So, you are finally done with school or university and you’re thinking about taking a gap year. There are so many options available to you, but one thing you might not have thought about is using your gap year to discover the magical underwater world of scuba diving.
There are many reasons why this decision will change your life.
Here are the top 10 reasons why you should do it!
1) Travelling to New Exotic Places
There are many places all over the world where you are able to scuba dive. The most logical choice for me was somewhere tropical and exotic. An island paradise like Koh Tao sets the perfect scene for your gap year.
Situated in the Gulf of Thailand, it is a small island that thrives around the diving industry.
Koh Tao is also the cheapest place in the world to ‘get your PADI‘ and become a certified scuba diver as well as providing easy diving conditions to build your confidence and improve your scuba skills.
2) Meet New People – Join The Subculture
Do you enjoy meeting new and interesting people from all over the world? Diving has the ability to bring all kinds of people together because they all share the same passion!
You will have the opportunity to literally submerge yourself in a new culture.
3) Keep Your Mind Active
You might need a break from studying, but you also don’t want to let your brain turn to mush during your gap year. This is a way to learn and have fun. With each course you complete, from the entry level Open water course, all the way up to the first level of becoming a diving professional with the PADI Divemaster course, you will have new things to learn.
Every diving course comprises of some theory and knowledge reviews, which you then put into practise when you learn new skills.
4) Learn New Skills
Discovering the dive industry allows you to learn new skills that will benefit you both in diving and in life. These skills will benefit you for future employment e.g. people skills, flexibility, time management, team work, communication skills and more.
You will also learn skills like navigation, knot tying, CPR and first aid, rescue skills, and some of the logistics of what goes in to running a dive centre. As you develop as a diver you will build confidence in all these newly acquired skills.
5) Diving is a Form of Meditation
Diving is a way to leave all your stress and worries at the surface and become one with the calm serenity of the ocean. There are no distractions. You have time for self-reflection and meditation. Diving has a way of calming your chaotic mind and gives you time to recharge your soul.
6) Diving is a Hobby that can Become a Jobby!
If diving becomes something that you love, there is a way to make a career change and become a professional. The first level of becoming a PADI professional is the Divemaster course. As a certified divemaster, you have the ability to start earning money doing something you love.
If you wanted to take it one step further, you could become a PADI Instructor, which would allow you to start teaching other people how to dive and appreciate this incredible sport.
Having a qualification like this opens up so many opportunities for you worldwide, as PADI is internationally recognised. So why not travel the globe diving and teaching others to dive?
7) Learning A New Language
People from all over the world can come together and. Why? The signals that we use underwater are understood by people of any language. You will quickly become familiar with many signals that are used on every dive, but you will also become creative and invent some new signals, and before you know it, you and your friends will be capable of having underwater conversations using hand signals. This brings a new level of enjoyment to a dive, as you are able to share your thoughts and experiences with your dive buddy.
8) Protecting The Ocean
When you scuba dive, you find will soon become an advocate for environmental issues that are affecting our oceans. There is a non profit organization call Project Aware, which does amazing things to protect and conserve the environment.
Crystal Dive Koh Tao is a very eco-aware dive school and Eco Koh Tao is closely associated with Crystal. We do regular beach and dive site clean ups to preserve our dive sites for future generations of divers.
9) A Weightless Experience
Speak to any scuba diver and they will tell you the best feeling in the world is the weightless feeling when you are neutrally buoyant and you can effortlessly glide over coral, and swim alongside a beautiful array of fish. As you master your buoyancy and breathe control, you will become confident hovering in different positions so you will be able to take amazing underwater photographs, or be able to look under rocks or coral without touching anything.
10) Something You Can Do Your Whole Life
Scuba diving is something you can continue to do throughout your life. You can plan vacations all over the world and dive in all different environments. You can learn to dive at altitude, dry suit diving in cold environments, new adventures like the Annual Sardine Run in South Africa or discover new shipwrecks like the Thistlegorm in Egypt or the Yongala in Queensland Australia.
It was a very easy decision for me to make. I absolutely love the lifestyle that comes with being a PADI Instructor on a tropical island. Sharing a cold beer as we watch the sunset over the ocean, with friends that have become more like family.
And number 11, which will be the subject of my next blog….
Koh Tao – A tropical island experience you will remember for a life time!
Author: Heather Nicholson (PADI DM #370231)