I love making lists — be it my daily to-do lists, my ongoing favourite-movies list, my expanding places-I’ve-visited list, or my ever-growing bucket list.
With that said, I don’t normally make resolutions at the beginning of the year. Instead, I like to think of each day as a chance for a fresh start.
If you want to change something in your life, now is as good a time as any, right?
So instead of making somewhat vague resolutions to ring in the new year, I’ve made a list of more concrete and measurable travel and personal goals for 2016!
TRAVEL AND ADVENTURE GOALS
1. BACKPACK EUROPE
This is something I’ve wanted to do since my early high school days: to backpack across the different European countries; to see the iconic tourist attractions for myself; and then to get lost exploring the lesser-known parts of towns and cities. I don’t want a whirlwind tour of “everything”, but instead, I want to travel slower and immerse myself in a few cultures for a longer period of time.
Right now, I plan to spend most of my time in France, Italy, Croatia and Greece. I hope to explore each one of these countries more in depth!
2. HIKE TROLLTUNGA, NORWAY
And perhaps some of the other trails along the astonishing fjords of Norway! Yes, in a way this is part of the Backpack Europe item, but I had to give it it’s own number because it’s so high on my list of things to do.
Trolltunga, or Troll’s Tongue in English, is a narrow ledge of rock that projects out from the mountainside, 700 m above Lake Ringdalsvatnet. After some research, it turns out that it’s an 8-10 hour hike up to Trolltunga and back. I can imagine it’s going to be quite tiring, but the thought of it excites me so much. I love going on long hikes and being close to nature, and I can’t wait to explore the awe-inspiring fjords of Norway!
I LOVE the water. However, I haven’t had much chance to experience things from below the surface of the water before. I’d love to be able to swim with fish, turtles, and other marine life.
When I was a kid, I was always terrified of heights. I was even scared of going on those staircases with the spaces between steps because I was afraid I would somehow fall through!
Luckily, I’ve become less afraid of heights as I’ve grown older. In fact, now I absolutely love the excitement and rush of adrenaline when riding a roller coaster. Zip-lining seems like it would be another incredible and exhilarating experience to have.
Ditto, another adrenaline-pumping activity to conquer my fear of heights!
6. EXPLORE MORE LOCALLY
Travelling the world is great, but most people forget that there is so much to discover right in their hometown as well. Most people have not been to every highlight of their city, let alone all the hidden gems. We tend to frequent the same places day in, day out and forget that our own city has so much beauty to offer.
Exploring more of the Hamilton area in the next few months before I graduate university is definitely one of my priorities right now. There are so many waterfalls I still haven’t seen, trails I haven’t hiked, there’s even a museum right on campus that I haven’t been to yet!
7. RUN A 10K RACE
I used to hate running. I absolutely loathed it and any other form of activity in which I sweat. Thankfully, now that I’ve grown up a bit, I have no problem with getting sweaty.
I ran my first 5K race in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon four years ago. I still don’t run regularly, as I prefer hiking as a form of exercise, but I think signing up and training for a race would be a good way to start running more often.
8. PRACTICE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Right now, I actively consider the composition of my shots for landscape photos only. This year I want to take more close-ups of nature, photos of urban environments, as well as people shots. I want to learn what makes a good photo and techniques to improve my photography. Reading up on photography tips will be on the to-do list.
I’m currently only using my iPhone 4S camera for taking photos. While I’ve received very positive feedback on them on Instagram, I also want to invest in a good camera to take even better photos and learn more about photography.
9. BECOME MORE CONFIDENT IN MY FRENCH
I’m going to try to watch part of a French movie, TV show, or YouTube video, or listen to a couple of French songs every day to continue working on my French listening and understanding.
The speaking aspect is the tricky part. I’ve never been confident in my French-speaking abilities because I tend to speak it with an English accent. I’ve always felt self-conscious and would care way too much what others think. This has led to minimal speaking, and thus even less practice with the language. Caring too much about what others think has also worked it’s way into other aspects of my life. I’m working hard now to get over this hangup, though. When I backpack Europe and visit France, I’m going to speak French every chance I get!
I also recently discovered italki, which is this neat little website that connects you with native language speakers from around the world. I’m going to continue to use this tool to schedule French lessons and language exchange sessions to practice my speaking more. Apart from French, italki also has teachers and language exchange partners in over 50 different languages. If you want to learn to speak a language or just get a little more practice, I definitely recommend you give it a try!
I share some more ways I’m learning French and having lots of fun doing it in this post!
10. CONTINUE WRITING ABOUT MY ADVENTURES
I’ve been immensely enjoying writing about my adventures and travels so far this first month of blogging. In this coming year, I plan to continue writing about my experiences and creating content to spark your wanderlust. I hope to inspire and encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and experience new things. Adventure awaits!
What are your goals for 2016?
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