2015 is nearly over. It’s time to look ahead to 2016 and set some realistic goals in both travel and life.
I’m not really one for making New Year’s Resolutions. I think that if you want something, you should try to make it happen all year long. With that said, a new year does feel like a fresh start. It’s never a bad idea to reflect on what you’ve been doing and what you’d rather be doing. My ideals might change and fluctuate throughout the year, but that’s okay. Writing blog posts like this also allows me to see if I followed through with some of my resolutions from last year.
I definitely achieved some of the goals that I set in 2015. Some of those objectives could still use a little improvement. And I don’t even care to continue doing some of the things that I mentioned last year anymore. For instance, I lived more minimally, lived on my own terms more often, and volunteered more. I probably could still try to prepare food at home more often, though it can be challenging with my long/random hours at work. And I made the decision to stop studying to become a Registered Holistic Nutritionist. While the program seemed pretty good when I started, it ended up not entirely reflecting my own views and the school itself was very disorganized. I also realized that while I love eating healthily and helping people, it’s no longer something that I want to pursue as a career. I wasted some money paying for the courses, but in the end, my time was more valuable and there was no sense continuing something that would be a giant waste of time.
My one big resolution was to travel more. I definitely traveled more last year. And it was awesome.
Here are a few of my resolutions for travel and life in 2016, and I’m happy to share them with you.
Pursue Travel Blogging as a Career
I love travel and I love writing. I love writing this blog! Not only do I love writing, but I love working on the photography, the videos, and everything that goes into making content for Justin Plus Lauren. I really put my heart into this blog. Now, you might be thinking, “Oh, is she going to quit her job and travel?” The answer is no. I don’t plan on quitting my day job and writing for my blog full time. With that said, I’ve been writing more for other publications and would love to pursue more freelance writing gigs. I want to travel more often and there’s so much more of this world to see. It would be wonderful to continue to work with tourism boards, brands, and those in the travel industry to achieve this goal. It would be great to work fewer hours at my day job and spend more time blogging, writing, and traveling. At the moment, I feel as though I have two full time jobs – my video editing career job and writing for Justin Plus Lauren. Of course, I put in my hours at my day job. When I come home (or on my days off), writing for this travel blog and other travel sites never feels like a chore because I enjoy it so much. That’s when you know that you’re doing something right – when a job doesn’t feel like work. This is a passion of mine, and I am exciting to see what opportunities will arise in 2016.
Read More Often
I attended a travel writing seminar over the summer. I learned that one important way to improve your writing is by reading more often. It makes a lot of sense. And besides, I love to read! I used to read all of the time, but I haven’t made the time for it over the past little while. It’s time to tackle the little stack of books that are collecting dust on my night stand. Once I’m done reading those, I’ll reward myself with new books. I am going to start by reading Haruki Murakami’s Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. Murakami is one of my favorite authors. Do you have any books that you recommend?
Learn a New Language
I might not be fluent in any languages other than English, but I do love languages. I might not ever be fluent in a second language. But, it’s fun learning how other languages work and at least getting a few phrases down, especially before traveling to that particular country. I’d like to study some Icelandic before visiting Iceland. And it’s about time that I revisited some French lessons to jog my memories from elementary school. I think I’ll start some free courses on Duolingo and see what happens.
Practice Yoga Regularly
I used to really be into going to yoga classes all of the time. Then, I switched gyms and my new gym doesn’t really offer yoga classes. I always felt better after going to yoga, and I really enjoy that kind of workout. I should practice yoga at home, either on my own or with YouTube videos. There’s also a yoga studio down the street that offers a cheap pass for the first month that you attend, so you can try it out.
Meditate Daily…or Breathe
I have wanted to try meditating for a while now, and just haven’t made the time for myself each day. It’s great for alleviating stress. In Quebec City, we attended a wellness session at the Augustine Monastery where we learned breathing exercises. Three times a day, you take five minutes to simply breathe. It’s all about calming down and concentrating on breathing slowly. Incorporating these breathing exercises or meditating silently will help calm my busy mind.
Saving More Money To Travel (Without Working More Often)
I could work a whole bunch of overtime…but, then I wouldn’t have time to travel! However, if I spend less money on things that I don’t need, I’ll have more money to spend on travel. Recently, I wrote an article about how I afford to travel so much. There are a few key ways that I allow myself to travel more without becoming a workaholic or cutting back on things that I really enjoy. I find it very helpful to have a separate travel savings account and put a set amount into it from each pay cheque. I also save my two dollar coins because they quickly amount to a lot of money.
It’s also a good idea to cut out things that you really don’t need. Do I need a new pair of shoes or another pair of jeans? Do I need the latest electronics or a new TV? If I don’t absolutely need something or fall in love with it, I pass on purchasing it. If you have to give something a second or third shot and you’re still not sure if you want to buy it, you probably don’t need it.
I also don’t spend lots of money at the pubs, and I make coffee at home when I’m off work. Now, here’s one area where I could stand to improve – coffee! I buy at least one or two coffees, if not a soy latte at Starbucks, while I’m at work. I’m a coffee addict and these drinks really do help me get through my shifts in a more pleasant mood. I am going to try to cut back to buying only one coffee per shift (some of these are 12 hour shifts!), and if I’m craving a hot beverage, I’ll make myself a tea. I have an entire drawer full of tea and it’s about time that I drank more of it. Plus, I’ll save several dollars each time on the soy lattes I would have likely bought.
Take a Volunteer Trip
I’m making this dream come true in 2016. I’m going to be volunteering on a wildlife conservancy in Kenya this March! I can’t wait to make a meaningful difference helping animals there. I’ve written about the project more extensively in this article, so feel free to give it a read.
I’m also happy to continue my volunteer work with the Toronto Vegetarian Association, whether it’s doing office work, volunteering at their events, or writing blog posts for their website.
Be More Organized in my Blogging
It would be great to write for Justin Plus Lauren on a more regular schedule. Currently, I write when I can. That might mean that one week will have five blog posts published, and another week will have only one. I have so many stories to tell, and not enough time to write them. If I stick to a plan more often and schedule my blog posts, I can post them more regularly (for example, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday). I used to write a weekly newsletter that has fallen by the wayside a little bit. It’s about time that I regularly updated the newsletter, too.
Just like last year, of course I have to write, “travel more”! For this girl who loves travel, I can never get enough. There’s a huge world out there for me to explore. Whether it’s traveling around my own province, seeing more of my beautiful country, or jet setting across the world, I’ll take any of these amazing adventures in a heartbeat. I can promise you that in 2016, I’ll be traveling all over the place. I’ll be posting about it regularly here…and for more up to the minute photos, you can always check out my Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook Page! I’m also really into Snapchat now, especially when I’m traveling. Add “justinlaurenxo” to your friends list – that’s me!
Have I given you some ideas? Pin this image to your Pinterest board for future reference! Click the top left corner.