Time sped by us quickly again – already back in a new year. I never make New Year’s Resolutions, but many people do, and I hope that with these travel suggestions, you may accomplish yours while embarking on travel to exciting new places.
Resolution: Get Healthy and Fit
In our youth, we are well positioned with our high levels of energy and good knees to take advantage of travel spots that require great degrees of fitness. For the ultimate physically challenging location, head halfway across the world to New Zealand whose thousands of scenic hiking trails will certainly get you into shape and where junk food is way out of reach. A travel spot more easily accessible where you can still achieve your health and fitness goals is Wales. Wales has recently been transformed into a landscape of adventure and sport. There are Seven Outdoor Wonders of Wales – including Snowdon mountain and Pistyll Rhaeadr waterfalls to whose heights you can trek. Wales now offers a man-made surfing lake and the fastest zip line in Europe which goes through caverns, as well as rock-climbing. If all these activities don’t make you fit on your travels, you can go sea kayaking at St David’s Head, cliff-camping at Anglesey, and mountain biking near Merthyr Tydfil.
Resolution: Be more Adventurous
Traveling is an adventure in itself. If you have the courage, take a solo trip anywhere in the world that’s feasible for your circumstances. If you have the means, head to South Africa or Australia, which are both known for adventure tourism. You can skydive, bungee-jump, hike, canoe, climb, bike, and even scuba dive with sharks. Even a short weekend trip from St Andrews to the rest of Scotland can still be an incredible adventure – jump off onto the dock of the island of Staffa, which looks like an entirely different world from the one we’re all accustomed to, as it is a geological marvel, full of seriously impressive rock formations, such as the Fingal’s Cave, a natural wonder. If you’re up for a hike, a mountain bike trail, or snow sports, Ben Nevis is the tallest mountain in the British Isles and it is very picturesque. If you prefer sea sports, the Isle of Tiree offers surfing and almost any other coastal sport you’d imagine.
Resolution: Let Everyone be a Teacher
Learn about other cultures by backpacking in Europe, as it is a great way to connect with people from all over the world. It can be much more affordable to travel around Europe than you may think if you cut costs of eating out and you stay in hostels. There are cool “poshtels” now, such as Clink78 in London and the Generator Hostel in Paris, which shatter the misconceptions that all hostels are unsafe, crumbling holes in the wall. Of course, if you can, learn by immersing yourself in a small town in the middle of a small country by taking on volunteer work – which brings me to the next resolution…
Resolution: Contribute to Society
Volunteering abroad is a mind-opening experience to other ways of life and expands your comfort zone and your palate. You can work at a sea turtle conservation in Costa Rica or an elephant conservation center in Thailand, as I did one summer, or build up schools in Nepal or Nicaragua with the organization buildOn – the list of ways you can help is innumerable. If you’d like to travel closer in proximity to St Andrews, look into social work and volunteering in educational settings in Edinburgh or wildlife preservation in the Trossachs National Park, while still getting the opportunity to travel. Check out Projects-Abroad.org and GoVoluntouring.com to discover how you can spend your holidays for humanity.
Resolution: Let go of Stress
To start with the most obvious choice, a spa is stress relieving for most people, but spa retreats are extremely expensive. If you are lucky enough to be able to afford a retreat and an exotic destination, you might as well travel to where is thought to be a spiritual sanctuary: Bali. Explore the area of Ubud and receive luxurious massage and facial treatments in the rain forest. More realistically, travel more locally to relax. Try taking a road trip up to the Highlands to meditate on the cliffs of the Isle of Skye. If none of these travel options are realistic to you, remember that exploring your inner world is as important as exploring the outer world, and that’s a lifelong pursuit which you can do anywhere – simply travel within your mind by trying yoga and explore internally through meditation.
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