One thing is for certain: no one who entered 2016 will depart it the same way. It was a tumultuous year, with unprecedented political turmoil, beloved celebrity deaths, the largest mass shooting in U.S. history and the Zika scare. There were also positives: the Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years, the U.S. high school graduation rate reached a record high, unemployment went down to 4.6% and the National Park Service turned 100.
There’s no doubt 2016 will be looked on as a historic year. As we take another trip around the sun, many of us will promise at the outset to get healthier, happier and wiser. Most of us will also fall flat on our promises. Instead of making a bunch of impossible resolutions, why not narrow them down to one so we can get the benefits of all three?
We’ve written about the differences between material and experiential gifts before (https://vacationmor.com/2016/12/09/gifts-for-everyone-on-your-list-on-a-budget/) and why experiences make people happier long-term. New Year’s resolutions are about giving a gift to yourself, and there’s no better gift than adventure. Let’s resolve that 2017 will be the year we travel, broaden our horizons and leave the burden of work and home-life behind, if only for a little while. If time and/or cost is a concern, there are certainly ways to budget and plan your travel. Contact us at Midwest Outdoor Resorts for more details.
Leave No Vacation Days Behind –
According to the U.S. Travel Association, in 2015 55% of Americans didn’t use all of their allotted vacation days, leaving 658 million said days unused. While much of this is due to fear of getting behind on work, not being promoted, etc., if we allocate our time and plan accordingly, there’s no reason we can’t use them to travel. Look for slower periods and/or plan in advance so you can delegate some responsibility ahead of time. Work-life balance is essential to your well-being, and time off plays a large role. Use it.
Make Your Own Itinerary –
A big fear of travel, especially when going with friends or family, is that you won’t be able to experience the things YOU want to do. Maybe you’re not a fan of art museums, or you don’t really care to see a certain landmark. So what? If your idea of having fun is sitting by the lake, let it be. Of course, if you’re traveling with others, you may need to make some compromises. Just be sure to carve out some time for yourself.
Leave Expectations at Home –
So you’ve planned perfectly. You’ve arranged every last minute of your week-long trip.. What happens if it’s pouring rain on your hiking day? Or the museum you want to see is closed for renovation? While we certainly want to have time set aside for things we want to do, it’s important to be open to the fluke circumstances travel inevitably brings. The more authentic and participatory our vacations are the better they will be. This means talking to others, unplugging from work and being up for anything that comes our way. Getting out of your comfort zone and experiencing destinations for all that they are is what makes travel worthwhile.
Go Solo –
Even if it’s just for a long weekend, try taking a trip by yourself. We’re not trying to cause any rifts here, and depending on where you go you’ll want to take extra precautions, but traveling alone is a great way to recharge. When you’re by yourself, you’ll have an opportunity to interact with your destination and its people in ways you wouldn’t be able to otherwise. If you must travel with a significant other or friend, give yourselves one day or at least a few hours to be alone. You won’t regret it.
In 2017, let’s resolve to go on that short weekend road trip we’d usually skip. Let’s resolve to see a few of America’s National Parks. Let’s resolve to plan at least one long vacation to somewhere we’ve never been, and let’s resolve to leave work life behind for awhile and gain some perspective. There’s no better gift we can give ourselves.