2018 Travel Resolutions


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February 17th 2018
Published: February 17th 2018
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Forget about those unkept New Year's resolutions related to self-improvement. Your diet and exercise habits are back to normal by now, February. About the only things better is making the most of your 2018 travel resolutions, right?



Here are a few of theirs (US News and World Report), and naturally, a few of mine.



Get off the beaten path. Yes, this is always a good idea, whether in your hometown, home state, home country or on the other side of the world. I always try to do something new and different, no matter how many times I visit a city. It could be as simple as trying a new restaurant or cuisine, as well as an eclectic museum or touristy site, like the world's largest ball of twine. I also found when I was last in Nawlins for the Super Bowl, a B&B out in the neighborhood is a great change of pace to busy and noisy city hotels.



Slow down, you move too fast, got to make the morning last! Feel groovy yet? An early morning start always seems best. But sometimes not. Take the time to explore something you would normally pass by. Maybe it is that extra cup of coffee at a corner stall in Laos? Or maybe a local pastry from a food truck on a Washington, DC street corner.



Try to be more sustainably traveled. Some simple things, like refilling a water bottle go a long way to help the local environment. Check out eco-friendly lodging and dining options. Try a farm to table restaurant. Don't be tempted to eat Chilean sea bass, which is ILLEGALLY caught in Chile!



Unplug! In truth, I find this difficult to do, like many of you. But I do find it rather pleasant when I realize I have spent the entire day with my cell phone OFF, and my tablet back in my hotel room safety box. I have been to many areas where there is no cell service. And I survived, as you will too! I admire many of you who stick to your old flip phones, and refuse to go millennial.



Discover new places! It could as simple as trying a new National Park. Or finding a city with unexpected treasures, like Memphis, or Columbus. Getting out of your comfort zone is generally a good thing.




Get back to nature! I am not the craziest or most enthusiastic outdoor adventurer. But I have enjoyed jungle treks, kayaking, zip-lining, cycling (of course), and hiking. I always try to do a cycling excursion in each country that I visit. It is a different way to see the city or countryside. A good example was my last trip to Amsterdam, when we cycled out to the countryside to see the dikes, windmills, and farms.



Visit more historical sites! This has been a pleasant surprise in most cases. I was surprised by Graceland, the famous Troubadour in Los Angeles, The San Francisco Presidio, the Church of the Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg, and the enormous Hofbrauhaus in Munich. It does not have to be famous, just something of interest to you.



Be kind, even compassionate! One thing I always do in foreign countries and cities away form home, is share my leftover meals with homeless people. And I try to help anyone who has a handful, like a Mom with stroller and roller bag, or an elderly person needing help with stairs. And locally, always ask a tourist if you can direct them to where they want to go.



Now, here a few of my own.



Try more car trips. We have done this wince our puppy, Lexi arrived in our household. We have gone to the coast, as well as to the Bay Area to see friends, and down to San Diego for some Giants-Padres games. Next? Who knows, maybe an excursion to Vegas and Arizona.



Don't forget the minor leagues! During my travels for work, some places did not have major league sports teams. So, perhaps you should try a minor league team, like the Portland Beavers (baseball), the Anchorage Aces (semi-pro hockey), or the Santa Cruz Warriors (basketball). The same goes for music, with smaller venues always offering something that the big arenas do not: affordable concerts and performances.



Do some research! I always try to read as much as I can before I go somewhere. It could be a travel book, novel, history book, or internet search. Don't be afraid to ask friends, as they are often the best and most trusted sources.



Make a friend! A connection is worth a million of anything you want. My friend Danny, who we met on our first trip to Bangkok, continues to always join us, assist us, dine with us, whenever we visit. He showed us how to get a SE Asia simcard for our phones. He takes us on special tours that nobody else can do. He has his limo driver take us to the airport if he is not available.



Learn a new game! When was the last time you played gin with a stranger? I was forced to learn to play chess when I was snowed in at Vail ski resort. Many people I know call the local Bridge club and join their weekly bridge club activities. You might make a connection of a lifetime.



Visit the internet room. I know, I know, but I had to throw this in, even though internet rooms are largely gone. I met three lifelong friends in the internet room, Barry the V in Chile and Jason and Chun in Langkawi, Malaysia. Travelers have much in common, just give them a chance.



Share a cab or an Uber. This can get tricky, but it can also yield great local information, form the driver, your fellow passenger, or ??




Always expect the unexpected! I think most of you who travel already know this. You never know where your newest best friend is likely to show up.

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