By Theresa Christine
Happy New Year, HaveHearters! I hope you all rang in the New Year with happiness, joy, and people you love and care about.
For the first Travel That of 2015, I want to help you create some new travel-oriented goals and resolutions for the coming year. You can make resolutions at any time of the year you want to, though — not just January 1st! So while this is inspired by the New Year, use these questions to help you decide on some adventurous goals any time.
1. Think about the kind of places you’re interested in going and the kind of experiences you’d like to have
Brainstorm a little and write down all the places you’d like to go. Don’t worry about cost or how you’ll manage the extra vacation time; instead, just daydream. Where would you go if you could go anywhere?
Use the internet to do a little research if you’re feeling stumped. Pinterest has tons of beautiful photos that will inspire you, and Trover has some great advice from people who have actually been there. Think internationally and nationally. Look into states you haven’t visited, US cities or national parks you’ve never seen, as well as other countries you’d like to get to. Look up cool landmarks, weird museums, or other interesting and quirky places.
Aside from where you’d like to go, think of what you’d like to do. Skydiving, river rafting, snorkeling, hiking, flying a plane, see the Northern Lights, volunteer at an elephant sanctuary, attend a protest, take a train, ride a cable car…just to name a few. These activities will help inform where you should go as well, and are great additions to your resolutions.
From the list that you come up with, you can whittle it down a little. Where do you hope to have visited by July of this year? What about one year from now? You can even think further into the future and plan where you’d like to go in 2 or 5 years. I recommend putting this list with all your notes in Evernote or Google Docs — easy to find and you’re able to make changes when you need to adapt.
2. Figure out how you’re going to budget and save for things
This isn’t nearly as fun as dreaming up fun locations and activities, but it is necessary to figure out reasonable (tentative) deadlines for your goals. Decide how much you’d need to have set aside for hiking the Appalachian Trail, visiting Miami during spring break, or backpacking through Turkey. The internet is your friend in trying to figure out these costs, and just remember to be as specific as possible! If your budget for a trip, goal, or resolution isn’t accurate, actually achieving it will then be much harder. Do the legwork now and you can thank yourself later!
3. Include one thing that seems nearly impossible
The whole idea of making a list of resolutions is that it’s a challenging list to complete. There is practically no joy in checking off a list of things you knew from the very start you’d have zero trouble accomplishing. The items on your list should be things you aspire to, no matter how crazy they are, so I encourage you to throw one thing in there that seems like it would be nearly impossible. If you end up not actually doing it, at least you can say you tried. But if you do accomplish it, then you’re going to feel amazing. To top it off, you’ll then be able to set the bar even higher in the future.
4. Make measurable goals and be specific
“Take more risks” or “be present” are great goals to have, but they aren’t that specific. Try to make your resolutions measurable. So, if you want to start hiking in 2015, set a goal of 1 new hike per month. If you’d like to travel to Europe, pick a country (or a few) that you’d like to visit and the date you’d like to be there. If you’ve decided you’re going to become a more efficient packer to save costs on checked bags, then set a limit to how many items you’ll pack.
It can be a little scary to do this because then it becomes apparent when you don’t accomplish your goals. But you really won’t be able to even reach your goals if you can’t definitively say you’ve done them. So be specific, set deadlines, and aim high!