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My Travel Goals for 2016

Stockholm Archipelago

Happy New Year! I hope your head isn’t pounding too much from last night’s New Year celebrations… I find a brisk countryside walk is the best activity for January 1st! I’m in Cornwall today with uni friends, right on the cliff’s edge overlooking the headland in Newquay and, although the British winter has delivered ferocious windy weather, there’s nothing better than a bracing cliff’s walk by the sea. Here’s a panoramic shot I took at the tip of the headland below:

Fistral Beach, the Headland, Cornwall

          I’ve been busy reviewing my 2015 travel goals and thinking about the lessons I learned (you can read that post from yesterday here) and I’ve inevitably been thinking about my new travel goals for 2016 too. I’m tied up until the 8th May 2016 with two trips: 2 weeks in Sri Lanka and then 15 weeks volunteering in Nepal with Raleigh. I’ll then return to work in London in May, but that still leaves 8 months of the year with which to travel and crack on with achieving my travel goals. I have two separate lists, my 5-year plan before I turn 30 (although I’ve only 3 and a 1/2 years left to achieve that) and a 1-year plan I set myself every year on New Year’s Day. So in today’s post I’m focusing on a few token items from the pre-30 list and a brand new set specifically for 2016.

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Key goals from my ‘Before 30 Wishlist’:

6. Live outside of Europe for 6 months – I’m going to flexible and mould this goal into an ‘accumulative’ total of 6 months, rather than the ‘consecutive’ total I originally intended. But I’m still strict on the definition of “living” and so far only 4 weeks in Chile back in 2007 count, as all my other adventures outside Europe since then have been more ‘travelling’ than ‘living’. Nepal will add another 15 weeks and then I’ll be just 7 weeks short of completing this goal.

11. Do Ibiza in style – This goal stays on the list each year, otherwise it has no hope of actually happening!

12. Volunteer in a developing country – Excitingly this goal is very much within reach as I’m soon heading out to Nepal to do just that with Raleigh for 3 and a 1/2 months.

15. Ski the Inferno race – I’m in the process of applying for membership of the Kandahar Club, which is a means of getting a bib number for the Inferno race in Mürren in January 2017, so fingers crossed I get that lined up.

16. Sail across the Atlantic – the popular ARC crossing takes place annually between November and December and as a paying customer it costs at least £3,000, so the trick would be to find a yacht in need of one extra crew member, without having to fork out that much. Get in touch if you know of anyone making the crossing this year!

17. Visit 50 countries – I’m currently on 46 countries. After Sri Lanka and Nepal I’ll be on 48, so it’s conceivable I could manage this goal in 2016. In addition to this I’d like to maintain my goal of visiting at least 5 new countries each year.

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Other new travel goals I’d like to add to my wishlist for 2016 are:

  • Sicily – My italophile friend Hannah and I have promised ourselves a dose of Italy next year in Sicily, a region I’ve been dying to visit ever since I first watched the wonderful Inspector Montalbano!
  • Russia – St Petersburg, get ready. I’m determined to visit you in 2016, to practice my impossibly rusty Russian. Any ideas when is the best time of year to visit?
  • A Mediterranean holiday with friends – Perhaps a week’s sailing holiday, perhaps the fabled trip to Ibiza, but somewhere hot, with good company and near my favourite sea in the world.
  • Learn a new sport / skill / language – In an attempt to keep things flexible, I won’t be too prescriptive with this goal, but current ideas include: learning to surf, take photos in Manual mode or speak basic Nepali.
  • Travel solo – I think everyone should learn to travel alone, and my previous experiences (North American DTour, weekend in Padua and 48 hours in Iceland) were all very safe and tame. So I had intended my 17-day trip to Sri Lanka to be a solo trip but I’m pleased to say that only 7 days will be alone in the end, as I’m now being joined by a guy that I met in Berlin for a week, and then I’m meeting up with a uni friend and her sister for a few days too!
  • Not take my 20s so seriously – Here’s a goal I’ve borrowed from Kirst as I love how she phrased it. Like her, I’d like to avoid feeling like I need to achieve everything possible career-wise and personal-life-wise in my 20s, and I want to really enjoy this decade, instead of slaving away and wasting my youth on milestones that I can easily hit in my 30s instead. Given that I’m now 26 and technically in my late twenties, this is particularly relevant! Hopefully I’m now the other side of my quarter-life crisis and in future I hope not to beat myself up too much over life decisions.

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  • Blog more consistently – With the exception of Nepal where I’ll have very infrequent Internet access and I’ll be busy volunteering (apologies in advance!), I hope to get back to a more regular blogging routine. 2015 was a poor year in that respect with only 55 blog posts published, compared to 122 in 2014 and 150 in 2013. Do let me know if there’s any particular subject you’d be interested to read more about!
  • Travel abroad every month – In 2013 I managed 9 months and in 2014 I increased to 10, however in 2015 I regressed back to 8! So in 2016 this is a real priority, and as the first 5 months are already taken care off it shouldn’t be too hard to beat last year’s poor record of 8.
  • Take a photography course – These courses are notoriously expensive but I think it’s the only way I’ll ever force myself out of Auto mode on my camera. Know of any good ones either in London or abroad somewhere?
  • Offset my carbon footprint – As per the last two years, I’ll be donating to the Woodland Trust to plant the equivalent number of trees.
  • Plan where and when I’ll next live abroad – After finishing my 6-month sabbatical in May 2016, I don’t know how willing I’ll be to move abroad again in the same year and I’ll probably be craving a bit of normality in London. But by the end of 2016 I’d like to at least have a plan for my next move.

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Exactly a year ago I also wrote a list here of suggestions to help you choose your own travel goals, which might also be useful for you today. In essence those were:

  1. Think about what you’d like to learn this year.
  2. Which countries are you yet to visit?
  3. Take 12 trips in 12 months.
  4. Visit friends and relatives abroad.
  5. Draft your obituary. (The last of these sounds sinister when taken out of context, but it’s an exercise intended to help you identify what you’d like your legacy and life’s purpose to be, this helping you to focus on steps towards that).

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What do you think of travel goals and what are yours for 2016? Do you have any trips in 2016 already planned?

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