Setting New Year’s Resolutions and My Travel Goals for 2017
Happy New Year! Well done if you can open your eyes and lift your head off the pillow after the celebrations last night – a whole new year awaits! Alongside very unappealing things like new diets, exercise regimes and the prospect of cleaning up after the festivities of December, New Year’s Day presents the perfect opportunity to get excited about the travels that the New Year may hold in store for you, and to start looking forward to all the adventures ahead!
Personally, I’m currently in cold wintery England, in a sort of limbo in between moving away from the Netherlands last week and moving to Sweden at the end of January. Whenever it’s cold and dark I start thinking a lot about future travels, and each New Year’s Day I set myself new goals, a very large portion of which are travel goals. Last year I decided on these 17 goals, and two days I ago I reviewed all my 2016 travels, finding out that I’d completed 11 of my 17. This year is a fresh start so needs a whole fresh set of travel goals to get excited about!
I have two separate lists, my 5-year plan before I turn 30 (or technically 32 as I’ve strategically re-written it!) and today’s 1-year plan for 2017. Today’s post will focus on a few items from my pre-30 list and a brand new set specifically for 2017. I’m perhaps being a little over-ambitious with the quantity of goals on this list, considering how I also need to do my Master’s and how I won’t actually be earning any money during 2017… Hmmm, those small obstacles. But I’m forever being overly optimistic and unrealistic, so it suits me to aim high, and if I achieve some of these goals, then I’ll see them as a bonus!
Key goals from my ‘Before 30 Wishlist’
2. Visit Australasia and Antarctica – Well, Australasia at least! My friend Imy’s move to Melbourne finally gives me a decent excuse for a trip over to one of the two continents I’m yet to visit. If I can organise my time well in the third semester of my degree, during which I’ll be doing an internship (anywhere in the world!), then I will hopefully have a few spare months for a big trip: eg. Australia and New Zealand! If I do manage to head over to Oz and NZ, then it would be the perfect time to also complete goals 4 and 5: Do a sky dive and a bungee jump.
6. Live outside of Europe for at least 6 months – I can’t yet predict where my internship will be, and I’ll be applying for roles both inside and outside of Europe, but as I’m only 7 weeks away from completing this goal, it would be perfect if I could do my internship somewhere like Brazil or Hong Kong, or so many other places! But first, I have to find the internship… If you have ideas or know of interesting opportunities / organisations, then please let me know!
8. Climb a mountain – Technically I completed this one in 2015 when I did the Welsh 3000s and reached the top of Snowdon in Wales, but I don’t honestly think that’s a particularly amazing achievement, so I have another mountain in my sights. I’m not quite ready to reveal which one, as nothing has yet been booked, but I have a summit in my sights for 2017!
15. Ski the Inferno race – In 3 weeks’ time I’ll be attempting this race in the Swiss ski resort of Murren, if there’s enough snow…
Other new travel goals I’m adding to my wishlist for 2017
- Sicily – I’m really craving another taste of Italy after I didn’t manage a single visit in 2016, and the one region that has up until now eluded me, but always appealed, is the island of Sicily.
- Eastern Europe – Beyond visiting Prague once with work in 2013, my knowledge of Eastern Europe is appalling. I know I’ll be visiting Poland in June 2017, and I’d like to hop over to Estonia and Latvia from Sweden while I’m living in Uppsala for 4 months. The Balkans are also getting an increasing amount of attention it seems, so I would love an excuse to explore some of that part of the world too.
- Scandinavia – While I’m living in Uppsala from February to May 2017, I’d like to explore more of Sweden, I’d like to visit a Norwegian friend of mine in Oslo and maybe even hop over to Helsinki in Finland!
- Travel during my internship – I haven’t yet done a single application for the internship in my third semester, so I’ve no idea where I’ll end up living after Sweden. But hopefully it will be in some interesting new part of the world which I can explore at weekends.
- Go skiing – easy peasy as I’m going skiing in 3 weeks’ time, but I’d like to make this (and the next goal) annual trips so it makes sense to add it in!
- Go sailing – Preferably somewhere warmer than the UK! I won’t have time this year for my Atlantic crossing, but the Mediterranean would also suit me perfectly…
- Visit 5 new countries – In 2016 I only managed 4 new countries, and in 2017 I’d like to see (at the very least): Norway, Finland, Poland, Australia and New Zealand.
- Learn a new sport / skill / language – In keeping with last year, I won’t be too prescriptive with this goal, but current ideas include learning to surf (properly) or speak Swedish.
- Offset my carbon footprint – As per normal, I will donate to the Woodland Trust to offset the emissions from my flights, and I think it’s an important one to include so that I remember it each year.
- Travel abroad every month – This should be fairly easy, as I managed it in 2016 and I have to live abroad for my Master’s, so I’m keeping this goal for 2017 as well.
- Blog more consistently – I’d like to increase the number of blog posts I write in 2017, and find more time to dedicate to this blog again! It’s such a therapeutic hobby that I love doing, so I’m not yet ready to give it up.
- Maintain my languages and learn Swedish – I’m desperate to not forget the languages I’ve worked so hard to learn! I’ve recently started listening to audiobooks in Spanish, Italian and Portuguese to help keep them active in my mind. I’ll be studying Swedish in Uppsala, and continuing with my Dutch in an online course. And I will hopefully pop over from Stockholm to St Petersburg to practice my Russian. Fingers crossed I can keep them fresh in my brain!
- Maintain a monthly blog diary during my Master’s – This is a particularly time-consuming goal, but I really enjoyed writing monthly “diaries” in Nepal and the Netherlands in 2016 and I think they’re a fantastic way to record all my experiences, as well as being a nice way to mentally mark the passing of each month and feel consciously aware of time.
- Digital detox – Last year’s digital detox in Nepal was fortunately forced upon me, but in 2017 I will actively have to choose a time (at least one week!) to disconnect and switch off entirely from the internet.
How to Choose New Year’s Travel Resolutions or Goals
When choosing New Year’s Resolutions, here’s how I go about it:
- Have longer-term wishlist: I have a 5-year plan of dreams which I like to dip into each year, working out roughly which year I’ll do what. If you have a wishlist for some-day-one-day, then you can fill it with your wildest dreams, unrestrained by the constraints of reality and the next 12 months. Pick one or two things each year from that longer-term wishlist.
- Look over previous years’ resolutions: It’s helpful to see which resolutions I have enjoyed doing in the past, which ones I achieved easily, and which ones I struggled with. It reminds me of things I previously aimed to achieve, and warns me off re-attempting resolutions I failed at.
- Borrow resolutions off other people: People I respect and look up to are a great source of inspiration for me, so have a browse of the internet and read the Bucket Lists or Wishlists of other people / bloggers.
- Think about what you’d like to learn or improve at: Perhaps a new skill, a sport, a language? Or would you like to read more? Or learn about a specific subject in a course?
- Look at a map: Identify places you have never ever been to, about which you know absolutely nothing, and set your sights on those. Watching documentaries and foreign films can be an excellent way to spark your imagination.
- Contact friends and family abroad: Make the most of people you know living abroad to pay them a visit. Having a local or resident guide will make your trip 10x richer and more insightful, so pay those people you know a visit in 2017.