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 1960s: Where it all began
The origination of the 'Gap Year' concept came in the decade following the Second World War when youth travel and cultural exchange was discussed amongst Governments as a useful tool to create more of a global understanding to prevent future global wars. However, the first 'Gap Years' actually started in the UK in the 1960s when the baby-boomer generation in the midst of the 'Swinging sixties' headed off to India on the infamous Hippie trails, inventing the 'independent travel market'. And in 1967 Nicholas Maclean-Bristol set up Project Trust, an Educational Trust, and sent his first three students to Addis Ababa, inventing the Gap Year Volunteer Placements market. These have been the two key elements to the gap year market ever since - 'independent travel' and 'volunteer placements' [also known more recently as 'Voluntourism']. Work Travel (or 'Work & Travel') appeared as a third key element with the introduction of student work visas (or 'Working holiday visas') in the 1980s.
 1970s: the pioneers and the growth
The demand for what was essentially new 'Independent Travel' continued through into the 1970s and resulted in the pioneers of the independent travel market establishing businesses to satisfy this demand. Australian Graham 'Screw' Turner based in London in 1973 loaded a double decker bus with the first paying customers and drove them to Kathmandu. They arrived 3 weeks late. Top Deck Travel, the company he founded, still