Every beginning of the year, it has become almost a ritual for majority of us to set goals for the year while we looked back at the things we have achieved in the previous year. I realised I’ve been doing this each year but I never really go through it, until I got bored of my state of being today, just a day before 2015 wraps up and closes its chapter. It’s not just about making another resolution, I’m currently overwhelmed with so much mixed emotions that it’s beginning to be clearer on what I’ve been doing in the past two years were a lot of wasting away, waiting for chances that might not ever come and with people that will never help get things done. I’m hoping this year would be better for me, for you and for all of us. It’s a year to strive to be better – physically and emotionally, a year to finally allow time and room to grow and improve ourselves instead of waiting on things to come. It’s time to make things happen. Here are the travel goals I’ve decided to start/ stick with this coming year, at least in the travel department.
1. Travel Light
As a girl who loves fashion and beauty, it’s really difficult for me to let go of my products that I swear by whenever I’m traveling. However in 2015, I slowly learned to adapt by getting less dependent on the non-essentials when I’m traveling. I hardly need makeup when I go outdoors so I’ve skimmed down my makeup bag to the bare essentials (will definitely write about this soon!) and I now stick to a few skincare line I know that works and opted for more travel-sized bottles. I’ve also learned to let go, so I buy what I need when I reach my destination, and leave it before I leave, making room for souvenirs and also kick the habit of hoarding which I will talk about later in this list.
2. Do Not Expect for a Travel Buddy to Start Traveling
This could’ve been at the top of everyone’s roadblock. Our human need to be surrounded by something familiar tend to extend itself to this point – waiting on your spouse, partner or friends to travel. I’ve been traveling without my partner countless times, but I’ve come to a point where I thought it would be better to travel with my partner instead of alone. However along the way, I realised that I’ve been doing that all my life, always looking for someone to explore with and this stopped me from going on solo adventures, the possibility of self-discovery and chance to experiences of a lifetime. Different people will have different expectations (and budget) when it comes to traveling so it is best to not wait up on someone else to travel or you’ll wake up one day and realise you have missed out on so many things as the years pass by.
3. Stop Worrying About Planning
When I was younger, I used to worry throughout my pre-planning stage before I travel somewhere. Naturally, you’d want to make your money’s worth by fitting in as many things as you can within your itinerary. I’ve learnt throughout the years to just take it easy, plan the trip but also leave some time to breathe and go with the flow. There are days when you want to do activities, and there are days when you just want to kick back and chill out over a cup of coffee. Bottom line – do what you want to do, not just because other blogs or websites told you to. An itinerary does not mean that you have to follow every single thing written on it. It is to serve as a guide, while you put effort into discovering new things by yourself. When I did this, I felt like I did not do enough to justify my time and money spent on a trip but my partner always say “There’s always a reason to come back” which proved to be true. Although I’d always have post-vacation blues when I’m back in town I stopped feeling like my trip was just another vacation. As I am already planning my day-to-day, it gives a fresh outlook when I stopped worrying about planning too much when I’m on holiday.
4. Not Having Expectations
Before Internet came along, our expectations are much lower when we travel. Everything would be new, perspectives are different. Nowadays, we tend to google for everything and as the internet goes, everything is hyped up (and photoshopped) so when we don’t experience the same thing we get disappointed. It’s pretty much the same with people – not having expectations lowers down the risk of a let down. Not having (high) expectations also allows us to open up to surprises and new experiences.
5. Focus on Experiences Over Destinations
If there’s one thing I’ve been doing wrong in my previous travels were putting my focus on destinations instead of experiences. It’s nice to be able to travel to beautiful, exotic places around the world but for most people who can’t afford the time and monies needed to do so, putting emphasis on the experience would be more satisfying than having destination goals. This allows us to be anywhere, near or far and still have fun regardless of location. You could be traveling local and still have as much fun as you would traveling overseas.
6. Find a Way To Travel
Where there’s a will, there’s always a way. Ever feel jealous and wonder how do some people get to travel while you’re stuck in the office trying to get by with a 9-5? Been there, done that too many times that I had to stop myself and draft out my financials, goals and plans for the coming year. I noted down things I want to do (and the places to do them) on a piece of paper, and looked out for alternatives I could consider that would allow me to travel – take up extra work, sell unused things I’ve been hoarding, do volunteer work, apply for odd jobs, get sponsorships (applies to certain groups only) or create a savings account just for travel purpose et cetera. There are so many ways to travel, depending on how much effort you put into it.
7. Record Down Experiences, Even If It’s Not Perfect
We often take it for granted, and purists often frown upon the horde of cameras, phone cameras and other things that tourists do while traveling but you know what? You do you, honey. If you want to take a million photos or even just writing down in your little journal while watching the sunset and sipping on coconut, do it. I’ve been on both ends of the rainbow and found my balance, which also took a lot of time to figure out so unless you’ve got it figured out don’t worry about what other people think. Just snap, write or record your journey for yourself. Memories fade with age, but putting it down on a tangible form helps preserve it. You don’t have to be amazing with photos, videos or writing (although it helps if you see it as a career path) but by just keeping pieces of your journey is a fun thing to do in life. It’s a nice thing to be able to sit down, sifting through photos you’ve taken years back and just remember all the amazing things you did, ate and seen.
8. Time Over Luxury
This is something I’m still learning to juggle – sacrificing luxury so I can spend more money on time while I’m traveling. As much as the fancy villa with a private pool (that comes with a personal chef) sounds tempting, the same difference in money it costs could buy me an extra two days in Bali. Once in a while it’s okay to treat yourself (see point no. 9), but you have to weigh the options. If it is more rewarding to spend time outdoors, I shall forgo the idea of getting a nice place to sleep in. You can always buy luxury, but you can’t rewind time.
9. Treat Yourself
Just because you’re on budget traveling, does not mean you shouldn’t pay a little extra for experiences (see point no. 5). We once paid for an experiential theatre performance ‘Sleep No More’ in New York which could have been our shopping money but if a friend had not asked us to go, we would probably never experience such thing. Never skimp on that ice-cream (or oyster platter) if you see it and feel like having it. There’s always money somewhere within your budget that you can use for times like these. With that being said, yes, it is important to bring extra money just in case you stumble upon things like these.
10. Stop Hoarding
As mentioned in the first point of this article, I have the habit of hoarding – at home and while traveling. It’s a pretty bad habit to have, I find excuses to hoard clothes to bring even when I don’t need them (I keep saying that they’re for “emergencies”) and I used to hoard toiletries when I stay in hotels, in case if I run out of any. This coming year I’d want to let go of this particular habit, with the exception of my travel and local cook books I buy on each trip. I have to learn to let go majority of things, cause at the end of the day they’re just things.
With that, I end my personal travel goals for this coming year while I bid 2015 goodbye. It’s been full of ups and downs, and places I’ve been with faces I’ve seen. I’ve made more friends, and lost some along the way but that’s part and parcel of life, isn’t it?
My purpose, is to gain more experiences and embark on more adventures. What’s yours? Leave me a comment.