Okay. The new year is in full swing. You’ve set your intentions on self care. Maybe you’ve given yourself the specific goal of incorporating travel into your year’s plans. Now let’s get serious about making your 2017 more travelicious.
I’m a 3rd generation bossy lady, so I’ve taken it upon myself to help you turn your New Year’s resolutions into End of the Year successes. These are a little more involved than my usual “Enter more contests” resolution (which is a fantastic idea, by the way, as long as you don’t mind having a bloated email inbox.) The best goals are those that contain measurable actions you will take to get you to the big finish. So “travel more” might sound like a decent goal, but I don’t think it’s specific enough to jolt us out of our everyday routine. And we absolutely don’t want 2017 to end with us leaving 658 million vacation days unused. This, to me, is tragic. So let’s talk about the specific steps to take so we don’t become sad statistics.
Add Travel to you social media feeds.
An easy one! They’re appropriately called feeds because your brain ingests the images and information like my mouth ingests Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. And you are what you eat. (Which is why I’m so chocolatey.) Want to be reminded that you-time is a priority? Add positive social media images to your feed, and self care will stay at the fore-front of your mind. I sincerely believe that travel is excellent self care. Here is my shameless plug for you to follow me on Instagram here and Pinterest here so you can feed yourself a dose of vicarious travel daily.
But don’t stop with me. One of my favorite traveling Instagrammers is Tracie Howe from @TracieTravels. Her pictures are gorgeous. Of Course. She’s a professional photographer who was traveling around SE Asia the same time as me. She even took my picture in Bankgok! But her pictures are less selfie shoot, more OHMYGAHHHH THAT’S SOOO BEEEYOUTIFULLL!! And Tracie is selling a gorgeous calendar on her Etsy shop here. Buy it and get a new “favorite place I’ve never been” every month.
When it’s time to turn your dream trip into a reality, those same social media feeds you’ve been following will pay you back by helping you plan your can’t-miss activities. Instagram showed me some to the prettiest temples in Thailand and that The Kafe was THE place to get real french toast in Vietnam.
I don’t know a soul who doesn’t resolve to “Read More” every year. I definitely did. Can I call myself a book nerd, if I use a Kindle? Add some travel books to your reading list, and “read more” will help inspire you to travel more.
Right now I’m reading “Skylight” by Portuguese writer José Saramago. He’s a Nobel Prize in Literature winner I hadn’t heard of until I traveled to Portugal. He’s taking me back to my Happy Place without me having to leave my other Happy Place (my bed).
If you like a little non-fiction, Gloria Atanmo’s book “From Excuses to Excursions” will have you ready to book a flight before you’re through. Gloria’s a popular travel blogger who’s been traveling full-time since July 2015. *Goals*
Link two goals to each other.
I’ve heard there are people out there who think travel is a luxury, not a necessity. Does that sound familiar to you? I think this picture totally disproves this horrible fallacy.
Do you see this place? Does your brain say “I need to be there”? There you have it.
If you’re still not convinced, find another important goal in your life and add travel to it. Have you started running to improve your fitness? Sign up for a race out of town. Do you want to spend more quality time with family and friends? I hear quality time is Italy’s #1 export. I really want to learn a second langauge. I made a ton of progress on this during my gap year…by narrowing down the languages I DON’T want to learn. 🙂 Thai looks impossible, btw.
Find ideas for your own grown up gap year here.
Go someplace new…even if it’s old.
Once you have allowed the travel images to flow over you and through you like the coconut oil of life, chose a destination. While “travel more” is too general, resolving to visit a certain place in 2017 is a good start to actually getting there. Name it and claim it, right? If new places make you a little nervous, there’s nothing wrong with deciding to visit an old favorite. Repeat visits can be both comforting and thrilling.
I may have gushed over my beloved happy place, Portugal, once or twice before. And I hope to get back there at least for a pit stop this year. But it was my second visit that really sealed the deal for me. On the repeat trip I had a clue what beer I’d enjoy (Super Bock, if anyone know’s an importer), the trains were even easier to navigate and I had already done the must-do stuff. So I could just chill the second time around and take pictures of adorable couples walking by adorable florists. If the idea of being in a totally foreign place makes you apprehensive, please don’t let that stop you from gifting yourself some time away.
Find out why YOU’LL love Portugal too, here.
Volunteer vacation without the huge fees.
Okay, so maybe you feel like a travel resolution isn’t your thing. Maybe you want 2017 to be a year of major transformation and personal growth and development, but you don’t see how travel fits into this picture. I’m so glad you’re here! Travel is a wonderful way to get your “be the change” life. Seriously. So many organisations worldwide are in need of your exact help.
I volunteered (very briefly lol) on an organic cricket farm in Cambodia that has the mission of providing a sustainable, nutrient-rich food source to feed the world’s increasing population. Schools practically everywhere are looking for volunteers. And Habitat for Humanity does home builds in global villages all over the world from Armenia to Zambia.
These trips can be done at any price point. From Don’t-worry-we’ve-got-you-covered to my low budget DIY-and-stay-in-strangers’-homes method. WorkAway, WWOOF and HelpX are great resources for the DIY volunteer vacation. Ask me any question about my volunteer vacation in the comments. Seriously.
Take Tons of Travel Pics & Use Them!
This might not help you travel more, but it will definitely help you get more out of travel. Are you a souvenir junkie? When your trip is done, you can create personalised souvenirs that’ll help you relive the magic every day.
If you take a favorite pic and turn it into something you’ll use, like a phone case or a coffee mug or a pouch for carrying Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, every day is a holiday. Also consider making your item available for others to buy, and maybe get a head start on the next trip’s budget. I made these bags and pillows on Society6 from photos I took in on my gap year. Check out the cool merch available on Society6 here. And use this coupon for $10 off of a $40 purchase on any item on their site.
I made some even more specific personal goals to keep my travel juices flowing.
I’m going to continent #6: Africa!
My plans aren’t solid yet (they’re kind of floating around right now in a gaseous state) but hopefully I’ll visit South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania in 2017.
I’ll meet up with other travelers.
I’m still team solo traveler. I need a certain balance of taking photos and taking naps in my trip that not everyone would enjoy. But my most memorable times have been shared with other people. My cousin and I kicked up our heels in Paris. I made real live new friends in Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines. (Hi Friends!) Not to mention a Tinder-fella here and there. It was so cool to sit down and break bread with people I only knew from a Facebook group or my Instagram account. I’m definitely doing more of this! I’ll organize fun times with future friends. Be my Travel Buddy to get the intel.
Read about friends I’ve made on the road here.
I’ll buy more souvenirs
My Etsy shop is so paltry right now. 🙁 But after Africa, it’s gonna be poppin! I can’t wait! Go ahead and ‘favorite’ it now so you don’t miss out on the goodies.
So we have our steps mapped out to totally nail our travel goals and turn our wish into an actual plan. Leave a comment below and let me know what goal you have that you can link to travel in 2017.