My personality and life outlook has changed positively.
Did my research beforehand but not a strict timetable.
Being a 30-something I really cherished all the moments, because I knew I could be sitting behind desk in UK during winter.
Enjoy yourself, have fun, keep open eyes and mind. I would do it all again tomorrow if time and money available. So many places to see.
How do you love to remember your holidays?
Thanks for being one of the first people to vote. Results will be available soon. Check for results
- Collecting lots of momentos and keeping them in a safe place
- Creating an online photo album and sharing with friends
- Keeping my personal digital photo collection to look back to
- Not really bothered about photos or momentos, the memories are in my head