2018 is almost upon us, and with the arrival of a new year comes everyone's favorite thing: the impossible task of coming up with resolutions for the next 12 months. If you're anything like me, resolutions stress you the f*ck out, because it can feel like you're trying to come up with ideas out of thin air. But I've found that it helps to hone in on a sphere of your life that often goes ignored. For example, you could create a list of
travel resolutions for 2018, because who wouldn't benefit from a little more wanderlust in life?
When you focus on travel as a point of emphasis, your whole world opens up (pun intended). And, mind, you, travel doesn't have to be expensive or exhausting. In fact, if you take the time to prioritize and plan for it, you can get the satisfaction of travel without the stress of flying across the world or spending thousands of dollars. Unless you want to fly across the world, in which case, right on, girl.
In a world that has become increasingly politically divisive and intolerant, nothing can help bridge the gaps of empathy faster than immersing yourself in different cultures and languages, or even getting to know a different "universe" inside of the culture you currently live in. Here are 10 travel resolutions for 2018 that will satisfy your wanderlust, regardless of your budget.
Visit A Non-English-Speaking Country
Pick a country that does not use English as its primary language (or even its secondary one, if you can stand it). Visiting places where you cannot speak the native tongue forces you to be more aware of your surroundings, to make a true and concerted effort to communicate with others, and to rethink how you approach everything, from food to tourism, and everything in between.
Going to a place where you can't get away with the "Do you speak English?" question will open your eyes and expand your horizons in the most fantastically cliché way possible.
Take That Long-Awaited, Cross-Country Road Trip
If you haven't driven across the country yet, it has to be on your list for 2018. The United States is larger than you can probably imagine, filled with varying climates, historic landmarks, and unique social environments. A cross-country trip is a great excuse to spend time with siblings, parents, or good friends — as long as you can stand to spend a few 10-hour days in the car with them.
Bonus points for every diner, roadside rest stop, and pull-off you check out on the way to your destination.
Visit A Nationally Sanctioned Park
You don't have to buy a plane ticket to visit a national park. There's at least
one national park or historic site in every single state in the United States, which means that you're within hours of one at this very moment. A great long-term goal is to visit as many national parks as you can over the course of your life.
The preservation and conservation of nationally protected areas is a crucial aspect of our society. It keeps us connected to our history, and cognitive of our effects on the environment, which is important now more than ever. The best way to understand this importance is to visit a national park and gain a greater understanding for
why we need to protect the sanctity of these areas. 04
Discover A Hidden Gem In Your Own State
Pick a dive bar, coastline, or otherwise famous/infamous spot in your home state. There's only one rule: It has to be somewhere you've never been before, and you get bonus points if you've never even
heard of this spot prior to visiting.
We tend to fantasize traveling as far away as humanly possible, but the truth is that we usually don't even know the full possibilities available to us at home. In 2018, take a second look at your surroundings before deciding to hop on a plane and fly far away.
Take An Overnight Ride On A Train
You know that famous line about journeys being more important than destinations? It's freaking true, and you should find out for yourself just how true it is in the new year.
Pick a form of transportation you don't usually take, and take it. Trains are an especially romantic form of travel, and there are even grants for writers so that they can
write for free on trains.
Soak up some of that artistic mojo for yourself, and opt for a train the next time you need to go somewhere.
Plan A Volunteer-Focused Trip
It doesn't have to be miserable to plan a vacation that requires you to do a bit of work. It all depends on what type of work you're doing, right?
For example, you could
volunteer at an elephant sanctuary in Thailand, or if you're looking for a months-long trip, you could find a program to teach English as a second language in dozens of countries across the world. The only thing better than a stellar vacation is the sense of accomplishment you'll get from contributing to the world. 07
Visit A Place That Might Vanish In Your Lifetime
Countless places around the world might not be here in 50 years. From the Great Barrier Reef in Australia to Glacier National Park in Montana, there are several
protected natural areas that are expected to disappear, crumble, or shrink significantly in the coming decades. This is the perfect excuse to start knocking off threatened areas on your list, and to maybe consider advocating on behalf of the preservation of those areas. 08
Plan A Trip Around An Animal Sanctuary
If you're a big animal-lover, plan a trip around seeing or interacting with an exotic animal that you totally love.
However, it's important that you pick a sanctuary or organization that isn't harming animals through this interaction. Just like any industry, there are ethical and non-ethical
companies looking to make money off exotic animals. Pick a non-exploitative organization that can confirm it isn't harming animals (whether wild or inside a preserve) in their efforts to get you close to them. 09
Pick A Cuisine And Visit That Country
Do you love Thai food? Plan your next visit to Thailand.
A cuisine-focused trip is an excellent way to narrow down your options, and it's also a really creative and unusual way to plan your itinerary once you're in that area. You might consider creating a list of local dishes to try once you get there, or a list of restaurants you've heard about.
Visit A Climate That's The Opposite Of Where You Live
If you live in a part of the world where it's gross and blustery for eight months out of the year, head toward the sun. If you live somewhere that's warm all the time, consider planning a ski trip or visiting a country with chillier sights to behold.
Iceland is a super popular destination for millennial travel right now, filled with beautiful icebergs and natural fjords that are sure to take your breath away.