Type ‘New Year’s resolutions’ into a search engine and you’ll be inundated with statistics that prove that you’re likely to fail at reaching any goals you set as of January 1st. Instead of being discouraged by this wall of negativity, try something a little different this year, with a starting point anchored in an activity you love.
If travel is your passion, then why not find ways to maximise the benefits? The advantages of goal setting are widely documented, and getting specific about ways to make the most out of travel can help you to better explore the world in all its beauty.
1. I resolve to learn something through travel
The trend for educational travel ensures you can learn everything from foreign languages to kickboxing while enjoying a unique immersion in your surroundings. Vacations that encompass yoga retreats, cooking courses and surfing camps are available in a range of exotic locations, and often include board and meals. It’s a great way to connect with locals, meet kindred spirits, and return from your holiday with valuable skills as well as happy memories.
2. I resolve to take foreign public transport
Taxis make it easy to forgo the hassle of negotiating a foreign transport network, but to truly get a sense of a destination, jump on a public bus or ferry and rub shoulders with the locals. You might have to ask how to hail the appropriate minivan on the street corner, and there’s a chance you’ll get on a ferry travelling the wrong way, but it will be worth it to take a glimpse through that window of authenticity.
3. I resolve to travel with meaning
There’s always time for a tropical island escape or a stint in a thriving metropolis, but this year make a point of setting forth on a journey that holds some personal meaning to you. Perhaps your ancestors hail from rural China, and you want to visit the village where your great-grandmother grew up, or maybe you’re a die-hard foodie, and you’ve always dreamed of taking a slow food tour through Italy. Travelling is a great way to cultivate the passions that form the essence of our individuality.
4. I resolve to take a tour
Tours have come a long way since the days of daggy, superficial coach trips. Guided explorations are now so specialised that you’re almost guaranteed to find something that speaks to your particular interest. Imagine joining an after-hours tour of the Sistine Chapel, where you can contemplate the heavenly frescos totally free of distraction as your guide recounts intricate history. How about a tour of Adelaide’s Central Market, which reveals the significance of each seemingly-commonplace stall through the guidance of a passionate local?
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5. I resolve to research my destination
While there is a lot to be said for spontaneous discovery, finding out that you've missed something incredible is always a bit of a kick in the guts. A little research before travel imbues landmarks with a new significance, and can also reveal hidden gems that take a bit of getting to. A quick web search is all it takes to pull up a hundred blogs filled with juicy tips on where to eat, what to do, and the meaning behind each curious custom.
6. I resolve to travel solo
In the past, solo travel has been seen as a last resort for those who have no companion, but today’s travel organisations cater for singles as a matter of course. As well as the much-touted opportunities for self discovery, you will also be able to devote your time to your interests alone. If you want to spend five hours in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, no one will drag you away. If you’re particularly interested in the history of Westminster Abbey, indulge in the nerdiness of a history buff’s tour. Choose your own adventure, eat whenever and however you like, and stay open to what the world has to offer you.
7. I resolve to explore closer to home
We are a nation of avid travellers who love to roam the planet, and it’s easy to forget that the rest of the world flocks to Australia for good reason. Our country is a wonderland of natural features, from the world’s most celebrated reef through to the mysterious landscape of the Kimberley. Explore the famous wine regions of South Australia, go snorkelling with manta rays in Broome, or attend a show at the iconic Opera House - there are an overwhelming amount of unforgettable moments to be had in your own back yard.