Year after year we all do it. We make these lofty goals in mid-December for the New Year and poof. By Mid January, gone. Epic fail after epic fail. And one of the main reasons people fail, is the fact people make ridiculously ambitious and difficult resolutions. Hard is relative. But here are a few travel-related resolutions that can easily be fulfilled in the coming 12 months of 2017.
1. I Will Use All of My Vacation Days
Now this is specifically for my U.S. readers. It’s already ridiculous that the average vacation provided by companies is 10 days. But a recent report shows that 55% of Americans don’t take all of their vacation days. I get it, folks. I really do. We are from a hyper-competitive and capitalist culture. But ask yourself, would you be ok if your paycheck was short? Your vacation time is part of your pay. You’ve earned it. You deserve it. So take it.
2. I Will Travel Alone if Necessary
One of the most common excuses I hear from people that don’t travel is they can’t find anyone to go with them. As an avid solo traveler, I began to wonder why in the world would this prevent anyone from traveling. Well, it’s the same reason my friends thought I was crazy for going to the movies alone once a week. We’re conditioned to be pack animals. From the constant pursuit of romantic partners, to travel. We must find someone to “be with”. Well, now’s the time to break the cycle. Solo travel not only is perfectly safe but extremely enjoyable. You can do whatever you want, whenever you want. Move at your own pace. And enjoy the opportunity to break away from the noise of life and discover yourself. Your true self.
3. I Will Get A Passport
All yall, “I’m leaving if Trump becomes President!” folks. Where ya’ll at now? This number keeps bouncing around yearly but the latest reports are saying that only 32% of Americans have passports. If that isn’t ridiculous enough, only 17% of African Americans have passports. I won’t go on a tangent about how the U.S. government should make passports cheaper and easier to get, but I will say cost is prohibitive. Which is why for a couple years now I’ve given away 8 passports a year.
Getting your passport is the first step to exploring the world beyond your borders. A world that’s curious about you and ready to learn about your culture and your struggles. The world is a big place and a passport is a key to unlocking it.
4. I Will Travel Domestically
Domestic travel IS travel. Especially for those living in Europe. Although it’s International travel, the ease of travel in Europe compared to the U.S. and Canada is light years better. For us Americans, it can be just as enriching to explore our own backyards. I’ve said for years; the United States of America is the world’s best travel country. Period.
Start with small trips within our state or province. Then expand out to larger trips. If you’re in the US, do a road trip. To this day I believe that a road trip through the United States is one of the world’s best travel experiences. And it’s right there for you.
5. I Will Research My Destination Beyond Social Media
More travelers are turning to social media for travel information than ever before. Although social media is an excellent supplemental source of information, it shouldn’t be used as your primary source of information. Social media is largely fake. It’s curated and controlled. Rarely are social media accounts curated to provide an entirely impartial view of a place or event. It’s imperative you seek out alternative sources of information. Especially in third world regions where political, social, and economic instability can have dire consequences.
This goes double for members of the LGBTQ community, women, and people of color. I’ll never tell anyone not to go someplace. But what I will say is be aware of what you’re walking into and plan accordingly. Because things are one way in your home country doesn’t mean they’ll be the same in your host country.
6. I Will Be Conscious of My Social and Economic Impact
Knowledge is power. And we have never been more powerful than in 2016/2017. Travel can and should be fun. However, it’s important not to ignore the impact your presence has on developing communities and marginalized peoples. Recognize your passport, social, and economic privilege and use that to make the world better than you found it. Not by preaching at people but asking questions. By understanding the needs and wants of people.
This isn’t to say show up like some privileged superhero. Forcing your sheltered westernized ideas of right and wrong on people. What I’m saying is, help where you can and respect the fact that you are an outsider. For better or worse. And try to minimize the negative impact your presence has.
What are some of your New Year’s resolutions? Travel or otherwise.