A New Year’s Resolutions List For The Traveler

Judith Villarrel at New YearHappy New Year, traveler! You’ve made it through another wonderful year. I’d like you to go ahead and take this moment to think back on all the experiences you had in 2013. Remember the late nights you spent chatting with friends about the future. Remember the new foods you tasted and loved. Remember the people you’ve met along the way that made traveling so much more fun.

As 2013 comes to a close, it’s important to remember all the wonderful things that happened, but it is equally important to look to the future with hopeful eyes. I’ve compiled a short list of New Year’s resolutions that I’d like to accomplish to help me become a better traveller and person in 2014. Feel free to borrow any you like and add them to your own list.

1.     I promise to worry less.

While abroad it’s easy to let the worry bugs crawl into your ear and use your brain as their playground. I remember the night I became infested with worry bugs. As I lay on a stone hard bunk bed in a freezing cold hostel, I stared up at the damp ceiling and let my thoughts run wild. I worried about my life for 2 straight hours. I started to worry if I was at the right place in my life. I worried about where I would be in a year. I worried about who I’d meet and who I’d lose while traveling. I sat up in bed, tired of letting those toxic thoughts gnaw at my mind, and I decided to just let those worries go. It wasn’t hard, and I know in 2014 it won’t be as easy as writing it down on paper. But I’m going to try my best to worry less. Right now my life is complicated and messy, but that’s why I’m traveling. I’m on a journey to figure life out, to figure me out.

2.     I promise to love more.

Last night I called my mom, and I’ve never heard her sound more relieved. “Where have you been, baby girl? We haven’t spoken in a week.” Her words stung more than the tears that fell onto my hands. Had it really been a week since I’ve called my own mother? Life abroad is a whirlwind of new foods, drinks, friends, and adventures. It can be so easy to let your new life swallow you whole and make you forget about the life you used to have. Conversations with old friends back home become few and far between, and pretty soon you’re forgetting birthdays, wedding dates, and anniversaries. I’m embarrassed to say that I fell into this trap, but I promise I will be a better daughter, friend, and sister to my family and friends back home in 2014.

3.     I promise to live in the moment.

There have been too many times to count that I’ve let obsessive thoughts of the future ruin special moments. As a writer and constant planner, my brain is always in overdrive. I think about the future and what it will bring so much that at times it ruins my present. In 2014, I promise to be wary of living in the moment and soaking up all that life has to offer.

4.     I promise to take better care of my body.

I can already hear you, “Oh no. Judith is a New Year’s resolution gym member”. Don’t worry, I’m not vowing to drop 15 pounds or go on any drastic fasts and diets. What I am vowing is to take better care of my body. Maybe I don’t have to have fish cakes and buttery broth every time I pass my favorite street food cart. I promise to stop using the cold weather as an excuse to skip exercising. After all, how can I possible be a good traveller if I’m constantly sick because I’m not taking care of my body?

5.     I promise I won’t pinch pennies when buying new shoes.

Shoes are one of the most important items in a traveler’s arsenal because they keep our wandering feet safe. In Korea where everything is made in 5 minutes or less and costs mere pennies, it’s easy to buy cheap shoes. The problem with these low cost shoes is that the quality is terrible. Sure they might be the cutest shoes you’ve ever seen, but that reasoning will quickly dissipate when the soles fall off your cute shoes. I learned this lesson the hard way. I walk so much in Korea that one day the soles fell completely off my shoes. I was stranded in a bare city with no shoes. What else could I do but wear the scraps of leather on my feet until I could make it all the way into the city for a new pair? Lesson learned. Never buy cheap shoes. I promise to always protect my wandering feet in 2014.

I hope my list inspires you to think about the upcoming year in a new way, and if you have any resolutions you’d like to share with me, leave them in a comment below. I sincerely hope your passing year was wonderful, fellow wanderers, and I wish you all the best for 2014. Make the most of it.

Safe travels,

Judith

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