It’s that time of the year that we traditionally reflect on things past and future. So, getting into the spirit of things, Travel Begins at 40 has asked its regular contributors to name one travel resolution for the New Year.
Recognising the Power of Tourism – Marissa Carruthers
My New Year’s travel resolution is to be more conscious of how travel has the power to help elevate communities and how I spend my tourist dollar. I’ll try to stay in locally-owned accommodation, book community-driven tours and activities, eat at restaurants that source locally-grown produce where possible, and buy souvenirs that are handmade by small-scale artisans.
Undertourism not Overtourism – Johan Smits
The more I travel the more my wish list of places to visit grows. Despite four decades of travel, it’s only recently that I realised I haven’t visited some quite obvious destinations that often top people’s bucket lists – New York comes to mind, or climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Kenya. However, with an increasing number of reports about the harmful effects of overtourism, and the potential benefits to local populations in destinations that suffer from undertourism, my resolution for 2020 is to give priority to those places where my tourist dollar goes a longer way. Some of Thailand’s more remote provinces such as Nan, Uttaradit or Pattani come to mind.
Travel Closer to Home – Joe Ogden
In 2020, I’ll try to make time to explore places closer to home. I’ll happily travel hours or even days to reach far flung destinations and get up pre-dawn for the best photographs when I’m going away, but I always seem too busy to do the same when it’s right on my doorstep. Evidenced by my complete lack of a decent photo library of Phnom Penh. I’ll also give the train a try, when it’s a viable option; my first train trip for five years – to Kanchanaburi – was a great success.
Visit the Least Visited – Mike East
My travel resolution for 2020 is to enjoy travel in under-visited destinations. Venezuela is an astonishingly beautiful country, yet with very few visitors, due to political and economic troubles. Here, my wish is to get to Roraima, the highest of a series of Tepui plateaus in the far south, close to the border with Guyana. This was once a ‘lost world’ and may be too hard to get to again for a while, if the instability in the region continues. This is one New Year’s Resolution that may not happen in 2020; we can but dream…
New Year Travel Resolution to Plan Ahead – Eileen Wise and Roger Hermiston
We are going to book ourselves onto a Zen Meditation course a few weeks before our next travel, so we are equipped to cope with the inevitable pain that comes with crowded airports, late flights, and the sardine-like existence once you are on board. Seriously, and practically, we resolve always to enquire – as charmingly as we can – about an upgrade. Planes often aren’t full and every so often you will strike lucky. Also, we are determined to select our reading material more carefully in 2020 before setting out, otherwise we’ll end up buying trashy books we don’t really want at the airport shop.
Explore Further Afield at Home – Irene Caswell
This is what weekends are for, right? I live near the south coast of England, and a recent trip to the impressive Yorkshire dales by train reminded me that it’s so easy to see more of my own country. Leave Kings Cross at midday and arrive in time for tea. Goodbye to early morning alarm calls and long queues at the airport. Booking a rail ticket in advance secures a good deal, and a reserved seat. There are so many lakes, castles and mountains that I haven’t experienced, and many places that hold fond childhood memories to revisit.
Back to the Future – Mark Bibby Jackson
It was while walking along the shoreline at Lanzarote that I realised what my New Year travel resolution was – to embrace nothingness. A fan of rail travel, I had tinkered with the idea of going Fly Free but in reality this is hardly something a travel journalist can fully embrace – and as for going plastic-free, well this is really a societal issue rather that a specifically travel one. No, it was as I listened to the waves crashing into the rocks that it came to me that I wanted to return to the pre-internet ways of my youth and travel old school.
Then I would willingly venture into the expanse of nothingness with my battered guide book as my sole aid – ipads and 4G Wi-Fi were things yet to be invented. The occasional visit to the poste restante my solitary connection with the outside world. So, in 2020 my resolution is to go off-grid and leave the 21st Century behind me as I travel into the vastness of a unfrequented land, Mongolia perhaps, to sit and listen to the patter of life going on around me. I just wonder whether they will have a poste restante there too.