Life is short and the world is wide. It may be the kind of cheesy quote you find on a gift shop tea towel but it’s also – like so many clichés – entirely spot-on.
As we stand on the brink of a brand new decade, what adventure dreams are beckoning to you? You don’t have to aim for something of epic proportions in travel in order for it to have meaning.
Indeed, you may find that smaller ambitions based around values rather than destinations are easier to keep. And they can also form the blueprint for a lifetime of travel that gives back.
Here are six resolutions to get you started:
Travel less but make it count
In an age of bucket-list tourism, we’re more aware than ever of the need to travel responsibly. It’s all very well nailing that dream Insta-shot, but almost any adventure goal these days needs to be framed within a wider lens of its impact the environment and local communities.
A good place to start is by whittling down down your trip list to those that really matter. Doing so means you’ll naturally be more mindful of where you’re travelling to and why. Stay in local hotels wherever possible, and put your money into local, community-based enterprises.
When you drill down the motives and meaning behind your adventure, you’re likely to minimise the ethical baggage you build up along the way. Check out more on what Flash Pack is doing to create a positive change in travel right here.
Carve out better connections
Here at Flash Pack, we’re of the firm opinion that the best kind of adventure happens when you’re tempted out from behind a coach window and into the thick of things.
We’re not interested in the well-worn path, and often take a swerve on tourist sights in favour of something fresh or closer to home. Where do Cariocans head to for the best samba beats in Rio? Which phở stall has Hanoi residents queueing around the block? What’s the Croatian take on the best beaches to hit up minus the crowds?
Asking these kind of questions means you’re more likely to connect with a place and its people, and get a genuine sense of what it’s all about.
It paves the way for a more fun and spontaneous experience that also neatly sidesteps the pressure of “having” to tick off certain experiences. Since destinations change all the time, you’ll be able to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s new and exciting, too.
Challenge how you see yourself
Are you the kind of person that “doesn’t do” hiking? Maybe white-water rafting just isn’t for you. Or the idea of cycling through downtown Jaipur at rush hour makes you seriously uneasy.
Whatever it is that gets those stomach butterflies aflutter, travel is your chance to lean right into it. This is a great opportunity to challenge those limiting expectations that might have been holding you back in life – often without you even really knowing it.
Can’t climb a mountain? Yup you can – there you are, right at the top of Toubkal. Scared of heights? And yet, you just scaled the rim of Oman’s Grand Canyon. Well done you. The fact is, we never think we’re capable of the things we do until we get right on and do them. And the self-belief that comes with taking that leap will fuel you for many months to come.
Travel with people you don’t know
Travelling with friends or loved ones is the equivalent of dragging along a safety blanket with you everywhere you go. Sure, it might hold you back on occasion; but it’s nice and cosy, and you know what you’re going to get.
Travelling with strangers, on the other hand, will open up your world in all kinds of new and unexpected ways. Research shows that our social circles narrow as we get older, but jumping on-board a group adventure reverses this trend.
Since Flash Pack always travels in small groups of like-minded people, you may well end up forming lasting bonds with your companions (a few have even been known to find lifelong partners, although we’re about friendship first and foremost). But at the very least, you’ll get to hook up with a fun crew of fellow adventurists who will help push your comfort zone – and support you every step of the way.
Make your hotel part of the adventure
The days of fly-and-flop hotels are numbered. In 2020, it’s all about making where you stay an integral part of your adventure.
This might be a series of Bedouin tents in the heart of Jordan’s Wadi Rum, where you can listen to local music and bed down beneath a canvas of stars. It could be an eco-lodge nestled deep in the Mekong Valley of northern Thailand, with incredible jungle views. It may take the form of a unique guesthouse made entirely from salt that’s perched on the edge of Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia, the world’s largest salt flats.
Wherever you choose to stay – be it a jungle longhouse in Borneo or a geodome by Finland’s Lake Torassieppi – choosing somewhere unique will make your adventure that much more potent and memorable.
Follow your gut for spontaneous moments of fun
Some of life’s finest moments unfold when you venture off-script. Letting go of your expectations of how a certain holiday should look or feel may be scary, but it’s also the best way to unleash your explorer within.
At Flash Pack, it’s easy to hand over control, since we take all the boring planning and logistic elements out of your hands. We also like to add in moments of surprise and delight on each trip that won’t make their way onto the itinerary (and we couldn’t possibly tell you what they are…)
But beyond that, we also try to factor in a fair amount of free time, for you to experience the sharper end of travel. Grab your fellow Flashpackers and have a mosey about your neighbourhood, just to see where it takes you. Pop by that gallery that caught your eye, or book a hammam on a whim. Have lunch with a local family. These small, impromptu moments are often where the magic of adventure plays out best.
Images: Flash Pack, Flash Pack/The Common Wanderer, Asad Photo on Pexels