The book begins with the end of A levels and an eye-opening 'lads on tour' trip to Tenerife. It moves on to Tom's first experiences of paid work as a waiter at a chaotic restaurant. The reader is treated to the tramp living in the toilets, the boss on drugs, an accusation of theft and Christmas dinner for 160 people with the one Slovakian chef. Having earned enough money, Tom undertakes his first trip across the world and finds himself aboard a party bus of foreign backpackers and adrenaline junkies in New Zealand. The delights of zorbing, climbing through an underground waterfall in the pitch black and falling from the sky ensue. From there, it is on to Australia to take up a position as a teaching assistant. Alarmingly, Tom and his fellow gappie are given command of an army store under the uncompromising eye of a colourful Vietnam veteran. Sent off on the school's five week beach camp, and with no prior experience, Tom is put in charge of sailing activities. General mayhem follows, including tipping boats, screaming children and frequent visits into the shark-infested waters.
Bungy-jumping, snorkelling on the Barrier Reef, being attacked by leeches in the rainforest and an embarrassing cock-up in Bali lead, finally, to an emotional reunion with his family. Throughout, this book aims to bring alive the ups and downs of the gap-year experience.