A new year doesn’t only just signify a new beginning for your diet or your exercise plan. For travel enthusiasts, a new year can mean 365 days and chances to explore new countries, cities, cultures and meet people from all around the world. After deciding to take a gap year at the end of high school, I was keen to head to the other side of the world and travelled around New Zealand, Australia and Vietnam. Whilst talking to the new travel acquaintances I had made about my native Europe however, I was made to realise just how little I had thought about exploring my own neighbouring countries and even my very own home country. Back home, my scratch map illustrated this better than I could have imagined. Whilst there were several colourful countries scratched off on different corners of the map, the countries closest to me still remained covered.
Therefore, my first and most decisive travel resolution for 2018 is to swap airports for train stations and buy an “Interrail Pass”. My bucket list entails seeing the Northern Lights in Finland, the art in Prague, the architecture in Copenhagen, sampling the tapas and Sangria in Spain and experiencing a festival in Croatia. It always seems that everything far away is automatically more exotic and I believe this is why I lost sight of the excitement that travelling through my own continent would involve. Upon reflection, travelling by train gives you the freedom to be more spontaneous. You can jump off the train when and where you want and can easily add different locations to your route. Another benefit is that for students, it is an extremely cost effective way to travel due to the special youth discounts available.
A popular problem people experience nowadays when travelling is the pressure of taking the perfect picture. Indeed, most people go travelling with the motto ‘If you haven’t posted it on one of your social media accounts it hasn’t happened’. My second travel resolution therefore is to not let the lenses come between my eyes and the landscape too much and enjoy reality, thinking less about Instagram and co.
My final travel resolution is to limit the amount of clothes I take on my travels. This will not only allow me to take back more souvenirs but also make my travel experience a lot more enjoyable (and lighter!). So here’s to 2018, a year full of new travels and finding new inspirations!