The start of a new year (and a new decade!) is always cause for both reflection and ambition. Ten years ago I was a student in undergrad, scraping by and working toward the day when I would be able travel on my own. I set a goal for my life after university: see one new country a year (when circumstances permit). In 2015, a year after graduating, I travelled to my first destination, Wales. Since then, I have been able to maintain this every year save 2018, when I got engaged, and most recently checked Spain off my list in 2019. I hope to continue the trend heading into this year and squeeze in a trip between my wedding and a big move overseas. I feel like I become a “better” traveller with each trip I take, learning from mistakes (like wearing contacts on a red-eye flight from Washington D.C. to Helsinki…yikes) and streamlining the process for less stress on my part. Keeping that in mind, here are my traveller resolutions for 2020:
- Go on a winter adventure
I’ve extolled the virtues of off-season travel before, but I have yet to have a true winter holiday- one with thick snow where I have to bundle up and my gloves are so insulated I can’t work my camera. To meet this goal, I’m going to Toronto and Ottawa in February to take in some sub-zero temperatures and attend the capital’s annual winter festival, Winterlude. I can’t wait to skate the frozen Rideau Canal, check out the ice carving on Sparks Street, and play in the winter playground at Jacques Cartier Park. A blog post on it will be forthcoming provided I don’t lose my fingers to frostbite.
- Blog more
I work full-time, which can make writing seem like an imposing task sometimes. I always find, however, that once I get into it, I really enjoy recounting my travels. I started this blog for fun, and it’s been a fulfilling way for me to catalogue my journeys. Writing about places I’ve seen helps me to capture them in my memory, and going back to old posts always brings back fond memories. Keeping that in mind, I’m resolved to get a new blog post up at least once a week during 2020.
- Explore closer to home
I currently live and work in southwestern Virginia. While it’s not a permanent base for me, I know I should take the opportunity to travel through more of the surrounding area. There are such a diverse array of weekend destinations at my disposal: the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, historic Williamsburg and Jamestown (Virginia), Nashville (Tennessee), and Charleston (South Carolina) to name a few. I hate driving, but I suspect there are plenty of hidden gems of local destinations if I’m willing to venture out to them. This year I promise to check some of them out!
- Try a new activity while travelling
I tend to have the same M.O. wherever I travel: I love to see museums, visit historical sites, and wander for photo opportunities. This year, though, I want to be a little more adventurous and try something interactive when I travel. Sites like Airbnb offer the chance to sign up for experiences – which could mean anything from a cooking class to zipline adventure to a day tending alpacas with a local. It sounds like a fantastic and different way to “see” a destination, and I’m ready to try incorporating it into my travel habits.
- See a new country
As mentioned before, this is a recurring “resolution” for me. I’ve not been able to decide what this new country might be, but if all goes to plan, I’ll be living in Wales before the end of the year. This will make travel to European destinations much more manageable, and I hope to take full advantage of Britain’s proximity to the continent. Austria and Switzerland are at the top of my travel wishlist, with Sweden and Belgium close runner-ups. Who knows? Like one of my travel heroes, Lucy Aldrich, once wrote in her journal…
From: Blacksburg, Virginia
To: God knows where
So those are my traveller resolutions! What do you have in store for 2020- near or far? I’d love to know!