Another year is now behind us and I’m so happy that I created this blog — it’s helped me better focus on what I love love love about traveling and has brought me so much inspiration. No matter what anyone might say, travel is something you must make great strides towards if you want it to be a significant part of your life. But we can all aspire to be better travelers, so here are 6 travel resolutions to motive as we march into the new year.
Please share your resolutions too! I get so much inspiration from other travelers, and anyone who reads your comment might too.
My favorite region has always been Asia. I convinced two of my travel companions to jump put the window on the Great Wall of China so we could go hiking!
- Branch out of your favorite region!
If you’re anything like me, you have a region of the world you really favor. I’m a big fan of Asia (see my 12 trips to the Philippines and summer 2016 plans..) but one of the major benefits of travel is learning how to break out of your comfort zone and seeing the world with fresh eyes. So in the coming year don’t go the easy route — aspire for greater, more challenging horizons!
- Carry a power multiplier!
I’ve lamented a few times about the electrical outlet and adaptor struggle in past posts… and the people who do this are like airport / hostel Bodhisattvas. Aspire to bring a little light and happiness into lives of your fellow globetrotters stuck crowded around the one (usually awkwardly placed) electrical outlet by carrying a power multiplier with you. It’s fairly affordable, usually ~$15, and chances are you’ll make a friend in the process.
- Travel A Little More Green
Something that’s not spoken about enough in the travel community is the massive impact that travel takes on the environment. Maybe we just don’t want to admit that our lifestyle can have a very heavy impact in the earth. There are plenty of decisions you can make (big and small) that can make that impact less painful for the environment.
Some planes are are more fuel efficient than others (Boeing 777 and Airbus 345, for example). But once you’re at your destination it’s always best to have a water bottle that you can use over and over, as opposed to buying a thousand plastic bottles. Eating locally is also better for the community and helps reduce the fuel and carbon emission it takes to transport non-local food to the city. You can also ask your hotel or hostel to not change out your sheets and towels every day, but rather once every three days, and so on.
- Get off the beaten path
I’ve written before about how there’s no reason to be ashamed of being a tourist and hitting all the main attractions, but there’s nothing quite like getting off the beaten path. If you have the time, plan out a day trip and jump on a bus or train and take it to a city that looks interesting after a cursory google-investigation. Spend the day there just exploring the city streets, restaurants, and bars to see how life in that country is away from the tourism industry. It might not have the pizazz of the major landmarks, but chances are it’ll be an experience you won’t regret.
- Meet More People Abroad
Whether you’re solo’ing or in a group, it’s so easy to visit and leave a country without having made any meaningful connections with someone. And, sure, you can have a great conversation with your cab driver or hotel concierge but you chances are you’ll have to break a little more out of your comfort zone. Whether you drink or not, there’s no reason not to spend an hour or two of a night in the cities more popular drinking hole… but if you’re worried about language barriers one fantastic place to meet people is language exchange groups! People are always eager to try their language skills out on a native speaker, and it’s a great way to not only make new friends but learn a bit of the native language yourself.
- Be in the moment and enjoy it for what it is
Traveling is a full sensory experience. The sights, sounds, scents are all new. It can be a lot to take in, especially if you get caught up in your own head. Try to take the moment for what it is, without the burden of expectations or beliefs of what the country or culture should be.
If you find that your day whips by and you can scarcely recall the little details that made it up, meditation is a great way to go. There are a thousand and one fantastic meditation guides online. But for those looking for something they can do every day, quick and “easy”: try sitting quietly in a room with no distractions. Set a time on your phone for five minuets. Spend that time focusing only on your breath, going in and out. Don’t force it. Then count every outer breath. Every time you catch your mind wandering off… restart the count.
It’s an exercise that seems exceedingly straightforward but you’d be surprised how difficult it is to make it 10 without your mind getting distracted by some stray thought. Still, it’s incredibly helpful in keeping in the moment.