The year has just begun, ladies and gentlemen, but resolutions have already been broken. That's just what you and I do, right? On the night of December 31, I promise myself that I will be the best version of me beginning the following day, but I end up failing, without fail year after year.
This year again I have taken a pledge to be different, but this time my resolutions are ones that I will actually love to keep. These resolutions will help me become a better traveller and consequentially a better person without me even trying.
I'm sharing this golden list with all of you in the hope that it will help you liberate yourself, resulting in more travel.
So, here are 13 travel resolutions for 2018 that you won't mind keeping:
1. Don't listen to your parents. Travel more than you did last year
That's precisely what the dream is, right? Personally, I have always wanted to live out of my suitcase, but the drudgeries of corporate life are such that all I manage is a handful of trips over a few weekends. Whenever I have gone for trips extending beyond a couple of days, people have assumed that I've quit my job and am mostly worthless. This year, I plan to stop paying heed to what people say and start travelling more often.
And if you want your first trip of the year to be free, participate in our ongoing contest.
2. Go outside your own country
How long will you continue visiting Manali and Ooty with your family every summer? Have you already lost count of the number of times you've gone from Delhi and Mumbai and back, just because it seems like the most convenient thing to do? I hate to break it to you but India is just one of the 196 countries in this world. There is so much more you can see and do abroad than just your own country. Promise yourself to go off the shore this year.
3. Don't feel guilty about splurging on your stay
We have got used to making do with "decent hotels". Coming from a middle-class family, every time we went out of my city during my childhood, we either ended up at a distant uncle's place or a "decent hotel" that was paid for by my father's employer, thanks to the company policies. I do understand that it's economically viable to stay at substandard places, but once in a while it's a good idea to go out and splurge on luxury hotels. Trust me, they're worth it since they completely transform your overall memories of a trip from good to great. And anyway, the feeling of coming back to sleep on a great bed after a tiresome day of exploring a new city is amazing.
The next time you go to Goa, check out these luxury places instead of "decent ones".
4. Travel solo to get to know yourself better
We live our mundane lives in the hope of an exciting future. We don't do anything different today, because we believe that we'll plan better to do the same tomorrow. But the fact of life is that that tomorrow never comes. Similarly, if you have always been thinking about travelling solo "sometime in the future", do it already. Being a solo traveller liberates your soul and makes you more independent in life. It gifts you the confidence that few other things can offer. Most importantly, it gives you the time that you need with just yourself and no one else. You can ponder over life and do whatever you feel like. Trust me, it's not difficult; it's just overestimated.
5. Stop being intimidated and go on a mountain trek
Take my word, a mountain trek is not tough when planned well. Moreover, since every "touristy" hill station is now crowded and displays similar scenes and culture as everywhere else, it is up to us to go for places that provide us with something extra. Himalayan treks are a sure-shot way of experiencing a new world. When planning your first trek, trust the best trekking organisations – such as Indiahikes – since they organise such expeditions for groups and take care of everything in advance.
6. Take a trip with just your mother
She deserves it more than anyone else you know. This is the travel resolution you must give priority to since your mother is the most selfless human being when it comes to anything associated with you. You keep on taking vacations and weekend road trips with friends while she just waits for you to come back to plant a kiss on your forehead. She does everything for you and the entire family, and hence she rarely has time for herself, let alone to travel. This year, it's your turn to plan a trip from scratch for just the two of you to spend time together. She won't forget it.
If you need any more reasons, read this heartwarming story.
7. Document your journey
"Wow, dude, you are going to McLeod Ganj?! You should totally go to that Italian cafe in Dharamkot!"
"Sure, bro. What's the name of that cafe?"
"I don't remember the name of the cafe, but their pizzas are awesome."
Don't you just hate such people? They get you excited and then burst your bubble. Yes, I know that that Italian cafe is great; but which Italian cafe are you talking about, my friend?! For all I know, there are a thousand cafes in McLeod Ganj and I will never find the one with the "awesome pizzas." In order to refrain from forgetting about such special places, you should make it a point to document your journeys. It does sound tedious, but it's really helpful for your future. You can recommend uncommon places to your friends, and more importantly you are constantly filling up a chest of memories. Yes, you already click pictures. Yes, you already shoot videos. But in due time, you are bound to forget where you did all those things. Hence, keep a record of these things the next time you go on a trip. Trust me, it'll bring a smile on your face when you revisit your records sometime in the future.
By the way, Tripoto is the best place to document your journeys on the internet. Tripoto's mobile app lets you save your photos and videos real-time so you can create stories out of them without any effort. You can try it right now. It's really useful.
8. Go the extra mile
This point shall hit you hard almost instantly. Most of us have been conditioned in such a way that visiting an alien destination is a taboo for more than a couple of days. We are always rushing to the next destination in order to utilise our travel time better. But what we don't realize in the midst of our haste is that we grossly compromise on the quality of our experience in the endeavour of maximising quantity. Indians are brought up with the fundamental thought of measuring RoI (Return on Investment) based on only numbers (money). And since Indians are innately "tourists" and not "travellers," the aim of our holidays becomes to visit as many places as possible in a given period of time instead of spending as much time as possible at one place. If you do the former, you hardly get a feel of the true flavour of a place. You can only enjoy an alien land once you invest some time there. For this very reason, you always need to go the extra mile.
Check out this piece to understand this point better.
9. Send your parents on a couple trip
As I already said, our parents have spent more than half their lives in pursuit of giving us a better future. Thanks to their tireless working towards that aim, they never really get the time to actually stop and care about themselves (and about each other). Even their private conversations revolve around their children. To ensure that they get some time off from their mundane lives, send your parents on a couple trip so they can enjoy and reminisce about their carefree youth, at least for a while.
Start now by checking out some great destinations for them.
10. Do not cancel plans if your friends do
You aren't alone if you have friends that cancel travel plans at the very last moment. There have been innumerable times when I have been left high and dry on a Friday evening, when my friend suddenly called up to bail on our weekend trip. Gradually I realised that there is no way that my plans will match those of my friends every time, and hence I decided to go ahead with the original plan. That's precisely how I began my solo journeys, and trust me I haven't enjoyed group travels as much ever since.
If you find this outrageous, check out this document by a solo female traveller.
11. Travel to some place exotic
Aren't all hill stations the same? Every goddamn place has somehow got a "Mall Road" and people selling momos and coffee by the roadside. I still can't distinguish between Shimla and Manali, even if my life depended on it. Kasol, Varkala and Malana have a similar hippie culture going on about them. In fact, I personally feel that the most "offbeat" places are in fact the most "mainstream" in current times. It is time you experienced a completely different culture altogether. It is time that you witness some place exotic, and not somewhere that the popular travel packages can take you. Start by checking out what this guy did on his trip to Egypt and not by what your neighbour did on his trip to Bangkok.
12. Spend a day with a local
Continuing with what I was saying in point 8, the easiest possible way to go the extra mile is to spend some time with a passionate native of that particular place. By "passionate native", I mean a person who's neither a tour guide nor somebody who has an ulterior motive in showing you around. And before you snap and say that such people hardly exist, the picture that you see above is of such a noble person, who avid traveller Kamakshi Pal met at the stunning Shri Hemkunt Sahib gurudwara in Uttarakhand, and ended up making her journey several notches more memorable. If you actually do have the will to explore an erstwhile alien place, you will definitely find a local who will go to any length to fulfil your wish.
Check out this story to understand this better.
13. Spend at least a night in a camp
If you are yet to stay in a "five-billion star hotel", a big chapter still remains unread for you to graduate with your traveller's degree. By a five-billion star hotel, I am alluding to staying overnight in a camp with nothing but the sky above you. If you look at the face of it, camping is nothing but a lump of inconvenience in times where you can book hotels so easily online. But that's precisely what the irony is of the world. Because internet has made the world drastically smaller than before, no place is secluded anymore. There are people thronging to every little nook and corner of the world because everywhere is accessible now. During these dire times, camping is probably the only remaining puritanical way left to travel. You travel with a tent and you set it up at the most beautiful place you can spot. The whole world becomes your oyster when you are willing to explore beyond the trodden paths.
To experience camping for the first time, participate in the Indiahikes contest and win a gorgeous weekend trek to Nag Tibba. Go ahead!
This year, do something different for a change. This year, be a better traveller. Have you got travel resolutions of your own? Do share those with us too.