We all love New Year’s resolutions. It’s a chance to start everything anew, pretend the turn of December into January is powerful enough to change our lives for the better and empower us to stick to our goals. Even if most of our resolutions will melt down with last snowflakes, why not feed ourselves with a bit of illusion that may actually inspire real actions?
I came up with 10 slow travel resolutions for 2016, which could have the power of increasing the benefits of travel (both for ourselves and the local communities) and provoke a lasting impression long after we’re back home:
Walk, Ride, Bike
Green travel is environmentally friendly, economical, keeps you in shape, gives lots of flexibility and independence and if it wasn’t enough, enables you to discover the surroundings at a slow pace. It’s by walking that you learn a city map by heart and bump into strangers or old friends. It’s while hiking that you feel truly connected to the nature and are able to take in views without hanging out of a bus window, while it hurries down the road.
Invest in experiences rather than stuff
A head full of memories, new skills and a bunch of friends are so much more lasting than an unwieldy plate you’ll need to drag around with you and bluster and blag to get with you through airport security. Whether it’s a cooking class in Thailand, diving with sharks in Mexico or snowboarding in the Alps, it will definitely have a bigger impact on your life than a suitcase full of soon-to-be-covered-in-dust items.
Spend your money at local businesses
No matter if while traveling, or at home: Money well spent goes a long way. You don’t have to give money to a charity to perform a good deed. Spending your money wisely and fairly has a great impact: it’s more likely to benefit the local community, directly supporting their hard work.
Buy souvenirs responsibly
Now that you already spend your money at local businesses, make sure these businesses are fair! Buying items made of endangered species is not only morally dubious, but also may prove to be illegal. Same with pirated goods or even sacred images (like Buddha in Thailand).
Respect local dress code and customs
No matter how hot you’re, wearing a bikini might prove offensive where it’s out of place. Be thoughtful while entering sacred places, regardless of your own belief.
Don’t be an ignorant!
Wherever you travel, keep in mind you’re a guest. Read-up before you go, be kind and patient. It’s very easy to criticize without a context, but it brings us nowhere.
Take local guides
Local guides count among local businesses (win-win! You already comply with the 3rd resolution) and thus are probably your best chance to meet well-informed natives, who are often trusted by the local community and know all the do’s and don’ts. Taking your time to look for a right person is definitely a time well-spent.
Try digital detox
You might have read my previous post, I wish you could be as cute as your profile picture, where I get frustrated about our urge to use technology at all times. Here’s an answer, apparently the digital detox will be in fashion in 2016, so we might as well make it a resolution.
Learn a language
Even though modern technology spoils us with live translation and English is the most spread language in the world, there’s nothing that gives you an equal insight into a local culture than their native language. Full stop.
Travel to understand
The world is a classroom, so take your lesson. Open your ears and learn while traveling. You won’t get a better teacher.
Do you have your own 2016 travel resolution? Have I missed any elephant in the room? Drop me a line or comment to share your thoughts for this New Year.