Happy 2016! *insert all festive emojis here*
This year, I achieved a lot of my travel goals: I rang in 2015 watching twinkling fireworks dot the skyline in Reykjavik, spoke at an empowering women’s travel conference in Boston, got a magazine assignment for my beloved and bizarre week at Burning Man, and spent a month falling in love with two beautiful countries in South America. As I look back at the year I am feeling beyond #blessed. I do recognize that it’s part luck, part supportive family, part good timing, part understanding job, part amazing significant other – but it’s also taken a lot of effort on my part. I didn’t just sit around wishing to travel more; I made. it. happen. I really wanted it, I prioritized, I listed out goals, I risked failing, and in the end those were the things that worked out (and trust me, not everything on the list did, but that’s okay, too).
Now whether or not you like the idea of New Year’s Resolutions, there is something thrilling about looking at a crisp, clean calendar year and imagining all the possibility it can hold. If you’re interested in making some life changes (whether you call them resolutions or not), then now is a perfect time to do it. In honor of the New Year, I wanted to share a little advice to help you make travel a bigger part of your life this year. If you hope to travel more in 2016, here are four things that can help…
Don’t resolve to “travel more”
If you only have one takeaway here, it’s this: “traveling more” is not that great of a resolution to have, actually. Here’s my personal advice on how to take the thought of traveling more and turning it into a goal you can actually do something about – and why, in the end, it will be fine if you fail.
I’m sometimes of the guilty party that gets carried away with spending thinking, “Oh, it’ll be fine,” and then I don’t realize until after the fact that I actually shouldn’t have spent money on a bunch of drinks Friday night. Wah wah. I am not always the best at budgeting, and this is something I personally hope to improve this year with more regular budgeting – after all, a good budget doesn’t just stick to itself, it requires continuous work and finessing.
I have to say, though, I feel most in control of my budget when I’m proactively planning my schedule so that I keep busy with activities that I can afford. Whether it’s going out for happy hour, a date night, or an evening at home working on some passion projects, taking control of your schedule can also help you take better control of your finances.
ps if you’re looking for some not-so-crazy-expensive-but-still-crazy-fun things to do, you may like 30 Things To Do When You’re Bored or Broke (or Both!)
Do great work
It might seem counterintuitive to be an amazing employee when you really just want to plan and plot for your next paid vacay days, but I honestly believe that when you’re a positive, hard-working person, eventually there will be a payoff. Impress your boss, collaborate nicely with coworkers, and make yourself irreplaceable in the workplace so that when it all works out and you do decide to take a trip, you won’t be worrying about your job security as much. Go above and beyond without stretching yourself too thin. It’s no guarantee, but your employer will likely be much more compassionate and willing to figure out something with you if you are totally amazing at what you do.
Don’t underestimate the power of small adventures
A little weekend staycation, exploring a neighborhood you’ve never visited in your city before, or even just trying some new food from another country are some of the things you can do to satisfy wanderlust as you wait patiently for the bigger trips. Sure, we all get that sweet rush when we see another stamp added to our passport, but there’s also plenty to explore right where you are. Approach these types of experiences with fresh eyes and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much there is to discover in your own backyard. I’m a personal fan of hiking and getting out into nature – not only is it great exercise but it helps clear my head!
So tell me – what’s your travel destination/experience goal for 2016?
ps Got 4 minutes to chat travel and trip planning with me? I’m developing a course for you and would love your input.