Of course, every year there are places that I’d like to go, but where the time isn’t quite right – places like Antarctica, which is going to take a little bit more saving before I can set foot on its icy shore. But there are also the places which are much more achievable, sometimes even definites. This year’s USA summer road trip was a perfect example of that – it had been in the diary for almost two years by the time it came around.
This year is a little bit different.
I’m a planner. I’ve always been a planner. I like to know what I’m going to do and when I’m going to do it – something that anyone who’s travelled with me is well aware of. I think this comes from being busy. So often, I have to fit the various parts of my life together like a finely-constructed jigsaw (work, my various writing projects, my travel, this blog – not to mention family, friends, and home responsibilities). The upshot of this is that I’ve become a planner. An itineriser. A list-maker. (Because seriously – who doesn’t love a good list?)
Every year, one of my goals is to be more spontaneous with my travels. I’m not very good at it. I tend to find that if I don’t plan something, it doesn’t get done.
This year, I have to be more spontaneous. This year, my life is full of unknowns. I’ve got unconfirmed writing projects and lots of things without dates attached. For someone like me, this is a little bit stressful – not because it’s actually a problem, but just because I’m not used to it.
Consequently, I’m going to have to be less tied to an itinerary and to take my travel opportunities as and when they come along.
That said, I still have a few travel aspirations for the coming year. (See? The list-maker in me just can’t be held down!)
Last year it was Morocco and Canada. This year, I’m looking at Jordan, Cambodia, Vietnam and maybe also Iceland.
I also like to explore new parts of countries I’ve already visited.
As yet, I don’t have any specific plans for places to rediscover in 2017, but I would love to head back to America / Canada either in 2017, or into the start of 2018. (Wow, that feels a long way away…)
I’d also like to travel a bit more in Europe, as I didn’t really do any European exploration in 2016, and I’ve missed those cultural experiences.
And of course, I’d like to see more of the UK as well. Like a lot of people, I still have so many places in my own country that I’ve yet to see. I’d love to explore more of Scotland, and to spend more time out and about in my own back yard. (When your back yard is the Lake District, that’s certainly no hardship…)
As with every year, I’d like to travel with friends and also travel solo.
For some people, travelling solo is a scary concept. For others, they wouldn’t travel any other way.
As for me, I like to change things up a bit. For me, variety is the spice of life. In 2016, I travelled solo, with friends, and with family. All three offer something different, and I wouldn’t give up any of them.
In 2017, I’m hoping to travel with a friend to Jordan. I’m hoping that my trip to Cambodia will be a solo trip (maybe joining a small group tour for some of the more dangerous areas of the country). I also want to do some solo exploration of the UK.
As for travelling with family – who knows what that will throw up?
The bottom line of my travel goal is simple: to travel.
I know that sounds obvious, but sometimes, I think it’s worth remembering. In all the excitement of choosing exotic countries to visit, and booking flights or planning expeditions, it’s easy to lose sight of the fundamental principles behind all my travels: to see new things, to open my eyes, to learn.
No matter where I go or how I get there, this is something I need to keep at the forefront of my mind, both in 2017 and in the years beyond.
Happy New Year – and may 2017 be a year of spectacular new horizons!