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Travel Resolutions for the New Year

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It’s the New Years again and we already cannot wait to leave struggletown. Be it school or work, I see you secretly planning your travel destinations come next break and when to cash in those vacation days!

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“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors.”

– Terry Prachett, A Hat Full of Sky

Traveling is a huge part of many of our lives, or at least we’d like it to be. And why not? Discovering foreign places gives us new perspective and helps us grow spiritually. Moreover, traveling breeds adaptability, independence and tolerance, especially when we are faced with adverse conditions during little adventures.

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To be on the move is our only constant, and optimising these travel experiences should be top on our list. Of course, dreaming up your next trip is far from actualising it, but all that is about to change

Here are 6 travel resolutions to keep this New Year.

1)  Make plans.

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Make big plans that span months to conceive and small ones that take hours to complete. Find brackets of free time to plan your travels around. Make plans to see a few countries this year. Include your own.

See also: 26 most EPIC festivals around the world

Mash these plans together and detail them. Introduce the icky technical specificities into your plans even if it is much easier to procrastinate.

Come up with ways to finance your discovery of the big, beautiful world. Start off by creating a travel fund and deposit 10% of your savings each month. Make this a habit and stick to the programme. Some days it might seem easier to forsake the plan and spend your scrimped dollar on the newest iPhone instead, although we know barely anything has changed with the latest model. Don’t give in.

Take baby steps towards depositing more each month. Uber less and give Starbucks a miss this time round. Baby steps. Remember that you will be on a plane to softer sands and snow in no time.

Budget wisely. If you are unsure how to travel on a budget, tap into the cyber-world of budget guides. The internet is your oyster.

2) Document.
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Keep a notebook and document everything while you are on the move. Write, sketch, even paint in your travelogue. Press tender flower petals into its pages. Try creating a travel visual diary. Experience the moment, savour it, and reflect on it.

See also: Guide to creating your own travel visual diary

Discover new purpose in the sunrise from Dragon’s Back, or the explosion of flavour in the best tonkatsu you have ever tasted. You will be surprised by the new ideas you can get on your travels. Execute the good ones and harvest those in progress. Constantly better yourself with nuggets of knowledge that come with your little adventures.
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Take photos. Moments are fleeting but a picture will last forever. Word of caution: Do not get too carried away with trying to capture that Instagram-perfect shot and miss out on relishing the present. Rather, focus on taking a photo that will best encompass the vibe of the moment so that you can relive the memory years from now.

3) Declutter.

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Keep another notebook. Write about the inane things that have been bothering you. Write about the big things. Include great detail. Immortalise these awful memories in bright red ink on paper. Let the ink bleed sometimes for dramatic effect. Try to fill every page of the book till it bores you to talk about it.
When you are done, dispose of it. Burn it even if you cannot bear to, you don’t need that kind of negativity in your life. I promise you will feel better after.
Declutter when you travel as well. Invest in a packing organiser so it will be easy to find things when you are on-the-go. Travel light and rid of material excess– donate things you no longer need or have outgrown. Alternatively, sell your junk and put your money in your travel fund. Only buy the things you really need.

4) Leave.

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Leave your emotional baggage behind. It is a new year. Forgive hardness in mouths and forget unkindness. Pry the clammy fingers of Regret and What-Ifs and hush echoes of raised voices as they bounce off walls you have built in your pretty little head. Leave the emotional baggage. There is no need for that where you are going.

Don’t leave your physical baggage behind though. You need that when you travel. Especially not at the airport. When Katy Perry said you were a firework she didn’t mean leave false alarms around for the bomb squad.

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Then, leave. Pick a day, choose a place and book a ticket.

On the plane, you will feel uncomfortable. Remember that discomfort is a by-product of growth. Let the feeling come and go. Before you know it, you’re in a different land. You have already left. Too late now, eh? Since you’re here, take in the different smells and foreign faces.

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Leave your comfort zone and do something you have never done before. Ski, skydive for the first time, or even do the world’s highest bungee.

5) Unplug.

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It is important to stay connected but learn how to unplug at will. Get off your phone for a day, then two. Don’t get a SIM card in the next country you visit. If you want to up the ante on this one, invest in a cheap disposable 35mm film camera for these tech-cleanse days. #filmisnotdead
Try to do without Google Maps. You might get lost.
Know that it is okay to get lost.
Ask a local for help. Both of you will gesture madly and passionately. Don’t get frustrated. Laugh.

6) Be present.

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Make friends with the local. Ask him out for a drink. Arrange to meet at a time and place and make it. Set out an hour early. You don’t have Google Maps.
Notice the wrinkles by the corners of his eyes. Ask about his family. Listen.
Notice his accent and the way he curls his Rs but occasionally omits his Ls. Wonder if all the people in this country do the same. Find out.
Resolve to unwrap the present like the gift that it is this year. Travel smart, eat heartily, stay curious. Make traveling a sustainable habit and keep growing your mind and soul, Child of the Universe, Lover of the Earth, Dreamer, Wanderer, Explorer.
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