My 2018 Travel Goals (and why I don’t set New Year’s Resolutions)
I stopped making New Year’s Resolutions about diet and fitness a long time ago. I’ve long thought that September is a much better month to set yourself resolutions. In September you’re fresh from summer holidays, re-energised with vitamin D from the sun’s rays and in a perfect position to tackle whatever aspect of your life needs a little more attention. January however is an honestly terrible time to do all of that – little daylight, cold wet weather, empty bank account after Christmas… So this year I once again have no resolutions relating to food, diet, fitness or other such noble pursuits.
Instead, what January is perfect for is plotting travels! Why? Well, my desire to escape the UK is always at its highest during the post-Christmas slump, lots of airlines have sales in January, the prospect of better weather in spring and summer is on the horizon, and (aside from actually travelling) booking travel plans is the one thing guaranteed to lift my mood!
So for the last couple of weeks since my blog post reflecting on 2017’s travels, I’ve been plotting and daydreaming about where I want to explore this year and how to best use my 25 days of annual leave. After the travel extravaganza of spending 7 months abroad in 2017 while I was studying abroad, the prospect of having only 25 days is slightly daunting! I should also have a couple of work trips around Europe in the mix to keep my itchy feet at bay – the first one this year being to Brussels this week.
So where might I be picking up postcards from in 2018?
Goals from my ‘Before 30 Wishlist’
When I turned 25 I set myself a wildly unrealistic set of travel goals to achieve before I turn 30 (although I’m giving myself until 31 in reality), and I’m still a long way off most of them, having only achieved 8 / 20 so far… Here are the ones I’d like to tick off this year if possible:
3. Do a sky dive or 4. Do a bungee jump – Preferably somewhere dramatic and far-flung.
13. Walk the Camino de Santiago (or similar) – You can tell I’m growing up from my increasing desire to go for long walks. Last year’s hiking among the the Norwegian fjords and the Alps cemented this one for me, as it’s so ridiculously satisfying to earn an incredible view with nothing but your own two feet.
18. Learn to surf – I took a few surfing lessons in Sri Lanka while on my sabbatical two years ago and took to it relatively quickly, so would love to spend a whole week at a surf camp and actually get the hang of it.
19. Visit the Middle East – I’ve been to Egypt and Turkey before and transited through Doha airport in Qatar a fair few times, but I don’t really consider any of those to be the real Middle East. I’m keen to explore Jordan and Israel, and I’ve also started hearing good things about Oman.
Other new travels goals I’m adding to my wishlist for 2018
- The Baltics – I studied the Baltic Sea Region in 2017 during my Master’s and I now can’t get these countries out of my head. Estonia and Latvia are particularly high up the priority list.
- Italy – Long my favourite country in the world, Italy just makes me happy, no matter which part I’m in! So I want to make Italy an obligatory destination every year. I finally managed my much anticipated visit to Sicily in 2017, so in 2018 I’d be happy to go anywhere – not fussy!
- Mexico or Central America – I feel like most of my acquaintances seem to be either currently travelling in Mexico or in the process of plotting travels to Mexico… Having missed out on the opportunity to spend 4 months in Mexico City last year, I’ve got major ganas to see Mexico for myself. And maybe some of the rest of Central America too if I’m lucky.
- Visit 5 new countries – In 2017 I did manage this goal of 5 new countries, although they were not at all the ones I’d expected. I want to keep learning and keep visiting new places, so I’m again aiming for 5 new-to-me countries.
- Hide away on a small island – Exactly what it says on the tin, I want to escape the rest of the world and there’s no better place for that than an island.
- Travel outside of Europe – I love Europe, don’t get me wrong. But I do spend a lot of my time here and it’s tempting to stick to visiting the well-developed, easy-to-navigate, short-haul European countries I love. But that way I’d miss so much of the rest of the world, so I need push the boat out a little further afield.
- Spend my birthday abroad – This July I’ll celebrate the last birthday of my twenties (eek), so I plan to do it somewhere to remember!
- Go sailing – Similar vibes to my “hide away on a small island” goal above. This year though I’d like to actually use some of the skills I learned on my Day Skipper course, to make sure I don’t forget how to sail.
- Travel abroad every month – One year I’ll finally manage this goal…
- Use my languages – Ideally while travelling to places such as Italy, Mexico and the Netherlands. But if I don’t make it to Sweden or Portugal or Russia for example, then I’d at least like to hold the odd conversation here in London to make sure they don’t disappear entirely from memory.
- Blog at least once a month – Gone are the days of two blog posts a week – seriously how did I ever manage that? Having neglected this blog far too much in 2017, I’m setting the bar low with a minimum of just 1 blog post per month.
- Digital detox – Last year I managed a blissful week offline while hiking in the Alps and attempting to summit Mont Blanc. It was so good for the soul that I’d like to aim for at least one week in 2018 to disconnect and switch off entirely from the internet.
- 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.
Who knows how many of these I’ll achieve, but I always believe it’s best to aim high and be optimistic. Looking at this list excites me for the year to come and I cannot wait to see what the year will hold!