I guess it depends on why you would like to take a gap year. You mentioned student debt and saving after graduating from college, and choosing between a lower paying job at home or a higher paying job in a bigger city. Do you want to take a gap year just to take a pause and re-calibrate, perhaps also deciding where to go next? Or do you wish to be closer to your family after being away from them during college?
If money is not a concern, I'd say do whatever you find fulfilling/want to some experience in, be it volunteering, travel, or work in a different field that what you think you would pursue as a career. But if money is a concern, keep in mind that you can work and make some money, and still make time for things ideally you would want to do if money were not a concern. A lot of time things are not black/white, and you don't have to go in knowing where you are headed either.
I personally did not take a gap year, charging through towards my goal. But looking back, it would be helpful to take a pause perhaps.
Also, depending on what type of loans you have, you might not even have to start repaying them until you start making money.
Yakun recommends the following next steps:
- find organizations and opportunities that interest you in different geographic areas
- reach out to folks in those places and get their input on how to implement