As I reflect upon my past year of travel I realize there are some things I would like to focus on (or rather stop focusing on) while I plan my future adventures for 2014.
1. Stop going to places because the guidebooks tell me to
You should not feel obligated to go somewhere simply because it is in all of the guidebooks and more experienced travelers before you have told you it’s a ‘must-see’. Sometimes I find my best days in a new place are the ones where I simply wander around and stumble upon places and activities I would never have found had I been busy carting myself around according to the guides. In the future I am going to try and see places because I want to explore them – why do we feel the need to consistently recreate other’s adventures? – lets have some that are uniquely our own!
2. Do more independent travel
This past summer was the first time I had the opportunity to do some extensive solo-traveling and I would love to get out there and do some more! It was frustrating at times (no one to watch your luggage while you used the restroom to name one and getting your luggage on and off multiple trains a day to name another) but also an extremely rewarding experience. Traveling alone allowed me to meet new people and make the friends I would not have normally made had I already been traveling with mine.
3. Stop feeling the need to see every single place I hear and read about
There’s plenty of time! Honestly, I am extremely lucky to have been able to experience all of the travel opportunities I have had in my 25 years. Really anywhere I am able to go and any new places I am able to see and experience from here on out will be an amazing added bonus. For the times when travel just isn’t an option there is always great travel writing. “I don’t read great travel writing to say, at the conclusion, “I want to go there!” I read travel writing to feel, at the conclusion, I have now been there.” –Elizabeth Gilbert, Introduction to The Best American Travel Writing 2013
4. Take better advantage of my long weekends
It might sound easy but I have been living in Madrid for the past four months and have not seen as much as the surrounding country as I had hoped I would. I am in no way discounting the importance of getting to know the city in which you are currently living but I do feel like it is not time for me to hop on a train at least once or twice a month!
5. Find happiness in exploring my own ‘backyard’
I’ve come to the realization that I am now more familiar with and comfortable getting around more cities in Europe than I am maneuvering through my home city of Boston. The summer of 2014 will bring about the end of my studies and with it the end of my time in Europe (for the short-term anyway). Due to this I think it is high time I became accustomed to and excited about spending some time in the place where I grew up. I would also love to see more of North America. Oh the road-trips to be had!
Here are some inspirational travel resolutions that my friends and family have shared with me:
“I want to hike through the Alps”
“I would love to travel around South East Asia or South America!”
“I want to road trip across the Southern United States”
“I want to go to Istanbul”
“I would like to spend more time traveling to visit family and friends”
“This year I want to try to go to at least one major music festival”
What are your travel resolutions for 2014? Feel free to share them in the comments section below! Feeling adventurous? StudentUniverse offers tour packages for countries all around the world and don’t forget the many deals that are available to students.