October 5, 2019 Editor

Introducing The Gap Year Project: Joshua Rempel

photos above and below: Purcell Mountains wilderness hike August 2019, with Josh’s dad and his dad’s friend–Josh in foreground, bottom left.

WN: Joshua Rempel is our 18-year-old grandson who with help primarily from his dad Mark Northey, has chosen not to go directly to university after having graduated this year from Grade 12 in Abbotsford BC Canada. Instead, he invested significant time into developing a year-long plan of discovery: of himself and of the world around him.

In order to fund the year, he did a lot of planning, including development of a budget, a website, and of five core questions he hopes to consider over the following year.

We feel immensely proud of him–and have all along!–for taking a fairly courageous step of learning and discovery that no higher education institution can ever provide. And Josh’s take on wanting this to also benefit others is so in keeping with his personal integrity!

Enough though from me. Below is first of all a video he produced with a friend describing the project; and a description from his website, including how you may donate to his Gofundme campaign.

His Northey grandma and grandpa cry out: GO FOR IT JOSH!


The Gap Year Project is a year long journey to many parts of the world in which I, Josh Rempel, set out to determine if a gap year can really be a worthwhile experience for high school graduates such as myself. While travelling I have chosen five questions to reflect on, and plan to share what I learn as I go through continual blog posts and video updates on this website. My hope is that this journey may not only be a chance for me to grow, but a legitimate educational tool for others.

So what are you doing next year?

The (Rough) Plan:

This Year is all about flexibility, however there is a rough plan in place to guide my journey. My first flight leaves on October 20th, arriving in The Netherlands. After spending some time there, I will continue to explore Europe further before returning home for Christmas. After Christmas, I’ll head off to Asia, firstly arriving in Taiwan. Finally, in spring I will visit Africa, with Rwanda being my landing point. By remaining flexible in my schedule, I hope to leave myself open to volunteer or hosting opportunities that may come up as I go. With this trip I am trying to avoid the thoroughly planned and controlled touristy way of travel as much as possible, and rather strive to make meaningful connections with locals as I go. I’ve been told that this type of unplanned travel leads to greater personal growth and interesting experiences, so it’s time to find out for myself.

The Five Questions:

  1. Is a gap year really worth it?

    I hope to reflect on how other cultures may view the value of a gap year differently than my own.

  2. What is the purpose of higher education?

    Is university about setting yourself up for a future job, getting a degree, or self improvement in general?

  3. What can travel teach about careers?

    As I am fairly clueless in the area of careers, I hope to observe how people around the world make a living.

  4. Is the Western lifestyle an illusion?

    How does life in the West compare to less developed countries, and does luxury really lead to happiness?

  5. What is the meaning of life anyways?

    A lifelong question, surely worthy of reflection while exploring new places around the world.

But Why?

As I approached my high school graduation, discussion about what I was going to do “next year” soon became common. In Canadian culture, it is expected that those who do well in high school should immediately pursue a degree in University. As I considered this option, I realized that I simply felt ill equipped to make this large decision. I felt uncertain about what I wanted to do with my life, and hardly knew anything about careers or what the point of university even was. As I expressed my hesitation to friends and family, although I received some support I couldn’t help but notice a certain level of skepticism and surprise. This got me wondering whether taking a gap year was such a good idea after all, and whether other cultures around the world had different perspectives on the value of a gap year. With help from family, I worked on planning a year of travel around the world with one unified purpose: to find out for myself whether a gap year can really be worth it.


For more, please click on: Joshua Rempel: The Gap Year Project

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Wayne Northey was Director of Man-to-Man/Woman-to-Woman – Restorative Christian Ministries (M2/W2) in British Columbia, Canada from 1998 to 2014, when he retired. He has been active in the criminal justice arena and a keen promoter of Restorative Justice since 1974. He has published widely on peacemaking and justice themes. You will find more about that on this website: a work in progress.

Always appreciate constructive feedback! Thanks.