Stephanie Spitler
December 31, 2013 4:00 pm

2013 is coming to a close, and you can almost see 2014 in the distance. Look closer…you may need to squint…there it is, just a few hours away. It’s almost time to bid farewell to another year, and you know what that means. That’s right, along with gift guides and nostalgic cartoon specials, the holidays mean one other thing: resolutions.

Now, I’m not really a New-Year’s-Resolution type of girl. I figure, why wait until an arbitrary date and then try to change everything? If I feel like joining a gym in March, I’ll do it. If I decide to get myself organized, and my decision happens on a Saturday in August, I’m not going to wait until January 1 to get things in order. But I will admit that the end of the year is a nice, tidy date to stop and look back at the year that’s just passed. You can take inventory of what you did (and didn’t) do, and things you’d like to change. And, let’s admit it, a nice new calendar year is a great motivator. So in the spirit of concentrating on positive changes I’d like to make in the year ahead, I’m putting my 2014 travel resolutions out into the universe. Here goes.

Visit one place I’ve never been to before: You’ve probably come across this quote from the Dalai Lama: “Once a year go someplace you’ve never been before.” I love that quote for lots of reasons. I love it because it’s so broad; “someplace you’ve never been” could mean going halfway across the world or simply across the street to a neighbor’s house. The destination can be as grand or as simple as you like; the only condition is that it be new to you. Sometimes it’s hard to feel like a traveler when you’re limited to two weeks of vacation (or no paid vacation days at all). But travel doesn’t have to involve passports and luxury hotels. The most important thing a traveler can have is a spirit of adventure.

Be spontaneous: So, I know I’ve talked before about my obsessive need to research and schedule. I’m a planner. I like to read reviews and consult timetables. A well-planned trip gives me a sense of comfort and control. It helps me to feel like I’m maximizing every precious second. But it can also be a bummer. I hate constantly checking my watch and feeling like I’m cutting something short so that I can make it to the next planned activity on time. So this year, I want to learn to let go. I think it’s a stretch to say that I’m going to take off on a road trip and figure everything out on the way, but maybe I’ll leave a few days completely unplanned on my next trip. Baby steps, people.

Learn to take a decent picture: It’s embarrassing, but I’m the queen of blurry images and most of my shots feature my finger in front of the lens. I don’t expect to become the next Ansel Adams, but I’d like to take nice images of the places I visit. Heck, I’d settle for clear images. Photos are my favorite souvenirs, but let’s just say I don’t have many frame-worthy snaps so far. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

Your turn: what are your travel resolutions for 2014?

Follow me on Twitter @StephSpitler

Image via Shutterstock

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