New Year: Adventure Resolutions for 2017
This year, in the spirit of exploring more, I have created resolutions that tie into specific destinations.
On January 1st each year, we’re given the ultimate mental reset button. Usually, most people get to work on their resolutions the first day of the year but I take the first week to really get my priorities in order. This year is all about goalsetting and acknowledging limits. I want to explore more, but do so in a way that helps me to promote self-growth and care. In essence, I want to travel more meaningfully. This is how the new year adventure resolutions for 2017 came to be. Here are a list of ten resolutions inspired by Marmot’s 2017 Adventure Bucket List and Lonely Planet’s Nine Travel Resolutions and How To Keep Them paired to destinations I’d like to visit this year. Crossing my fingers all these plans come into being!
DO YOU HAVE A YEARLY MANTRA?
Since 2014, I have dedicated each year to a specific mantra. In 2014, which was the year I left for teaching overseas, it was “Let Go.” In 2015, it was all about “Make It Happen“ in regards to my 7-month-long backpacking trip. Then 2016 was a all about reestablishing my strength with the mantra. “I am Strong.” This year, 2017 is teaching myself how to curb burnout as I find myself growing more and more fatigued by all I attempt to do.
HERE ARE THE ADVENTURE RESOLUTIONS FOR 2017!
1. WAKE UP TO SEE THE SUN RISE
On the banks of the Irrawaddy River, stretching across the land are the ruins of pagodas, stupas, and temples as far as the eye can see. A place of spiritual awakening, Bagan becomes a site of enchantment when thousands of hot air balloons begin to ascend at daybreak to see the sun rise. For those on the ground, the experience is no less magical as you watch the tiny balloon-shaped silhouettes careening against a dusty orange sky.
WHERE: Bagan, Myanmar
WHEN: January 2017
2. IMMERSE YOURSELF IN GREENERY
A temple of greenery, Sapa is a frontier town situated in the Hoang Lien Son Mountains in northern Vietnam. About a 4-hr train ride away from Hanoi, the township is the launchpad of a popular multi-day trek through the neighboring highlands where one crosses paths with terraced rice fields and ethnic hilltribes dressed in painstakingly embroidered traditional dress.
WHERE: Sapa, Vietnam
WHEN: April 2017
3. ENGAGE WITH LOCALS
With newly opened commercial flights between the USA and Cuba, travel to Cuba is now a reality. It’s not like I don’t usually hang with locals on my travels but when I go to Cuba, I know it’s going to be specifically for the people. I want to cook with them, dance with them, listen to their songs more than I want to see the sights. Cuba has been closed off to Americans for decades and its finally time that we are able to celebrate their humanity.
WHERE: Havana, Cuba
WHEN: August 2017
4. GET LOST IN A NEW CITY
Fun fact: the city of Chiufen (also spelled Jiufen) was the local that inspired the environs for the Hayao Miyazaki x Studio Ghibli classic, Spirited Away. Lanterns line the stairwells zigzagging through this mountainside retreat, only a subway ride from downtown Taipei. From tea houses to temples, you can even eat your way through the Miyazaki film if you dare. Watch the trailer below to catch a glimpse of Jiufen.
WHERE: Jiufen, Taiwan
WHEN: January 2017
5. STOP PUTTING IT OFF
In the year I was in South Korea, I never made it to Busan *I know! Such a disgrace!*, the second most populated city in the country. Located on the southeastern coast of the peninsula, Busan is a lively city, but much more mellow compared to the raging capital in the north. Seafood restaurants flank the boardwalk of Haeundae beach while the artsy global village of Gamcheon, dubbed Asia’s artsiest town, is nestled snugly in the surrounding mountainside on the outskirts of the city.
WHERE: Busan, South Korea
WHEN: April 2017
6. EMBRACE THE GREAT OUTDOORS
In September of this year, my pen pal Dana who I’ve been writing letters to for a decade now, will be marrying her longtime boyfriend Brody. I’m planning my return to Vancouver (where I spent the whole summer back in 2007 working at my uncle’s Filipino grocery store) and hope to actually soak in all the natural beauty this Canadian territory is known for. Lucky for me, Canada’s National Park System is celebrating its 150th anniversary so all national parks are FREE! Capilano Suspension Bridge where you at?!?!
WHERE: Vancouver, Canada
WHEN: September 2017
7. GET A TASTE OF THE WEST COAST
If you haven’t learned by now that I am a culinary adventurer, well here is more proof again. This year, I plan to take on the west coast of good ol’ America by way of food. My sister’s boyfriend Tom, who lives in Seattle, is gonna show me some bomb spots at Pike’s Market while Tim’s best friend Jared, who just recently relocated to Portland, is gonna be forced to wait in line with us at Voodoo Donuts. Shhh, Tim doesn’t know this yet but *hopefully* we’ll be celebrating our third anniversary hyper-inebriated in Napa Valley. Also, I need to figure out what Mexican food is all about. #westcoastbestcoast?
WHERE: Washington, Oregon, and California, USA
WHEN: Fall 2017
8. TRY OUT SOMETHING TRENDY
Taipei is a city that I never had dreamed of going to until friends from Korea would come back from holidays with only rave reviews about this Asian island country. Ranked as one of the top street food hotspots in the world, in league with Mexico and Thailand, it seems like there’s something for everyone in Taiwan. On our list: soup dumplings at Din Tai Fung, a capsule hotel stay (OMGCANNOTWAIT!!!), and some DIY shrimp fishing courtesy of the Best Ever Food Review Show.
WHERE: Taipei, Taiwan
WHEN: January 2017
9. UNPLUG FOR 24 HOURS
Chugging along in a junkboat in the shadows of the towering karsts of Halong Bay is the perfect environment for unplugging. As a creative digital professional, I’m constantly wired into technology so I’m making it my mission to immerse myself in a place so riveting, I have no desire to touch my computer/phone for at least 24 hours. With stops on Cat Ba island that provide opportunities to rock climb and ample deckspace to read and get my sunbathing on, this is a challenge I’m looking forward to.
WHERE: Halong Bay, Vietnam
WHEN: April 2017
10. TAKE A ROAD TRIP
Running 656 miles off the southwest Pacific coastline, State Route 1, also called Highway 1, has me California dreamin’. From San Francisco to San Diego, you get nothing but shoreline with seagulls squawking overhead and painted sunsets looming over the winding road before you. With stops like Los Angeles, Monterey, Big Sur, and Santa Barbara, this is the perfect way to get acquainted with the state I’m hoping to call home for the next year or so.
WHERE: Highway 1, California, USA
WHEN: August 2017
MAKE THIS YOUR YEAR OF ADVENTURE
Make a pledge to travel more in 2017 with the #exploremore2017 campaign, meant to inspire togetherness through travel. You can make your own banner today here!
First, I freaking love how you did the visuals and layout of this post! I also love your featured image! You have such a fun year planned ahead and I can’t think of a more deserving person for all the fun adventures that are ahead! Sapa is still one of my favorite places thanks to that scenery! I wish we could do Cuba this year! That’s going to be amazing! Also, I love that you’re with The Best Ever Food Show! We love his videos and can’t wait to see what you end up in! Happy 2017!
I am going to be on one of those balloons. But on the other mornings, will you watch them with me? PS – recommend changing your Cuba goals from engaging with the locals — to dancing with them.You’ll love it.
I know! You’ll be floating off without me and of course, I have a plan to wake up early everyday in Bagan (and sleep in every other day harhar). Branching off from Myanmar goals is getting closer to you on this trip! 😀 And of course imma dance my feet off in Cuba! Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. Starring mee 😛 Hopefully Diego Luna decides to join me 😛
Love the pictures on this post! so inspiring. Myannmar is on our bucket list this year too! hope you manage to complete everything!
Izzy, thats so amazing you have your whole year chalked out. Have you made all bookings and arranged visas already? I am planning 2017 as well but looks like visas and hotels will be a bit last min. Still contemplating if I need to book in advance. I love your list and everything on it – so similar to my travel tastes – maybe except the sun rise part (I am not a morning person).
Katie @ The Katie Show Blog
Haha don’t worry I take the first month to figure out my resolutions! I love this idea and am inspired by how you linked in a resolution with each travel experience. Good luck to you with all of them, sounds like an exciting year ahead!
I love the idea of a yearly mantra! For the first time, I embraced a phrase — Forward Momentum. Applying the resolutions to very specific travel goals seems like a great idea. I can highly recommend the road trip up Highway 1 (or down 1) in California. I’ve done it once with intention and hit specific parts for fun. I’ve loved it every time! Cuba and Oregon are also on my lists! Happy New Year!
It sounds like you have an amazing year ahead of you! I’m not sure if Voodoo lives up to the hype, but all donuts are good donuts. I haven’t planned anything past June!
Andrea on Vacation
I love that you are matching up your goals with destinations! And voodoo does live up to the hype. The peach fritter one for sure!
I love this unique travel spin on new years resolutions! Immersing yourself in the culture and doing as the locals do is so key!
Great post.. I love the different design of it. I hope you stop through Seoul when you’re headed to Busan and say “hello”! There’s cool stuff to see here too, though I know you know that! Also, don’t just see Busan.. head down to Geojedo from there as well. Great places off the coast there. ^^
Do you think that you’re going to be able to go in all the places that we are planning to? Or you stick to the mantra of this year and try to see just as much as you can do. I see that you have passed already through the “letting go” process, it seems that this is the mantra of this year for me.
I love the idea of unplugging for 24 hours. I can’t tell you the last time I did that. Really needs to go on the bucket list! I also have been interacting with locals more now too. I loved staying in Barbados because it was so safe and we went to all of the local bars and made so many friends.
Your travel resolutions sound amazing! Have fun! Especially in Cuba and California!
Super agree with Megan!
I love how you put your resolution into visuals. Some of them are on my BL too – Taiwan (I love Spirited Away) and Bagan. But haven’t actually put them into action (buy a flight ticket) yet.
Have fun, Izzy! 🙂
I love how your resolutions are so concrete ! Btw, the photos you chose for this post are gorgeous. It makes me want to write down my new year’s resolution as well!
Hm… I never thought of having a mantra. I guess for this year, whether by intention or not, it was “say yes to play”. I’m referring to my kids. I need to put more time into them and less time into my phone, haha. 🙂 Beautiful post. I hope you accomplish all these!
You’ve got them planned out and spread out! What an organised traveler! But where’s Seoul? Aren’t you heading here? Hop on that Train FROM Busan and head to Seoul, ok? and lots of good luck on your travels this year! enjoy!!!!!!
Great resolutions, Izzy! I’m headint to Myanmar in a few months…can’t wait for it! I can’t believe you haven’t been to Busan…I think you’ll dig it. Cuba has been on my list for a while…that should be wild. So happy you’re doing a Cali road trip. I didn’t get the chance to do that when I was on the west coast, so I’ll have to get back soon. Super excited to see all your adventures over the next year…you’re a big inspiration 😀
What an exciting list of 2017 adventures. I feel inspired and envious of you, since I’ve just come back from Jiufen and loved it and won’t be able to join my husband on his current trip to Myanmar. Lastly, thank you for your mention of Sapa, it sounds like a perfect destination for my February trip to Vietnam. Looks like you’ll be traversing in my footsteps and I’m in yours!
Taipei is awesome! I’m sure you’ll love it. You’ve got quite an ambitious list of travel plans for this year. Vietnam is on my list of hopeful future travel, but not this year.
This is such a creative way to think about resolutions and I love it! You have a great 2017 lined up and I can’t wait to finally meet you here in Taipei! We have been loving it so far. So much good food and so many cute things to buy. (Although the weather is very strange lol) I am leaving Korea in March, otherwise I would have loved to have played tour guide in Busan. It’s an awesome city!
I definitely want to take another road trip this year. Last year I went on my first road trip in Cali with my sister and it was a blast! We also did a road trip in Iceland and it was amazing. Ok, it’s clearly time for me to start planning another one 🙂
LC of Birdgehls
Izzy, I have to say that your website is absolutely gorgeous! You’re a real talent with the old graphic design there. I went to Cuba last year and talking to the locals was a definite highlight of the trip – I only wish I knew more Spanish!
These are some fantastic goals…I love them.
uhm can I join you?!
A West Coast Road trip is my dream! I hope to do it in 2018 so I can save up enough money. I can’t wait to see what you have to write this year 🙂
Came across your website researching about teaching in Vietnam. I really love this list of yours – visually pleasing and very inspirational. Truly makes me want to write down my travel goals so I actually go through with them too! Vancouver and Busan are on my list as well. Will definitely be following you to see where your journey takes you. 🙂