Image credit: Peony Gent
It’s nearly the New Year already! How has this happened? Feels like five minutes since I was gallivanting in South Africa. Anyway, I’ll be spending New Year in Edinburgh once more (I just can’t get enough of it), but before I make the interminable train journey from Cambridge, I thought I’d share my resolutions for the next year. Travel resolutions, that is – nobody wants to hear about the bog-standard drink-less-eat-better-exercise-more rubbish.
Bring travel back home
I’ve started to do this already to a certain extent, but one of the things that I’m keen on doing from now onward is actually exploring the country I live in a bit. Countless Buzzfeed lists and Lonely Planet articles name places in the UK as ‘must-visits’, so who am I to disagree? I’ve lived in the UK for almost my entire life but never explored much beyond my hometown of Cambridge. Never been to Manchester, Liverpool, Belfast or the Peak District; many of the places that tourists will prioritise have barely crossed my mind. Cambridge itself being a hotspot for tourism doesn’t seem a good enough reason not to venture further afield (even if it may mean I develop an allergy to slow-moving pedestrians every time I come home).
Think about impact
There have been a few times in the past where I’ve taken part in activities which in hindsight I should have thought about a bit more. These days, thanks to a lot of online publicity, it’s pretty common knowledge that you should stop and think (and research!) before you go elephant trekking, for example. Obviously it would be great if all cruel practices like this were called out by the Internet as effectively as this has been; however a lack of publicity isn’t a good enough excuse not to put some thought into what you’re doing. So much information is available online, so it’s easy to stay informed about the potential issues associated with your actions – such as the environmental impact of staying in a salt hotel on the salt flats in Bolivia. Some things are more important than getting a good picture for your Instagram feed…
I’ve experienced both ends of the travel spectrum, fitting 7 countries into 26 days while Inter railing in 2012, and spending five months on the same campsite in France or three months living in an apartment in Jaipur. I think it’s definitely best to find a middle ground: a couple of days isn’t enough time to get the feel for a place – so unless I decide I despise it on arrival, I want to make a point of relaxing a bit more. This also means that a place doesn’t just become a box-ticking exercise, where you spend the whole day rushing from tourist spot to tourist spot and end up completely exhausted and looking forward to the train journey to the next place, just so you get a chance to sit down.
Keep up the good habits
There are some things which are par for the course whilst you’re travelling, but would seem incredibly weird if you brought them back home. Like striking up conversations with total strangers, for example. That’s probably not something I’ll take up whilst at uni (people will think I’m weird), but there’s definitely other stuff to take away from how you behave when you’re travelling. Like appreciating your environment, and exploring new opportunities, and caring more about the experiences you have than how you look or who you’re with. That being said, I’m not going to take away the habit of Instagramming my bus journey (I don’t think anyone wants to see filtered pictures of the grey, concrete students’ union building).
Just keep blogging
Pretty self explanatory, but I’m looking forward to continuing to write articles throughout the year instead of neglecting my blog when I’m not out of the country. If I want to really make a career out of writing (which is the current dream), I better start practicing!
So that’s it! And I’ll keep quiet about my ambitions to visit 50 countries before I’m 25… that’s a longer term one, anyway.
Have a happy New Year, wherever you are!