30 Days of Indie Travel Project: Late to the Party

11 Nov

At the beginning of this month BootsnAll launched the “30 Days of Indie Travel Project,” a daily travel writing prompt for bloggers. I have been meaning to participate, but I keep getting sidetracked by my friends’ babies, learning a new job, and really important things like watching episodes of The Cosby Show on Netflix.

Even though the project is ten days old, I’d like to go back to the first day’s prompt which was:

What were your travel goals last year? Did you accomplish them? What travel goals do you hope to accomplish this year?

Good questions, BootsnAll! I did accomplish many of my travel goals last year, most of which are documented in my sabbatical series. The one big adventure I’d really been hoping to have that didn’t pan out was a trip to Antarctica. I’m not counting on it happening this year either, but I’m more committed than ever to making this happen at some point in the next five years.

I'm pretty sure I'll get to see some of these in Australia. Photo stolen from Maddie's Facebook pics.

I did recently book a ticket to visit my friends Maddie and Mike in Australia next March, and we’ll take a trip to New Zealand while I’m there (super bonus!) For that trip, and for any others that I take in the coming year, I hereby officially announce the following goals:

  • Get better at photography. The photos from my sabbatical were the first photos I’d taken in many moons. For years I had subscribed to the, “But how can I live the moment if I’m trying to capture the moment?” school of thought. On a whim, I bought a good camera from a friend at an affordable price, and I lugged that thing across multiple continents. I was surprised to find that I enjoyed taking photographs, and that, instead of taking me out of the moment, it actually allowed me to see things in new and interesting ways. Taking photographs made me look at things differently, and more deeply. I imagine many people will read that sentence and say, “Duh.” But for me, that really had never clicked before. I’m looking forward to getting some pro tips from Maddie (a super talented photographer) while I’m in Australia and NZ.
  • Write about my experiences. I’ve been keeping a journal for about ten years, so I always write. But one thing I’ve noticed is that when I’m traveling, I don’t really write about my experiences. Like most things I do, my writing is super cerebral. I write about what I’m thinking rather than what I’m doing. My friend Jennifer has inspired me to try to write more about what I’m seeing, hearing, and tasting, and who I’m meeting, and all that stuff. If a little bit of the cerebral stuff sneaks in, so be it, but I think it will do me good to try to convey a sense of place and time and mood. It sounds exciting!
  • Volunteer, dammit. For someone who expresses a lot of interest in volunteering, I certainly don’t do enough of it. I truly believe that, if done responsibly, it’s one of the best ways to travel (if you don’t believe me, check out the International Volunteerism Resource Center on Idealist.org that my friend Erin curated). I’ve always felt that if I was going to volunteer abroad, it should be for a long-term project, but, screw it, no more excuses.
  • Make friends. I’ve realized that finding ways to meet and hang out with locals has become a pretty important aspect of travel for me. I mean…it’s kind of the whole point. At various times in my life travel has been about seeing pretty things, or changing my perspective, or doing something scary. Those are all worthy goals, and they are all great by-products of travel. But for me now, at this time in my life, travel is about becoming at home in the world. The idea of having friends all across the globe is immensely appealing to me (I would also like to have friends on the International Space Station, but that’s another story). It makes the world seem a little bit smaller, and a lot more wonderful.
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