It’s that time of year when everyone’s talking about their New Year’s resolutions. Do you normally make a resolution? Instead of focusing on all the negatives (quit this, lose that, stop this, don’t do that), I prefer to focus on all the positive things I hope to do this year, the things that will enrich my life. And when it comes to travel, there are lots of ways that I hope to become a better, more conscientious traveler. So here are my travel resolutions for the year:
1 Roll with the punches
I think I do a good job with this but like anything, there’s always room for improvement. This year, I resolve to always remind myself that the journey is as important as the destination and to roll with things when they go wrong. Sometimes the best experiences and the best stories come out of unexpected detours along the way.
2 Walk 10,000 (or more!) steps a day
When I’m traveling, the last place I want to be is the hotel gym. That’s why I love that my Apple Watch tracks my steps and encourages me to walk a lot. I’m in Hawaii as I write this and on my first day here, I walked 20,000 steps by hiking to the top of Diamond Head. So I got a great workout and a great view!
3 Read books about the destination I’m in
Reading is a passion of mine; I’m lost without a book. And some of the best travel experiences I’ve had have come about when I’ve been reading a book about that’s set in the destination I’m visiting. For instance, reading Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay while traveling through Paris really added an emotional element to my journey and reading Bill Bryson’s In a Sunburned Country provided so much insight, knowledge and humour to my travels through Australia.
4 Be spontaneous
Before I started traveling so much, I wouldn’t have called myself spontaneous. More like meticulous and cautious. But I’ve learned that spontaneity can be life-changing. This year, I strive to be more tuned in to my inner voice and to embrace the impetuous.
5 More photos, fewer things
My most cherished souvenirs from my travels have never been things. They’ve always been my memories. And my photographs. Nothing can take you rushing back to a particular destination faster than a photograph that’s exquisitely captured a moment frozen in time. This year, I hope to take more photos (or use services like Flytographer, which I love!) and to turn those photos into artwork I can hang on my walls at home.
6 Work smarter, not harder
As a full-time freelancer, I don’t have a set work schedule. Which sounds great, but often means that I end up working more hours than are in a typical workday. This year, I resolve to work smarter, not harder and to carve out more time to really experience the destinations I’m visiting and be in the moment without worrying constantly about the next article to write or the next looming deadline. 2016 will be about better time management.
7 Give back to local communities
There are so many communities around the world that are in need and as a traveler, it’s not hard to contribute. It just takes a little time and a little planning. This year, I strive to make this a priority by researching ways that I can give back to communities in need, whether that’s through items I can bring with me and donate or ways that I can give of my time on the ground. I plan to start with a Fathom cruise to Cuba, a travel experience designed specifically to provide travelers with the opportunity to make a difference. Read more here.
8 Try new things
Whether that’s a new experience, a new destination, a new food or a new language, saying yes to new things is a big part of what travel is all about.
9 Create a personal packing checklist
I’ve got my packing routine pretty down pat but oftentimes there’s still that one little thing that I forget. This is the year I’m going to create a packing checklist that itemizes all those things that I need to make sure I have with me.
10 Get up for sunrise
Watching the sun rise in a new destination is a magical thing. And while it can be hard to drag yourself out of bed on early mornings, sunrise is always worth the effort. And if you’re jet-lagged and can’t sleep anyway, it’s the perfect way to start your day. Go for an early morning hike, a walk on the beach or just find a quiet spot to watch as the sun makes her appearance for the day.