In gap year, student blogs about worldwide travels

By Anna Ferkingstad, Contributing Writer

By Anna Ferkingstad

As students from around the world return to Washington Square for another year of classes, one NYU student decided to do the opposite and leave the square for a gap year. 

Gallatin sophomore Morgan Noll is taking time off from school to travel the world on her own, chronicling her adventures on her blog, Mapped by Morgan, as she goes. An interest in travel writing and a trip to a hostel in Montreal inspired her to take on a seven-month journey to explore Europe, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand. 

“[This trip] is something I’ve always wanted to do,” Noll said. “I regretted not taking a gap year before college. I was also feeling like I needed some time to think more seriously about what exactly I wanted out of school and life before continuing my studies.” 

From cheesemaking in the Pyrenees to navigating transportation in Ireland, Noll recounts her experiences through pictures and stories on her blog which recently received the Liebster Blogger Award, an award created by bloggers to identify and acknowledge new members of the community. 

Noll began her studies at NYU in the fall of 2013 but did not know that she wanted to travel abroad until the following May. With quick planning and a decision to use her high school Advanced Placement credits to make up for the semester she would be missing, Noll departed for Europe less than a month later.

However, as Noll discovered when her wallet was recently stolen in Paris, there are pitfalls abound when traveling abroad alone. 

“I have no sense of direction, and I get lost almost every day,” Noll said. “It’s also difficult being away from all my close friends for so long, especially now when everyone is heading back to school together and I’m not.” 

Although she has encountered some challenges, Noll has not stopped taking full advantage of her trip.

“Each day is full of new experiences and discoveries,” she said.

Noll is currently in Amsterdam but will soon be departing for Italy. She plans to spend three to four weeks in Italy. Then she will spend a couple of months in Southeast Asia. So far, Amsterdam, the Pyrenees, and Espechede, France have been her favorite places that she has visited. 

Noll will resume her full-time studies at NYU in January. However, she is already saving up for future travels. She encourages anyone interested in taking a gap year or spending time abroad to submerge themselves in the world of travel blogs and just go for it.

“Travel is an education,” Noll said. “Learning about something at home does not compare to experiencing something firsthand.”

 A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Sept. 2 print edition.  Email Anna Ferkingstad at [email protected]