I’m not a fan of New Year’s Resolutions. Generally speaking, resolutions have that connotation of something you do regularly and frankly it seems like everyone breaks their resolutions and/or simply end up frustrated. Perhaps it’s just defining things differently, but I have a few travel-related goals for 2013 – things I can work toward all year but don’t necessarily need to adhere to on a regular basis. Let’s see if I can achieve all of them by the end of the year.
Visit at least One New State
One of the joys of the USA is that it is so huge and varied, making it a great place to explore especially when you don’t have a ton of time to spend flying somewhere new. I’ve seen a lot of the country and have places I’d love to return to for another visit and other places where I’ve only seen one corner of the state leaving a lot to be explored, not to mention international destinations I’d like to visit. Despite this, I’d like to make it to at least one entirely brand new state in 2013, which means one of these destinations will be in my future: Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Mississippi (edit: I visited in March 2013), Arkansas, Oklahoma, or Hawaii. My bet is I’ll end up somewhere on the western half of that list, but we’ll see.
Stay True to my Own Interests
I wish I could remember which blogger described certain people as travel lemmings so I could give appropriate credit for stealing their term, but regardless I think this is the perfect description. So many people simply do exactly what the guidebook tells them to do, hitting one someone else’s preferred attractions, restaurants, and hotels. I’ve fallen into the same trap from time to time, though I’ve gotten much better about it over the past year. Case in point: everyone says Montreal is great, but instead of a fancy hotel and visiting museums, churches, and nightclubs I’d rather spend my weekend in a cabin in the woods for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and reading by the fire.
Balance my Time
In some ways, I did a great job with balancing my time in Morocco, with some structured activities to make sure I saw everything I wanted to see while leaving time to simply wander, people watch, and take advantage of opportunities as they came up. On the flipside, I did a poor job including quiet time for resting, decompressing, or otherwise. I’m not sure what the magic amount of relaxation is but that I need to make sure I have time for it in the future and remember that the purpose of vacation is not solely to be enveloped by new experiences.
Yes, I love traveling with my family and friends, but I also like to travel solo. It’s great for meeting new people since I’m more inclined to chat with locals or fellow travelers rather than my companion(s) and it’s great for doing things the way I want to without compromising with another person’s interests or schedule. In 2012, I only had a solo weekend and in 2013, I’d really like to expand upon that. I’m not sure where I’ll go or for how long, but I know it’s on my radar for the upcoming year.
Improve my Spanish
When I travel to a new country, I spend some time learning the pleasantries of their language so I can be friendly at the very least, or possibly communicate to a bit of a practical standpoint. However, I’ve gotten in a bad habit of not bothering to put the same time into practicing Spanish before traveling since I already can speak beyond the pleasantries. A little bit of effort beforehand would help bring me to the next level for more complete conversations and more interaction with locals. A larger amount of effort would enhance my experience even more. With Argentina on the schedule for my next big trip, it only makes sense to work on my language skills.
I think my goals for 2013 are realistic, so hopefully I’m setting the bar at a level that’s achievable and rewarding. Do you have travel goals for 2013? What are they?