Hit The Road
Travel map also a guide to the heart
Every January, I sit down with a pretty piece of stationery and a pen, and start thinking about my New Year's resolutions. Usually they are pretty typical: work out more, budget better, get on top of reading each issue of the New Yorker so I don't have unread issues piling up next to my bed. By the end of the year, when I rip open the envelope containing my resolutions, more often than not, I find that not only have I failed to live up to them, but I've regressed.
I talked to some married friends of mine about this bad habit. Both had been married before, and now, in their 50s, they want to spend their time together as best as they can, "to make up for lost time."
"We like to make a list of all the things we really want to do that year," said the wife. "Usually it's a list of places we want to go. So, if we want to go to New York City for the New Year, we write that down. If we want to go to Oklahoma to see my parents for Thanksgiving, that goes on the list, too. And those big things, like going to the Alps for our anniversary -- that goes at the top of the list."
They told me the reason I don't keep my resolutions is because they are not things that I actually want to do. The key, it seems, is to think of your resolutions as a plan of action, or a map, for things that you really want to do. Regarding travel, it means knowing exactly when you will need to make room in your schedule for a trip, how much money must be saved and what you should pack.
For most of us, travel isn't a spur-of-the-moment possibility. If you're thinking about spending a school semester abroad, January is the best time to start planning for summer or fall. Make a list of scholarships to apply for, places you'd like to visit, and if your family is hesitant, perhaps even a list of reasons why the adventure is a good idea.
With my friends spread out around the country, the list of places I'd like to visit this year is long. But I've narrowed it down to three: Minnesota in June to visit my partner's grandparents and their beautiful home on the Mississippi, London in September to visit my host parents, and Italy in November, just because I've always wanted to go there.
Making resolutions like these helps you to see more clearly the person you've become over the course of a year. My resolutions made it apparent to me that the people in my life are more important than the places that I go. And the resolution to put those people first comes easily when they already are on your map for the year.
Joy Uyeno's column geared toward young and beginning travelers appears the second Sunday of each month in the Star-Bulletin Travel section.
Joy Uyeno travels frequently throughout the year, and her column geared toward beginning travelers or youths experiencing their first extended stay abroad appears the second Sunday each month in the Star-Bulletin Travel section.