A to Z of Destinations
Australia, NZ and South Pacific
A to Z of Experiences
Walking and trekking
Diving and snorkelling
Wildlife and safaris
Meet the locals
Frontier and expedition
Cycling and Mountain Biking
Visiting the Poles
Career breaks and BIG trips
Body and soul
Volunteer and conservation
Australia, East Coast
Everest Base Camp
Aurora Borealis/Northern Lights
Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian railway
Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail
Cruising the Nile, Egypt
28th December 2011
New Year. New resolutions. Travel closer to home this year and make the most of what's around you, says Wanderlust blogger Alastair Humphreys
Father Christmas might have brought you a few new travel books to fire your enthusiasm for adventure. You might be planning new journeys, new discoveries in all sorts of wonderful places (my 2012 wish list: Antarctica...). I hope you are!
But this is a plea not to neglect discovering new places closer to home. Last year I deliberately did not go on any major overseas trips: I dedicated the whole year to exploring my own country. I called it a Year of Microadventure. To my surprise, it was a wonderful experience.
The key for me was to stop thinking of my country as a place I knew, lacking in those surprising new discoveries that make independent travel so magical. Once I did that my eyes were opened to a country as beautiful, historical and culturally diverse as any on the planet: my own.
So buy a guidebook for your own country, and make a resolution to spend some time exploring it this year. Travel with the same open attitude that you do when you are on the other side of the planet: a curiosity to try new things and a willingness to chat to strangers about life.
You can travel as cheaply as you like, from hitch-hiking and wild camping, all the way up to hotels and the new explosion of posh campsites. Switch off your phone and your email and immerse yourself in places like the ones listed below.
In Scotland you are allowed to camp anywhere you want, within reason. The money this saves and the breakfast views it gives you easily cover the cost of driving around for a week. Hire a car, chuck a tent in the boot, and go. Skye and Shetland are two fantastic places I visited last year.
Britain has some excellent long-distance trails. Slow down your life and immerse yourself in the detail of the landscape. Try the South or North Downs Way, the Pembrokeshire or South West coastal paths, or the remote hike to the wild Cape Wrath in northern Scotland.
If you love wild places but hate camping then you need to experience staying in Scotland’s network of bothies. There are some absolute hidden gems, far too magical to share with you here! You’ll just have to go discover them for yourself. Have a look here for more information about the world of Scottish bothies.
When in Bangkok or Belmopan, independent travellers think nothing of staying put in one city for a while. Explore the markets, seek out little cafes, get some brain spinach in the museums and galleries. Why not do the same in the UK? Websites such as Guardian Home Exchange allow you to swap homes with someone who lives somewhere really different to your own normality.
Ditch the big city for a small village for a week, or vice versa. This is a ploy that will be infinitely more rewarding if you pledge a week of no TV, no phone calls and no internet.
I confess that I have never done it, but I love the idea of getting a few friends and pootling so slowly down Britain’s canal network for a few days. It may not be cool, but then again neither am I! Slowing down for a while is always a good thing. But I also suspect that it could give a really interesting and different perspective on my own country.
Suggestions welcome for other places, please: I am aware that I barely scratched the south-west, Wales or Northern Ireland...
Check out more blogs from Alastair Humphreys here | Contributors... More
New Year's resolutions for travel | Destinations... More
Top 10 best places I have never been to | Inspire me... More
25 things to do in wild Scotland | Inspire me... More
My New Year's resolutions: change my travel attitude | Advice... More
Check out our UK travel guide for more advice and inspiration | Plan a trip... More
View all posts from
You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login or get more from Wanderlust - register today!
United Kingdom travel guide, United Kingdom tourism and travel information including facts, maps, culture, transport, weather in United Kingdom, and popular pla
Want to break away from the crowds and visit rural Andean communities on your journey to Machu Picchu? Try a 'community trek' from the village of Lares
Scale a volcano, discover a lost village, and hike through eerie lava landscapes on the small-but-spectacular island of Tenerife
Christmas means different things to people around the world. Check out what blogger Alastair Humphreys experienced on his six Christmases away from home
Wanderlust blogger Alastair Humphreys has begun his row across the Atlantic. Before he left, he revealed what he thinks he'll miss the most
Choosing a destination for your next BIG trip is a difficult decision to make, says Wanderlust blogger Alastair Humphreys...
Simply select the destination you’re interested in or the activities you’re looking
for and we’ll send your request to a select panel of tour operators.
Each operator will respond to your request individually. Your details remain private
and are not disclosed to any partners unless you decide to proceed with a booking.
Save up to £600 per couple on a holiday of a lifetime to the Galapagos with Llama Travel
Save up to £600 per couple on a holiday of a lifetime to Costa Rica with Llama Travel
Best value Northern Lights offer yet
Wanderlust sends out regular email newsletters – be the first to know about web
exclusives, competitions, hot offers and travel jobs. Register today!
I have read and agree to the Terms &
Where in the world are you? Add
#wanderlustmag to your tweets and share your latest travel adventures with
fellow Wanderlusters on wanderlust.co.uk
Get to know Wanderlust on facebook and bring all your travel-minded friends, too