Happy New Year!
2019 is upon us, and after my 2018 in review post, I thought I’d share my plans and goals for the year ahead. It’s set to be an exciting year of travel for me – some interesting work trips on the horizon, and I’m already counting down the days until my next trip…
Where I’m headed
February – Singapore
I’m lucky enough to be heading to Singapore with work! I entered a competition to participate in an exchange between agencies, and I won! There were 6 of us selected worldwide, and I’m swapping with a lovely lady from Singapore. She’s visiting us first, then I’ll go over to her office. I’m so excited to spend three weeks not just visiting Singapore, but living and working there.
I’m already excited to visit Little India and the Gardens by the Bay – I’ve bought myself two guidebooks already!
March – The Philippines
I figured that while I was out in South East Asia, I might as well take a little holiday – so then I’m visiting the Philippines for 2 weeks! I’m planning 2 weeks of sun, sea and sand – I can’t wait to see the place so many travellers and vloggers talk about as being paradise.
Then the rest of the year is up for grabs! My Mum bought me a ton of guide books to places I’d love to visit for Christmas, so I’ve been browsing those for inspiration!
My Travel Goals for 2019
I originally wrote ‘resolutions’ above – but these are, unlike my “normal” ones, not really resolutions. They are goals – things I’d like to aim for and will inform how and where I travel this year, but I don’t want to make myself beholden to completing them. Travel is about making the most of life, and I don’t want to restrict myself in that regard!
With that said – onto the list!
Last year I technically visited three countries (if we include Germany, which I visited with work) – I’d like to at least hit four this year! In 2017 I had my first taste of Latin America, which I loved – it would be great to get back there soon!
Singapore and the Philippines are, as above, already on the list – I’m making my way through SEA slowly but surely – only Brunei and Vietnam left (and more of Thailand, as I was only there for a day and a half!)!
Draw/paint more on the road
I always bring this mini watercolour palette, a small sketchbook and some brushes and pencils with me when I travel. I’ll paint a little bit, but never put my heart into it – and that’s such a shame! The things I see and photograph are hugely inspirational and have an impact on the art I make back at home, so I’d love to capture those feelings in the moment more. And, as my Mum says, your own paintings and drawings from a trip make completely unique and special souvenirs!
So this is a fairly ironic one, given that I bought myself the 70L Fairview* version of my beloved Osprey Farpoint 55* (the blue bag in the pic above, sadly no longer available in snazzy Caribbean blue) at the end of last year. My logic is that it’s not actually really longer, but has a greater volume, and the backpack itself is still only 50-55L – the extra 15 comes from the daypack… Anyway. Ignoring that – I brought far too much stuff to Mexico, which was a pain to carry. And, as I’ve mentioned – I like to and actively engage with buying souvenirs (I even have a video of my favourites from around the world!), so I like to leave some space for memories. I also get a bit worried about being overweight – particularly, my upcoming trip to the Philippines has a strict 10kg limit, so I’m going to be cutting down as much weight as I can!
In fact, I’ve just written my Singapore/Philippines packing list… I might have to go back and cull a few things!
I’m really proud of how much I’ve pushed myself in the past
two three (ah!) years. Travelling solo, trying new sports like snowboarding and diving, e-Biking around Myanmar on my own (amazing) and making new friends on the road. I’d love to continue to explore and challenge myself in terms of travel (whilst still staying safe and sensible, of course).
Dive at least 3 times
I qualified as a scuba diver in 2017 in Malaysia, and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done. I dove 8 times in 2018 – about twice as many dives as I expected! I fell in love with diving in Cozumel – I would love to go back one day when I’m more advanced – and got a good way to completing my Sports Diver qualification with BSAC. I was really not prepared for diving in the UK – the visibility and cold gave me a huge shock! – so sadly I haven’t completed my practical open water skills, but I have finished all my pool skills and written tests, so fingers crossed I’ll complete the course this year!
I’m hoping I’ll be able to dive in the Philippines – I’m visiting Moalboal, Coron and El Nido – all places that are renowned for their diving! My first priority – as is every diver’s – is safety and feeling comfortable, so I didn’t want to set msyelf a huge goal of dives and make myself feel like I have to dive just to hit a number. I want to be sure I feel comfortable and am safe above all else. If I don’t feel good, I’ll thumb the dive.
Consider souvenirs more carefully
Again, perhaps a little ironic given the bigger bag I bought myself (oops) – but I’d really like to be a bit more considered in my souvenirs. Generally, I don’t regret anything I’ve bought over the past 3 years, except for perhaps some of the massive textiles I bought in India. I knew I wanted some, and I was so overwhelmed with how beautiful everything was, I panicked a bit and bought the first things I saw. If I’d waited, and thought, I probably would have only bought one wall hanging, and found it cheaper elsewhere.
Eat more sensibly
This is a little bit linked to one of my “real life” resolutions – to eat more healthily. When I’m on the road, I don’t want to restrict myself – it’s such a shame to visit somewhere with amazing cuisine and then only have a salad! However – I do fluctuate wildly when abroad, either stuffing myself or not eating enough, so I’d like to be a bit more sensible there. Really, this is about being smarter with where I eat and how much I spend – I always go to restaurants or places recommended in a guide book, which HUGELY eats away at a budget. I always overspend on food – I’m a foodie and love visiting great restaurants. But it’s not always a great idea to sacrifice money for experiences like tours or diving so you eat out every night. I’d like to be a bit smarter about what and where I eat.
I have been making videos since 2016, but it was last year in Mexico that I properly “vlogged” for the first time – holding my camera up to my face and recording myself and my feelings in the moment. I thought I’d feel (and sound!) stupid – and I suppose to some people, I always will – but for me, I’m so pleased I did it. It’s added another dimension to my videos – it’s like a living travel journal, that I can watch back and see myself and how I felt. I want to do more of this – and get better at photography and videography – in 2019.
So those are my 2019 travel goals!
What are you doing in 2019? Any tips you could share for Singapore or the Philippines? Have you got any travel goals?
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