It’s a newborn, squeaky clean year, full of promise and change (if we seek it). Most of us follow the trend of swearing to eat healthier, exercise more, drink less, etc., and I am no exception, but I’ve decided that this year I need to make resolutions that focus on my traveling life. Living abroad for almost five years now cements the fact that I’m a full-time traveler/expat and it’s also important to improve that facet of my life. So, here they are! Fingers crossed they don’t go the way of my health resolutions and end up discarded to a dusty corner of my mind, while I eat a whole carton of chocolate ice cream.
Photo by Geraint Rowland
#1 Stop being a lazy traveler
My first trip abroad was to Italy and Greece with a college friend and I researched it for SIX MONTHS. Yes, I was green and nervous so I overly obsessed about the month long trip, but these days I feel so comfortable heading to new places that sometimes I don’t even research a thing. I just figure out where my hostel is, do a quick Google search of the best things to do, and off I go. Basically, I’ve gotten lazy.
Years ago, before a trip, I would read a novel based in that area, look up local blogs for ideas of where to eat and what to do, and practice phrases in the local language. I was more committed to getting the most out of my journey and this year, I aim to start again, but even better this time because now I have the knowledge and experience about how to smartly travel 🙂
Photo by Promise Tangeman
#2 Travel to South America or Africa
I’ve traveled throughout Asia, Europe, Oceania, and North America, but not set foot in South America or Africa. Partly because I find these continents daunting (they are the unknown!) and haven’t found myself looking for work in either place. I’ve followed my brother’s travels through Peru, Chile, Costa Rica, and now Ecuador and I’d be lying if I said I don’t feel like there is some sort of sibling rivalry that I am losing.
He also went kayaking through Zambia and so, my little brother has now beat me in the continents game. Traveling to one of these continents would also help me achieve my number one resolution. I’m definitely not going to a be a lazy traveler if I’m heading to a culture that I don’t feel totally comfortable in. Money wise, this resolution may be hard to keep, but I’m hoping the chance comes along.
Photo by Lajon Tanganco
#3 Record my experiences throughly
Again, the theme of laziness comes into play. On that first trip to Italy and Greece, I would spend about an hour every day on some dirty hostel computer writing a blog about my day. Was it my best writing? Definitely not. Was the punctuation, spelling, and general readability acceptable? Sadly no, but those blogs are invaluable to me now. We forget, alter, and sometimes unknowingly change moments in our mind and having my thoughts and exact details written down about a trip helps not only jog my memory, but gives the ol’ writing muscle a workout.
#4 Don’t forget that one doesn’t have to leave home to travel
I currently live in Taiwan, which is an island that I love to explore. I’ve lived here almost two years and it’s no longer got that “new toy feel”. It feels like home sweet home, which is a great feeling, but it can be a boring one that makes me forget how much the country has to offer and how little I’ve actually seen. Work keeps me busy and thriftiness keeps me home, but I aim to do something or go somewhere new at least once a month.
Well, that adds up to four resolutions (for those who aren’t good at math..). That’s a tall order, but hey, with all the newfound energy and stamina I’ll have from my health resolutions, it’ll be a piece of cake. (OMG, I WANT CAKE.)