This is not your usual travel bucket list, where Mt. Everest, Aurora Borealis, and Oktoberfest are sure to be in the line-up. Most of these, in fact, can be made right in your hometown, or at least would simply ask for just a bit of gas money and, of course, one’s own resourcefulness.
You see, goal-setting for this year poses a bit of a challenge for me. As I have recently made the leap from being a corporate bee back to a penny-pinching student, I needed to be more creative this year with quenching my wanderlust, without draining my savings.
The more I gave it thought, the more I realized that there is no reason why travel goals should be restricted to globetrotters. What draws me to travel in the first place is having my eyes opened each time to a novel experience, exchanging ideas with people from different backgrounds and mindsets, being proven wrong by what I formerly thought were impossible. It is with this spirit that I have come up with the list below, for the wanderers like myself who are grounded for the moment. Backpackers are among the most resourceful and imaginative people I’ve met, and I do hope you get very far with the suggestions I’ve offered below. Ready, set, roam!
- Try 5 foreign cuisines that you have never tried before.
- Send out 12 postcards or hand-written letters.
- Watch 3 foreign films.
- Watch the sunrise and/or sunset from different viewpoints.
- Learn a foreign language (or better yet, get certified for it).
- Read 3 books written by foreign authors, or with stories set in a country you’re not familiar with.
- Share your experiences through online reviews of your favorite landmarks, restaurants or hangouts in travel forums such as TripAdvisor, Lonely Planet, etc.
- Find 10 new hangouts in your city.
- Do something that scares you. (Scared of heights? Try riding a roller coaster. Stage fright got your tongue? Perform in a local production. You get the idea.)
- Volunteer to be a local tour guide. The seemingly little insider info you know may go a long way!
- Visit 3 unusual museums (they don’t need to be massive, just a bit bizarre, like these).
- Learn 10 basic words/phrases in 10 different languages, and use each at least once with other people.
- Join a language learning group as a teacher, or volunteer in a language camp.
- Learn a new sport.
- Master a new skill.
- Tap into your inner Brandon Stanton and aim to get to know a complete stranger, one each day. (You don’t have to walk away as BFF’s, even just a sincere chat during your commute would do!)
- What’s your favorite holiday? Learn about how other countries celebrate the same day, and see if you’re up to adopting a new tradition.
- Host an Around-the-World dinner in your house, with dishes from different cuisines.
- Watch 5 different local matches (ie. football, basketball, skijumping, etc.) live.
- Sing karaoke in public.
- Learn sign language.
- Attend 5 new festivals or celebrations (Small towns usually are havens of wacky festivals, and you may stumble into one of your homeland’s best-kept secrets!)
- Watch 3 gigs for music that you normally don’t listen to.
- Take a mode of transportation you have never taken before (ex. long-haul train, ship, hot-air balloon, anything goes!)
- Spend a night in a treehouse, igloo, or just an outright bizarre hotel.
And if you do decide to treat yourself with that one-off splurge, see if you can add any of the suggestions below:
- Travel to X number of new cities/countries.
- See a childhood hero (ie. athlete, movie star, etc.) in the flesh.
- Buy a ticket to a random destination and go.
- Visit the location of a favorite TV show, movie, or historic event.
- Whisk yourself off to a continent you’ve never been to before.
Do you have more travel goal suggestions? Don’t be shy — do let me know in the comments! Happy 2017!