Happy New Year! 2015 is here! The New Year symbolizes new beginnings. I can’t help but reflect on the past year to learn from my mistakes, remember past events (the good and the bad), and take positive lessons from things that were even beyond my control. I realize that many people don’t believe in resolutions, and I agree with the sentiment that we should try to live and learn on a daily basis, always seeking self-improvement with the goal of being happy in life. With that said, I definitely see the New Year as having endless possibilities for a fresh start. There are a few areas where I’d like to change for the better and I’m happy to share these with you. I consider these to be my New Years resolutions for travel and life in 2015. The first ties in directly with this blog post…
Be more personal in my writing
I love writing about destinations, the places Justin and I visit together, the vegan food that we eat, and our adventures. I started this travel blog so it could serve as one giant memory of our times together. Rather than keeping a personal written journal (which I still do on some occasions), I liked the idea of pairing words with photographs, and sharing our stories so other people could plan their trips from them. Somewhere in the mix, I lost a bit of the personal side of things. I became really focused on becoming a “more professional” sounding travel writer, taking some of our personal stories out of the equation. My articles became based primarily in fact – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing when it comes to planning vacations. I love reading about itineraries, places to visit, tours to take, and places to eat when I’m planning my holidays. However, some of my favorite things about reading travel blogs is learning about the people behind the blogs. I like reading their personal stories, whether they are about their experiences in a destination or their own life lessons. I’d like to incorporate my own personality back into my writing more often, sharing travel-related stories even when I’m not traveling (Justin and I both work full time in the Toronto area and travel on a part-time basis). I may also incorporate more opinion pieces into the blog, such as my views about certain tourist traps involving animals of which I’m not a fan.
Live on my own terms more often
This one might seem like a no-brainer to some people. Let me explain: I used to be incredibly worried about taking time off work due to what my employer might think. I work as a freelancer at a media company, though I work full time hours. This means that I don’t get benefits or paid vacation, though I am technically allowed to book off whatever time I’d like. Justin works at the same job with me (this is how we met). I used to only book off time during certain times of the year with the fear that I would somehow be punished if I made lengthy vacation plans at the wrong times, or if I made lengthy vacation plans at all. I’ve been working here for eight years now, and I’ve decided over the past little while that I need to live for me more often, and not for my employer. I have the right to book off any time that I’d like, so I’m going to do that. There was a situation a couple of weeks ago where a scheduler actually booked Justin and I to work completely opposite shifts from one another, which could have happened for months and months. This would mean that we would get zero days off together, and zero time at work together! I didn’t think that it was done on purpose (though the company is fully aware that we’ve been together for years, we live together, etc.). The “old me” might have been afraid to say something to my supervisor with the frame of mind that “they don’t have to accommodate our personal lives.” But, seriously, this would majorly impact our personal lives. Never getting any days off together? Justin and I went up to our manager’s office and she actually had no idea that the scheduler did this, and promised that the schedule wouldn’t stay like that. The new week’s schedule has been posted and Justin and I are working the same shifts together (and have the same days off together!). Sometimes it pays to speak up if you aren’t happy!
I would love to volunteer more often. There are so many fantastic organizations that I fully support and I’d love to help them out more often. It is difficult sometimes because I can’t volunteer on a regular, weekly basis anywhere, and some organizations require a set amount of hours that you volunteer. I have found a couple of ways to volunteer from home for animal rights organizations, where I can help on my own crazy schedule (I’ve been transcribing some podcasts for an organization, for instance). I’ve helped out physically in the past at farm sanctuaries and I’d like to do that more often. I’d also like to book off some days from work to volunteer when I know about these volunteer opportunities in advance, such as volunteering at the Toronto Veg Food Fair.
Focus on my studies
As if I’m not busy enough with working a full time job, maintaining this travel blog, but I enrolled last year in a distance education program to become a Registered Holistic Nutritionist. I started the program thinking that I might aim to become a full-time nutritionist. Since then, I’ve seen how difficult it can be to run your own business as a nutritionist and the amount of competition that exists in the market. However, I’m very passionate about veganism and plant-based nutrition, so I might start working as a nutritionist part-time. I’ve even thought of starting a business as a plant-based nutritionist aimed at those who travel often. Regardless, I feel as though this education program provides fantastic information just for my own personal well-being. I’ve learned so much already for my own health and the health of my loved ones. The part-time program is designed that it should be completed over two years. I’m approaching the one year mark and I’ve fallen a bit behind in my studies. I resolve to focus more on my studies so I can complete the program on time! I get distracted easily by blogging and social media stuff, so I’ll have to set goals for myself to complete my education as quickly as possible.
Cook for myself more and eat more greens
I love cooking and eating healthily. For the most part, I do a pretty good job at this. I eat a vegan, plant-based, whole foods diet and have no problem sticking to it. However, when i work long hours, I tend to go for more convenient options like tofu teriyaki, bean burritos, veggie subs, etc. It isn’t awful, but I would be able to eat more healthy foods by preparing my meals ahead of time at home. I’d also save way more money doing this. I’m going to try to prepare meals ahead of time on my days off and eat out less often. I’d also like to eat leafy greens more often because they’re so good for you, whether it be in salads, wraps, or green smoothies!
Live more minimally
I try not to buy things that I don’t need, and I’ve canceled some services that I don’t really use (looking at you, cable TV!). I do tend to spend lots of money and I’d like to do less of that where possible. I probably don’t need to buy more clothes in some situations, and I probably don’t need to buy certain things that are on sale just for the sake of it. I’ve already sold lots of my belongings that I really don’t need, so that’s one aspect of living minimally that I achieved last year. As for this year, I’d like to focus on buying fewer material goods when I don’t need them and saving more money towards travel.
Be less stressed out
There are times when I get stressed. I don’t leave myself enough time to get ready to go somewhere and I’m rushing around completely stressed out. I tend to stress over situations that are unfamiliar or worrisome, like going to job interviews. I am an emotional person, so I tend to just let it all show at all times. Sometimes when I’m stressed out, I take it out on the people around me (primarily Justin). He’s pretty good at getting me to relax or calm down, but I’d like to be able to do this on my own without ever taking it out on him. Getting back into yoga might be a great idea, or just thinking about things before I react (even if I’m in a bad mood).
Finally, something related directly to this blog! But really, many of these things do relate to travel. If I’m in a financially stable situation, I’m able to travel more. Even if I’m having more great experiences volunteering or traveling around locally, I love writing about these places. I’d love to travel more in the future because we only have one short time on this planet, and it’s my goal to see as much of it as possible while I’m around.
Do you have any New Year’s Resolutions or aspects of your life that you’d like to change? Are any of your goals similar to mine, or have you gone through any similar situations? I’d love to hear all about them – please share them with me in the comments section below!