A new year is upon us, and everybody knows what that means; it’s time to start making promises to ourselves that we’ll never end up keeping. Whether it’s a vow to lose a few pounds at the gym, or to stop spending so much money on food (looking at myself here,) more often than not, New Year’s resolutions end up broken and forgotten by the end of January. But if you’re going to commit to something this year, make 2017 the year you start to travel.
What makes 2017 a good year to start traveling? Because time is moving too damn fast. We’ve all seen those posts on Twitter and Facebook, the ones that end in the question, “Do you feel old yet?” For many of us, no matter what our age is, the answer is a resounding yes. Even those of us in our early twenties look at our lives thus far, and end up asking ourselves what we’ve done that we can be proud of. What amazing things will we tell people about years and years from now?
It’s really easy to fall into the trap of saying, “Now’s not the right time,” or, “I’ll travel when I’m older.” But if you aren’t doing it now, what makes you think you’ll do it then? There will always be reasons to not travel. Money, family, and career commitments are all legitimate concerns, but there is no guarantee that they’re going to be any less of a concern ten or twenty years from now.
In fact, there’s a good possibility that you have less responsibility now than you will for the rest of your life. Still in school? You’ve got the summer off, make good use of it. Graduating in the spring? Reward yourself for your hard work with the trip of a lifetime. Have a job that you really love? Make good use of those vacation days. With someone you think you want to spend the rest of your life with? Take them with you, or exercise a healthy amount of independence and take the trip alone.
If the thought of traveling makes you feel a bit overwhelmed, start small. Who says your first trip has to be a six month excursion through Asia? As amazing as that would be, that might not be the best choice for you personally, and that’s ok. Start relatively close to home with weekend trips. See what you can do within a 50 mile radius. Then 100, then 150, you get the picture. Suddenly, traveling doesn’t seem so scary anymore.
What’s it going to take to make you get out there? How many unnecessary things are you going to cut out of your budget so you can start to see your country, and then the world? When you look back at 2014, how do you feel about everything you’ve done, all the things you’ve spent your time and money on? Be honest with yourself, and no matter if the answer to that question is good or bad, make it your goal to feel even better about the answer to that question a year from now. You’ll thank yourself later.