Don't let life whizz you by. Make some promises this January to ensure amazing adventures for the rest of the year...
1. I will try something new
Cycling, microlighting, baking, batiking, paddle-boarding, perfume-making, coasteering – whatever! In 2018 I will have a go at something I’ve never done before. It may be something that helps me delve into a destination and understand what makes it tick, or it may be something that challenges me and takes me out of my comfort zone, or it may simply be just jolly good fun.
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2. I will put down my devices and LOOK
Yes, I will travel with a smartphone and a camera. But I won’t bury my head in them at all times. Some days I will leave them back at the hotel; I will head out to explore without a pre-ordained plan or access to Google maps. I will look at the view/monument/marketplace through my eyes, not a lens.
3. I will use more local guides
Yes, I can explore on my own. But sometimes – if not all times – I will explore with a local guide, who will better bring the place to life for me, and likely point out things I would never have known or noticed. And, if I meet a really good guide, I’ll be sure to nominate them for the 2018 Wanderlust World Guide Awards!
4. I will remember to look up
I will reengage with the night sky. There’s a growing recognition that such a thing might be good for me: apparently, all the unnatural light of big cities disrupts our daily rhythms, and is associated with processes that may result in chronic disease. So, I will prescribe myself a regular dose of dark skies – be they in Northumberland or Namibia. I will learn some of the constellations. I will even try to sleep out under them.
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A mini camping adventure (Shutterstock)
5. I will have a microadventure
I will not mope when I’m not travelling. Instead, I will fill gaps between the big trips with microadventures – whether that means camping (carefully) atop the hill near my house, swimming down a nearby river or going for a hike in the dark.
7 tips for planning a mini adventure
6. I will avoid plastic
Plastic is polluting every corner of our planet, and is already causing problems to marine wildlife and the environment as well as having potential impact on our health. I will take a refillable water bottle with me whenever I travel. I will eschew single-use plastics, whether it be water bottles, drinking straws or carrier bags.
7. I will connect with local people
More companies are offering opportunities to meet local people and have an immersive local experience. And with the rise of organisations such as Airbnb and HouseTrip, and with the emergence of in-home dining (where local people host a dinner party for a group of travellers), there are new ways to engage with local people in foreign countries. I will embrace these opportunities to get a different take on a destination.
"I will connect with local people" (Shutterstock)
8. I will know my rights
If things go pear-shaped, I will know what to do about it. I’ll gen up on my rights in the instance of my flight being delayed or cancelled; I'll memorise my bank's emergency phone number in case my card gets stolen; I'll carry my EHIC and know what it covers; I’ll take out good travel insurance and know how to claim on it.
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9. I will travel light
I will endeavour to pack all I need into my hand luggage – to avoid extra airline fees, but also to help me be more spontaneous; it’ll also teach me to be creative with one pair of shorts, one T-shirt and a sarong! And even if I don't go that extreme, I will ensure that my bag is light enough to easily transport, and will relish the freedom of less weight.
Packing tips for the trip of a lifetime
Antarctica: your trip of a lifetime? (Shutterstock)
10. I will seize the day
I won’t put off that trip of a lifetime. Even if that means saving up all year, I’ll book my dream adventure in 2018. After all, you don’t regret the things you do, just the things you don’t. No excuses. This is the year!
See our 2018 Hotlist for inspiration
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11. I will learn more phrases
I will not travel anywhere without learning at least five phrases in the local language: ‘hello’, ‘please’, ‘thank-you’, ‘yes’ and, maybe, ‘where is the bar?’.
5 things I wish I'd known before learning a language overseas
12. I will go solo
If I can’t find someone to travel with, I won’t wait until I do – I’ll travel on my own. And if I am travelling with someone else, I’ll find time on that trip to make a moment just for me – be it a day-trip away or an hour for a coffee – so I can travel without compromise and bond with the place by myself.
First time travelling solo – advice
Main image: (Shutterstock)