It’s that time of year again when we all start pondering how the last 365 days played out, and what we can do to make the next round better. With travel being such an important part of my life, I was recently contemplating what I can learn from overseas adventures, my own experiences on the road, and what I like most about being my most comfortable and best self while travelling (and any habits that I could do with cutting!). So, without further delay (new year is right around the corner!), here are a few New Years Resolution ideas inspired by travel to consider bringing into your daily life this new year.
The past 12 months has their ups and downs, and while many will write up their year in reflection this time of year I prefer to think ahead and see what past learnings I can apply to the future 365 days.
Experience New Things
It goes without saying that travel involves new experiences, so why limit yourself to them only when you’re away? There are likely plenty of places and things to do right on your doorstep – you just need to do a little research to find them.
New experiences don’t even have to be the grandest of gestures, it could be picking up a new hobby, trying that restaurant you pass all the time, or mixing up your outfits. Think about the new things you like to do when you’re travelling, and rediscover those passions at home, you’ll be surprised how much there is to do!
For me, I want to explore new cultural activities in London. That might include art galleries I’m yet to visit, or new types of live performance – I’ll give anything a go so share your suggestions if you have any! I also want to see more of London’s green spaces. Living right by Regent’s Park is wonderful, and a walk through the gardens makes me eager to explore even more!
Most travel lovers know the value of cash when they’re trying to save for a big trip, or budget their days away to spread out the costs and reduce the expense as much as possible! So when you’re living your daily life, remember to not be frivolous with money. You never know, that cup of coffee you don’t need can contribute to your next trip away, or to an important life goal, or to a charity you really care about.
I’ve always been ok with budgeting a handling money, but travelling and always looking to save for the next adventure has really taught me that it’s a lot easier to save than one might think. Simple things like bringing my own lunch to work, questioning if I REALLY need that new outfit, and purposefully shopping at the budget-friendly supermarkets. It all adds up in the end, and soon enough you’ll be glad to see what you can do with your hard work.
Stop and Appreciate
Often while embarking on adventures around the world, you’ll come across something that takes your breath away. Whether that be having just completed a challenging hike, finally reached that destination after getting lost for hours, or seeing the iconic landmark you’ve been dreaming of – you’ll stop and you’ll appreciate exactly where you are. You’ll think about how fortunate you are to be in that moment, and feel on top of the world because of it.
We spend so much of our daily lives rushing and racing, we forget to step back and feel grateful for our blessings. In this new year, I want to bring that same positive energy that I get when I realise that life can be and often IS good – because there really is so much to be thankful for. It doesn’t have to be anything big, it can be a cloudless sky, a cute dog, or a funny joke – just taking the time to feel part of the world and all the goodness in it can immediately lift your spirits.
I’m looking to make more of an effort to do just this when I recognise I haven’t got out of my boxed-in routine for a while. A walk to the park is often the perfect way to get started. A small way to break the bad habit of laziness and lethargic mood, I’m perked up the second I start meandering through gardens of bright flowers, watching the cheeky squirrels, or people-watching the world go by. To sit among nature without being glued to some kind of tech device cures almost any problem for me. If I’m really feeling in need of a change, I’ll watch the sunset on Primrose Hill – nothing like the beauty of Earth to show you to appreciate the moment! Of course, I can’t resist taking a few photos while I’m at it… I sometimes find that also teaches me to value what I’m experiencing.
Treasure Special Memories
One of the many things I adore about travelling to new places is the chance to experience the miraculous, the unexpected, the surprising. I am often reminded of the phrase “we are the sum of our parts”, and I believe that to be true for travel and life. All the small milestones we reach build up to be something wonderful: ourselves!
For example, I completely bypassed reaching a small yet proud milestone of Twitter followers – I didn’t feel like it was anything worth celebrating. But why the heck not?! This seemingly insignificant achievement is a symbol of all the hard work and time I put into something I’m really passionate about (hint, you’re reading it!), so it’s more than deserving of a little happy dance if I want it to be.
Special memories from my travels also remind me that life is ever changing. I’ve always been conscious of savouring all the incredible experiences, as I’m aware that these moments are fleeting and I may not get the chance to relive them in reality again (thank goodness for photos and videos right?). Aside from travelling, I never want to look back on and wish I’d paid more attention to the important moments with loved ones – the deep conversations, the giggling fits, the cosy nights in. These too are to be treasured and held so dear, because they are what matter in life.
Keep In Touch
An especially important new years resolution inspired by travel I want to improve, is to keep in touch with those I love. While we’re off galavanting around the world, the days can often slip by and I know I often forget to keep those I love most up to date with what I’m doing. As excited as I am to share what I’ve been doing, sometimes I just never get around to it. Having since spent lots of time travelling, I’ve learned to get better at this, and take those few short minutes out of my day to check in with my family and friends.
I could certainly be better at doing the same while I’m home too. It doesn’t take much to drop a text to the people that love and care about you, and it will brighten their day like you wouldn’t imagine. No matter where you are in the world, there is always time to look out for loved ones.
Keeping in touch with old friends can be difficult if you haven’t seen each other in a while, and the constant negotiations around when to meet up can make you wonder if you’ll ever have the chance to catch up again! But with a little perseverance, it’ll pay off and you’ll remember exactly why they’re an important part of your life. I try my best to check in from time to time, and strive to improve on how often I do that. It’s important to let those special people to me know I’m thinking of them and continue to care even when we’re not in contact, and hope they would do the same. Treat others as you’d like to be treated and all!
Travelling alone can be scary. Travelling in any circumstance can be scary too! The unknown is an exhilarating concept, and one that a traveller knows how to embrace. The key to facing these apprehensions is the trust in yourself, your own abilities, and know that you CAN do it.
I know I struggle to apply this one in normal life, it’s easy to forget one’s capabilities sometimes. If I can trust myself to explore strange new places, why can’t I convince myself that I can do a good job on a task at work?!
Trusting yourself can also mean understanding your instincts. If you feel unhappy or uncomfortable about something, there’s probably a reason for it! Listen to yourself, and trust yourself when you feel that something isn’t right or needs a change. It’s the first step to taking control, whether that applies to your job, your home, your relationships, or all of the above!
In the coming months, I want to remind myself of what has been achieved, and hopefully improve my self-esteem to continue striving to be better, and trusting that the decisions I make will work out in the end. A friend once told me there are no wrong decisions, because you’ll always learn from whatever situation you end up in. And I totally agree. Even if things don’t go to plan, you will learn something from the experience and grow from it. Knowing that all comes down to, you guessed it, trust.
It’s all too easy to get in too much of a routine, and nestle into your groove. I am absolutely a creature of habit, however, sometimes it’s great to challenge oneself and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Sometimes on my travels, that meant quite literally. One of the biggest challenges I ever put myself in was to literally jump out a plane, and it now remains one of my top 3 memories of all time!
Taking the decision to do something unexpected and out of character is such a thrill, and although may be a risk as to how much you’ll enjoy it, can pay off to be some of the most unforgettable experiences, and build your confidence all in one go. Once I started to embrace “risky” activities, I found myself excited to try new things whereas before I might’ve shied away them. I went snorkelling with sharks, I hiked up a volcano, I tried snake blood whisky, and a whole bunch more! Some of these were better than others of course, but I tried it, and I know I’ll have no regrets for doing so.
If we don’t try to take a few risks and put ourselves out there now and then, we’ll never know our full potential of what can be achieved. Test the waters with something you wouldn’t normally consider, and see where it takes you.
Try Local Businesses
When I’m visiting destinations I like to see out some truly unique places to sample the local produce, pick up souvenirs, or grab items I might need. Supporting small and new businesses means I feel like I know where the money is going, and especially in destinations that I’m very new to, it’s a comfort to think that the businesses which most need your patronage get it from visitors to their home. And it’s always a fun experience to try something new too!
When I’m back home, it’s all too easy to slip back into bad habits and return to the familiar chains and corporately-owned establishments. Especially where I love in London, it seems you can barely walk for 2 minutes before bumping into yet another chain coffee shop! However, there are also loads of independent places to try. And it’s now my goal for the new year to get out and explore them. Watch out cute artisanal hot chocolates of London, I’m coming for you!
When you’re a budget traveller walking is a great way to see the sights, and when you’re not travelling, it’s a great way to do a bit of light exercise and take time for yourself to think and get out into the fresh air.
Since I moved earlier in the year, I’d extremely lucky to be within walking distance from work. The 20 minutes walk to and from the office is such a good part of my day, and it encouraged me to get out and go to the gym more, be healthier, and stop being such a lazy potato!
Having zero excuse to sit on the tube all day, I’ll often think of walking routes to go out in my spare time too. Not only do I find myself returning to my traveller’s mindset of exploring the unknown in my own city, I also love the chance it gives to work my muscles a bit, and feel better about myself in the process. I’m confident that we can all do more to spend more time walking (or cycling if that’s your jam!), particularly in cities like London where the conveniences on every corner make it super easy to get around. Let’s all try and use our bodies for transport more next year, rather than relying on cars and transport that we know are simply way worse for the environment and ourselves!
Know Your Limits
My final new years resolution inspired by travel is to know your own limits. Every traveller will tell you that seeing and doing everything is impossible. Locations change over time, and so even if you THINK you’ve ticked it all off, that won’t be the case forever! The same can be said for life and personal goals. It doesn’t matter that I haven’t seen or done everything I feel I should have so far, everyone travels, lives, accomplishes, and changes at their own pace. Listen to your rhythm and embrace it.
Burning out is a real and scary thing. In the new year I want to make sure I don’t try to take on too much, all the things I want to do are likely still going to be waiting for me when I finally get around to them – pushing oneself is great, but overdoing it is not!
I mentioned earlier that it’s great to take risks from time to time. While I stand by that, pushing yourself to achieve new things is also how you’ll know how far you’re really willing to go. There is a fine line between embracing the unfamiliar, and putting yourself in discomfort for the sake of it. Know that line for yourself, and you’ll not only be embracing exciting new things, but also recognising where to draw your limit.