It seems appropriate for a travel blog’s first post of a new year to focus on travel plans or a wish list of destinations for the next 12 months. Honestly, I’m struggling with this expectation, because if there’s one thing 2017 taught me, it’s that life is wildly unpredictable. Late last year, my father passed away very suddenly only days after his 73rd birthday. One day, I was singing him “Happy Birthday,” and four days later, my mom was calling to tell me unimaginable.
For someone who received such shocking news, planning travel seems like a strange thing to do. Although I’m eager to visit my first destination of the year, I don’t know where I’ll end up going next month, let alone six months from now. Since my life already feels so fraught with uncertainty, I’m shelving my travel planning for now, embracing a cliché, and taking 2018 one day at a time. Therefore, instead of the usual destination wish list post, I’m sharing how I plan to shake up my travel style this year.
2018 Travel Plans
Seek Out Unfamiliar Places
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with revisiting a destination you love, but in 2017, I felt stuck in a travel rut, visiting only two new destinations during the whole year. In 2018, I’m re-embracing my personal definition of travel–an infusion of the unfamiliar–to break out of my comfort zone and tackle new destinations I haven’t met yet. I can’t wait!
Embrace Second Cities
Blame it on Instagram if you want, but some of the world’s most popular cities and countries are grappling with too much tourism. As these destinations work to stem the tide of overexposure and find sustainable balance, it’s time for second cities to shine. Second cities, so called because they are the second largest in a country or region, tend to get less exposure and fewer tourists. The idea of traveling to a lesser-known destination and discovering its charm on my own is utterly enchanting. And besides, I’ve never been one for crowds, anyway.
Learn to Pack Light(er)
For the past decade, I’ve been enthusiastic about carry-on-only travel. While I’ve mastered fitting everything I need into one piece of carry-on luggage and a personal item, I still struggle with keeping my bags lightweight. In 2018, I’m challenging myself to lighten up with my packing so I can travel even more comfortably. You can be sure I’ll share any tips I pick up along the way.
Be More Outgoing
Confession: Each time I read an article or blog post giving advice about meeting people while traveling solo, I roll my eyes a little. Don’t get me wrong–I enjoy meeting new people…organically. As an introvert, one of the last things I want to do is go out of my way to interact with others. Since I’m stepping out of my comfort zone more this year, being more open as a traveler and as a person certainly applies.
Travel in My Own Backyard
While I am thinking about visiting a few international destinations as well as others here in the United States, there are still so many places close to home I have yet to see. I’ve always believed that you don’t have to go far for fulfilling travel, and this year, I’m putting my money where my mouth is.
As for what happens next, your guess is as good as mine. Even though I’ve always enjoyed planning as part of the travel process, I feel strangely excited that the year ahead is a complete mystery. Excited and, if I’m being honest, just a little bit scared. Each day ahead is filled with possibilities I don’t even know exist and I hope I’m ready for wherever my path leads. Here’s to taking each day as it comes and finding the courage to follow inspiration when it strikes.