Travel Resolutions 2018-2019

A year ago, I made a New Year’s resolution to pursue my love of travel more intentionally, something that I had been finding difficult during grad school. I set specific travel goals for 2018, and I am happy to report that I was fairly successful at meeting them! To review my 2018 goals:

Start an Instagram collection to share travel photos regularly.

Goal met! @adventuresofatravelersheart is well under way with over 700 followers! I’ve enjoyed perusing through old travel photos on my commmute to find memories to share each day.

Add a US travel section to my blog.

This goal I did not meet. I did finally finish blogging about each place I traveled to when I studied abroad in 2015. After that, I’ll admit that life and grad school got busy (I earned my Masters in Political Science and passed the comprehensive exams on the way to my doctorate!), and I lost steam with my goal of writing a new blog post every week. I do have several exciting and new domestic adventures to share, as you will have seen if you follow me on Instagram, so I plan to carry this goal over to 2019.

Finish writing blog entries for my trips across Europe and to Egypt.

Goal partially met! I finished writing about Europe until I took a trip to Italy this past summmer; I still have to write about Egypt 2017. Stay tuned for these stories as I get back into writing! Also, I’m making myself learn how to write basic HTML code for a cleaner and more customizable look. I blame grad school for making me think that’s cool.

Visit at least one new US state.

Goal met, and then some! I visited 4 new states this year: Ohio, Delaware, South Carolina, and Indiana. When my sister graduated from the University of Kentucky in May, it was cheaper for me to fly into Cincinnati than Louisville or Lexington, so we made a day trip out of it, complete with a delicious brunch and a visit to their fantastic zoo. I’m a St. Louis native, so when I praise another city’s zoo, I really mean it. I spent a weekend in the Wilmington, DE, area for a friend’s wedding and was able explore the streets a bit in-between festivities. My partner and I visited his dad in Charleston, SC, where I reveled in the rainbow buildings and the bay (although since I have adopted North Carolina as my home, I must say that the North is the best of the Carolinas). Finally, I took my partner to Louisville, KY, and the Bourbon Trail for his 30th birthday, and we crossed the Ohio River and Big Four walking bridge into smalltown Jeffersonville, IN.

Explore at least one new city in my North Carolina home.

Goal met! I picked scrumptious blueberries and tasted ciders in Cedar Grove, NC, near the Triangle. I also finally trekked to Charlotte, though admittedly too much of that time was spent in IKEA. I did, however, try out Free Range Brewing on the outskirts of the city. I’ll be back for more exploring, Charlotte!

Plan a Europe trip for 2019, to include both pre-dissertation fieldwork and travel.

Goal in progress. I have applied and am in the process of applying for a few different summer opportunities abroad. Now that I actually have a dissertation idea going, I can say that my fieldwork will take me all over the United Kingdom and Ireland, two countries that I have never been to! I’ll be conducting some studies on identity in the face of Brexit, and I am eager to actually visit these countries and hear from people firsthand how the ups and downs of the Brexit negotiations are affecting them. I did unexpectedly go abroad for work and fun in the summer of 2018! My advisers invited me to a conference on European integration at the European University Institute in Florence, so since I was already flying across the ocean, I also visited friends in Bologna and Rome. And I had the best pizza I’ve ever tasted in my life, perfected with fresh, high-quality cheese, proscuitto, basil, and balsamic glaze. Still dreaming about it.

Start planning and saving for the Argentina trip that my best friend and I are taking for our 30th birthdays-this means practicing Spanish!

Goal somewhat worked towards. We’ve each contributed ideas for our trip on a joint Pinterest board, and I’ve been saving, though not directly for this trip. Spanish practice…my phone is in Spanish and I’m reading Harry Potter y la Piedra Filosofal , but I hope to be more intentional about keeping up my languages in 2019. Luckily, we have a few years before 30 hits!

What’s next in 2019?

As you can see, I made some strides in my 2018 travel goals, but I still have a ways to go. With this past year in mind, here are my New Year’s travel resolutions for 2019:

  1. Visit 1 new country. I have a few options in mind, depending on what my summer fieldwork situation looks like.
  2. Visit 1 new US state. I would love to start exploring National Parks out west, but realistically, I’ll probably head to the Northeast closer to home so that I can maximize my travel time to actual time in the destination ratio.
  3. Explore 1 new town in my current North Carolina home. I have a list of interesting small towns to visit, and I’d also love to get to a new beach town this year (I went to Wrightsville Beach two summers ago).
  4. Explore 1 new town in Missouri or Illinois while I’m at my original home. Between friends moving around in the area and some potential ideas I have for my sister’s bachelorette party, I’ll have several opportunities to meet this goal!
  5. Set apart an hour every weekend for travel pursuits: blog development, trip planning, photography or language study, etc. I’ve already started this over winter break, and I love it!
  6. Add a US section to this blog. Friends and family: hold me accountable to meeting this 2018 goal in 2019!

What are YOUR travel resolutions for 2019? Let me know in the comments below, and have a happy New Year!

-Steph

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