My daughter had lost several young male friends to suicide when she was 15 and as a teacher, I was concerned about the stress of academic success or failure that students were experiencing.
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A book about spreading your wings through travel and adventure is helping New Zealand college students in their final years of study.
Gaylyn Morgan's book Backpacker's Practical and Spiritual Guide to the Universe, released at the end of last year, is finding its way into schools across the country for students weighing up their options after secondary study.
The book, written about the ins and outs of international travel, is an advice-focused publication with chapters covering packing, eating, safety, and saving.
"Social workers and teachers are interested in the book because it gives an optimistic insight to the future," said Gaylyn, who grew up in Whangarei before moving to Queensland, Australia, for the majority of her life.
Now, the secondary school teacher is back travelling her homeland to promote the self-published book.
"I initially wrote it out of concern for the mental health of our youth.
"My daughter had lost several young male friends to suicide when she was 15 and as a teacher, I was concerned about the stress of academic success or failure that students were experiencing.
"As I was travelling, I thought it'd be great if these young people could just see how amazing this world really is, and how many options are out there for them."
The book also reflects her own personal growth.
In her 40s and having left an unhappy marriage, Gaylyn finally gave in to her lifelong desire to travel and found work crewing a yacht to Malta, south of Italy.
During her expedition, she met the yacht's owner and now-husband Thomas, who she lives and travels the world with on a boat, sharing a combined love of people, hiking, scenery and adventure.
The book, which is "a treasure trove of practical hints cushioned in a type of spiritualism", has two main components.
The practical side includes tips about budgeting, choosing companions or travelling alone, shopping and cooking economically, accommodation choices, booking inexpensive flight tickets and how to join families or boats along the way for cultural experiences.
The spiritual side, according to Gaylyn, is about being optimistic and in charge of your own life.
"It describes how you can discover your true self through travelling and by working out what you love and don't like.
"It includes some weird and wonderful stories and tips about how to relax and take charge of how you respond to stimulus, such as missing flights or travel plans not working out."
Including bullet points and sections for notetaking, the book is available to hire from the Waikanae Library, and is for sale through e-books and Fishpond.
According to Gaylyn, there had never been a better time to travel, with the internet providing an opportunity to be spontaneous and stay connected.
"I can't believe some of the amazing young people I've met who are travelling like me.
"You can just tell that they're getting it all together and working out what they really want out of life.
"Travelling opens their minds."
She said a gap year was not only for the younger generation, however.
"Before I'd travelled, I didn't see the options - I didn't know the options.
"People of all ages need to create a gap sometime in their lives so they're able to have a life review, let the creative juices flow and create a peaceful space."
¦ To have Gaylyn speak with your school, group or organisation, contact her on 021 185 9086 or email firstname.lastname@example.org