Last year, 2019, exceded my expectations and fulfilled many travel dreams I had. I visited Greece, Austria and Turkey for the first time which were all at the top of my list. I also went on my first pilgrimage, walking for 32 days from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to Santiago de Compostela, and did a fair amount of hiking in Czechia and Madrid.
For 2020, I want more of the same and more. These are my 10 travel goals for this year.
1. Visit at least one new country
I cannot visit all the countries I want to see in one year, but I can start with one. I am not doing that bad: 32 countries and counting! These last years I have been pretty good at ticking off at least a couple. I don’t want to have a stiff goal, but I would love to go to Vietnam or Kenya in 2020. (Cross fingers)
2. Try a food I have never heard of
I do not have to have exotic foods, but trying something I have never heard of is top of my list. I like walking into a local restaurant and just point at whatever locals are eating, that’s what I’m talking about. Doing this I’ve ended up having chicken Paprikash in Budapest and having a cheesy zapiekanki in Krakow.
3. Take at least one last minute trip
Sometimes I look at my calendar on a Thursday and realize it is the start of a long weekend and I have no plans. When the conditions (money) allow I like to jump on a train or and go explore some new part of Central Europe. I am open for more of this, and if cheap tickets arise and I have the time I could go elsewhere!
4. See wildlife in their natural habitat
Every time I travel to another country or region one of the first things I google is “wildlife in X region”. Bears, wolves, raccoons, whatever there is I want to know about it. I generally arrive to a place already knowing everything about their conservation projects and the best parks to go see wildlife. There’s nothing like seeing them free and in their natural habitat. The most exciting experience I had was seeing a mama bear and her cub 50 meters away from me in the Norther Cascades in WA.
5. Fly less and take more trains, buses or use my feet instead
This year I want to reduce the impact my choice of transportation has on the environment, but I also want to experience more of the beauty of traveling by public transport or by foot. It gives you a different perspective and more mental space which allows for very different and beautiful connections with the people, places and animals to arise.
6. Get off the grid for at least a weekend
The world is so wonderful when you unplug for a bit and forget about social media, WhatsApp and the million other way people can contact you (+ viceversa). Traveling without being reachable or Instagramming every bit of your day helps you be more here and now. That doesn’t mean it’s not fun and nice to take pictures, notes and later share your experiences with others.
7. Find a breathtaking view and enjoy it
Last year I got to see many breathtaking views from the Vltava River canyons upriver from Prague, the Greek islands from the Athens-Santorini ferry, the Pyrenees from the top and kilometers away, the Spanish meseta, the mountains of Galicia and Lake Atitlán. The nice thing was I managed to put my phone away and enjoy simply being there, breathing it all in and enjoying. There are so many amazing places in the natural world that can help us disconnect from the world to reconnect with ourselves. I want more of this!
8. Party like a local in a new city
Partying is fun, but doing it with locals in different cities is amazing. If I can wedding-crash in a new city again this year I’d be the happiest, but I’d be okay with walking into a local bar somewhere new and joining the fun. As a traveler it’s not always possible to connect with locals, especially with the language barrier, but when it happens it is such a treat.
9. Volunteer while traveling
I have traveled a few times to places where I work in exchange for food, or volunteer in disaster relief. Both were amazing because I wasn’t focused on seeing new places, however through helping others I was able to see and learn more about communities and develop meaningful connections.
10. Travel without a fixed plan
I want to meet people on the way and say yes to all invites to hikes, parties, people’s homes, trips, etc. Nothing like waking up without really knowing where you will end up by the end of that day or who you will end up having heated conversations and parties with. Not having a fixed plan allows for interesting situations to arise and great people to come into your life. I’m so up for it!
Goals in writing are dreams in deadlines! I wish you all an exciting 2020 full of health and good company.