We’re halfway through January, which means a lot of us are taking stock of the promises we made to ourselves when the ball dropped two weeks ago. We wanted to become more organized, spend more time with loved ones, be more active, eat better, and find a new passion or follow an old dream. One of the most common vows that we make is to learn more about the world and make educational travel a real priority in our lives.
And believe me when I tell you…you really can do it all! The wondrous thing about travel resolutions is that it can accomplish many of these things. On our Road Scholar Intergenerational program, "Costa Rica: Raft, Hike and Learn to Say ‘Vámonos!’" for example, you’ll learn under experienced teachers, perfect your Spanish speaking skills during hands-on, interactive sessions, eat amazing local food, experience Costa Rica’s great outdoors with thrilling hikes in the rainforest, zip lining adventures, river rafting, and beach explorations — all in the company of your grandchild!
That’s just one example of how Road Scholar programs can combine a lot of our hopes, dreams, and interests into one unforgettable experience. But even though I’ve been on many of these learning adventures, I always set some personal travel goals for the year. So without further ado, here are my travel resolutions for 2014. I hope you find them useful!
Embrace Solo Travel
Journeying solo does not necessarily mean going alone, especially when you are with Road Scholar. Our programs offer unique opportunities for the solo participant to engage both intellectually and socially while exploring the world. They often find these learning adventures empowering and rewarding, but also very much appreciate the comfort of being with a group they can trust. I’ve heard so many wonderful stories through the years, so I’ve vowed to myself that this year is the year that I try a solo experience of my own!
Build My Travel Savings Account
One way that I can stick to my travel resolutions is by setting some reasonable financial goals. You can do this too by starting up or adding to a travel fund designated for travel and only travel. Our bank accounts (mine, anyway!) often dictate where we get to go and when, so make a commitment that works for you, whether it’s taking a small percentage out of your paycheck or putting away a little cash into a travel-specific savings account every month. Every penny counts. Before you know it, you’ll have enough saved up for that dream learning adventure!
Don’t Underestimate Myself
We all doubt ourselves and our abilities once in a while, but sometimes all it takes is a little inspiration from your fellow lifelong learners to give you the courage you need to try something new, fun, even scary. I certainly gained a new perspective by watching people on Road Scholar programs challenge themselves and each other, whether it’s climbing a mountain or grasping a difficult concept. They’ve helped me to understand the importance of maintaining good health, an active mind, and physical stamina.
This year I vow to leave the clogs, blow-dryers and big books behind and leaving more room for the experience itself. Heavy luggage and accessories can really weigh a travel experience down, in more ways than one. They are uncomfortable to haul around and can also result in high baggage fees. For all Road Scholar programs, you’ll receive a packet that includes important information that will help you prepare for your trip, including clothing and packing suggestions. Travel is much more enjoyable if you aren’t burdened with heavy and large pieces of luggage!
Expand My Horizons
Stepping outside of your comfort zone and seeking challenging and rewarding experiences are excellent opportunities for learning and growth. This quote from a Road Scholar participant named Julie continues to inspire me:
“My perspective on the world wasn’t changed as much as it was expanded. Now when I think of Africa it’s not just a continent on a map—it’s changing scenery from trees to grasslands, it’s animals and birds, it’s peaceful scenes (impalas and kudus quietly grazing) and emotionally powerful scenes (lions stalking and killing a buffalo), it’s lovely people living simply without all the things we seem to need.”
Traveling isn’t just about getting from point A to point B. For Road Scholar participants, including myself, it’s about having a memorable and rewarding learning experience.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my resolutions! If you’re still looking for one, start simple: take the plunge. Make this the year you finally pass through the Sun Gate at Machu Picchu, see the North Pole, or experience the exhilaration of planning and embarking on your first solo travel experience. When you look back on 2014, you’ll remember it as the year you fulfilled one of your lifelong dreams.
VP, Program Development