Let’s face it, we’ve all cancelled our 2016 New Year Resolutions, and if you have completed them, you’re either a liar (don’t try to hide it) or a super human. Promises to lose 15lbs, finish a novel, learn Italian, they all fall by the wayside as life gets in the way.
That’s not to say having resolutions isn’t a bad way to plan a year, but we’re all human, prone to either spontaneity or laziness. However, there are a few resolutions we’ve found over past year that are actually easy to fulfill and worthwhile.
Here are our top 5 New Year’s Resolutions you can actually do.
Treat your home city like you’re a tourist
“Tourist” has become a bit of a mixed term among traveler’s today. We all want to fit in when we visit a new country and get the insider’s view of a city. But the same can be said about our hometowns. For year’s growing up in Temecula, CA, I never got the chance to visit the local galleries, experience Summerfest or Rod Run, or go to the local punk shows, all of which I was ignorant of until after I moved away. No one truly knows everything about their home and there are always surprises around every corner.
If you want more variety in your year and have grown bored with your home town, then you might want to change how you view it. Don’t be afraid to join a tour, peruse the local events in your local newspaper, or research “Top 20 Things To Do In LA” – there really is no loss for being curious. Personally, I’ve decided to do every hike in L.A., and just this last week discover a waterfall only 20 minutes from my house. You never know what wonders you might find.
Research your family tree
Whether your family has lived in a town for centuries or you’ve immigrated from around the world, there’s a plethora of interesting tales hidden in your family heritage. Talk to your family members, visit the city’s historical society, or search online for the origins of your surname. Even if you don’t discover you’re related to Slavic royalty or great grandparents were war heroes, you may come up with some new travel ideas, whether its a small village in Germany where you grandparents met or a ethnicity you didn’t know you were a part of.
Learn to cook a foreign meal
This one can fulfill a few major resolutions depending on how you do it. There are millions upon millions of recipes online from all over the world, and beyond a few imperative ingredients, most can be made right from your kitchen. Just by making this meal, you’re exposing yourself to a new culture, sating your wanderlust, while also giving you the chance to change your diet up a bit. It’s not going vegan, but it does open up options for new, and possibly even healthier, diets.
Go a few steps further and visit a local market, whether it be a farmers or ethnic market, and expose yourself to bartering with . You may even get the chance to learn a few words in a new language.
Go to Chinatown (Or your city’s equivalent)
Every major city has ethnically divided districts, from the Jewish Quarter of Prague to Los Angeles’s Little Tokyo. Though they’re somewhat seen as tourist traps, they still have a rich heritage and culture embedded in the lanes and architecture. If you’ve never been, it’s well worth the opportunity; in one trip you could sample some new foods, learn a bit of a new language, and expose you to a thriving culture that’s just a few freeway exit’s away.
Travel as far as you can in one weekend
Weekends are for adventures, but most of us just laze back into the same old routines (sleep in on Saturday, laundry on Sunday, etc.). Depending on the time of year the roads may be packed with drivers heading out of town or deserted as people huddle at home with Netflix. Whatever the scenario, the weekend is the perfect time to travel, and the real meat for your to sink your wanderlust teeth into.
You may not be able to travel to Europe (though, with some travel sites, you might get a great discount on a flight to London), but you can go as far as your gas tank can take you. If I left work right this moment, I could be in Yellowstone in 14 hours. After just a quick night at a motel in Idaho Falls or Jackson, I could be walking along the Grand Prismatic Hot Springs instead of sorting my socks.
And if you don’t want to break the bank on gas, just look for local national parks and attractions just outside your city. Circle on a map (or drop pins on Google’s) and see how many you can hit in two days.
If you need more motivation, then watch this clip from Parks and Recs where Andy and April drive 30 hours straight from Pawnee, Indiana to the Grand Canyon
Wanderlust doesn’t have to be a month in France or flights to Iceland. Instead of devoting your whole year to one big trip, take in the local attractions with a series of mini-trips, whether to Chinatown or Niagara Falls, crossing New Years Resolutions off without any stress.
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