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Tazlima
11-26-2013, 01:01 AM
I know it's a tradition for many Australians to take a break during young adulthood (usually immediately after completing high school or college). They take six months or a year and travel the world before settling down to the serious business of adulthood.

Is there a specific term for this practice?

Are there other cultures with similar traditions? The closest I've been able to find is the Amish "rumspringa." However, the Rumspringa refers more to a period of adolescent rebellion and does not necessarily include an element of travel (although it can).

I'm looking for cultural traditions that specifically involves leaving your home and family to go explore the world for an extended period of time as a rite of passage or as an expected element in one's lifespan.

mccardey
11-26-2013, 01:08 AM
In Australia it's called the gap year and I think it only pertains to education. I suspect if you're not going to go on to Uni, you don't have the luxury of a gap year - you're already working. ;) It's not quite the same thing as rumspringa, though. It's just a gap between finishing twelve years of education and starting the next three or four years of University. A lot of kids move out of home, get a job in a pub or shop: a lot of kids go travelling and work overseas as required.

It's a bit of a rite of passage. I think we pinched the idea from the Brits - they were always coming down here for their gap year and having fun. We couldn't let that go unchallenged...

ETA: In many of the Aboriginal communities, it was traditional for the young men to leave their families and go alone into the bush to hunt and survive on their own as a part of their initiation rites. That might be more the kind of thing you're thinking of?

Fenika
11-26-2013, 01:12 AM
In the hostels of New Zealand I've always heard it called an OE. That's Overseas Experience. Showers are apparently optional ;) (Actually, they were usually better groomed than I was, heh)

Tazlima
11-26-2013, 02:40 AM
ETA: In many of the Aboriginal communities, it was traditional for the young men to leave their families and go alone into the bush to hunt and survive on their own as a part of their initiation rites. That might be more the kind of thing you're thinking of?

This might apply as well, although the gap (or OE) is the closest thing I've found to what I'm thinking of. How long does the initiation generally last? Are we talking days or weeks or months? Also, is it meant to be strictly a way to learn about the world and rely on oneself, or is it meant to be a spiritual journey as well? I'm looking for traditions that are more the former than the latter. I'm also excluding pilgrimages from the list, because they usually have a particular destination in mind.

I'm looking more for a "break" from life, where the crucial element isn't any particular destination, but the trip itself. A period during which you're free from making serious decisions and can simply experience life for yourself.

The gap (or o/e) is the only example I've been able to think of.

mccardey
11-26-2013, 02:48 AM
I'm looking more for a "break" from life, where the crucial element isn't any particular destination, but the trip itself. A period during which you're free from making serious decisions and can simply experience life for yourself.

The gap (or o/e) is the only example I've been able to think of.

The gap year is often (but not always) about the trip - but there's honestly not much of a break involved. The students still have contact with everyone they've been growing up with. It's really mostly a chance to experience a wider life than school.

re: the aboriginal experience, I'm not qualified to answer to that - it's all secret men's business, plus I'm not Aboriginal. But I could point you toward some reading or some resources if that would help? PM me.

Tazlima
11-28-2013, 08:40 PM
The gap year is often (but not always) about the trip - but there's honestly not much of a break involved. The students still have contact with everyone they've been growing up with. It's really mostly a chance to experience a wider life than school.

re: the aboriginal experience, I'm not qualified to answer to that - it's all secret men's business, plus I'm not Aboriginal. But I could point you toward some reading or some resources if that would help? PM me.

I've been doing some research on this question. It's not quite what I had in mind (which is a shame, because I'm now totally in love with the idea of songlines. Unfortunately they wouldn't apply in my story at all).

Thank you for your help!

mirandashell
11-28-2013, 08:48 PM
In Britain, the gap year usually involves doing the Backpack Trail through Sri Lanka and what not. Or South America.

Kaarl
12-01-2013, 02:39 AM
It's called an OE (Overseas Experience). I saw a mention of Aborigine tradition and the English / aussie term for this is going or gone walkabouts.

Not sure what it would be in their language (and there are variations between the groups)

mccardey
12-01-2013, 02:52 AM
It's called an OE (Overseas Experience). I saw a mention of Aborigine tradition and the English / aussie term for this is going or gone walkabouts.

Not sure what it would be in their language (and there are variations between the groups)

But be careful with "going walkabout". It's one of those expressions that are in flux at the moment because of all the historical baggage. It's alright for Aboriginal people to use it amongst themselves, but probably a bit loaded with negative codes for non-Aboriginals to use it nowadays. And it is (currently) not at all cool for a non-Aboriginal person to use it about Aboriginal people. There are too many casually racist assumptions tied up with it.

(Just a heads-up ;) )