2018: New Year, New Goals

Mark Stewart Travel Stories 2 Comments

Typing this from a hut in the Guatemalan jungle, it’s clear that for Kylee and I, the goal we set for ourselves at this time last year has definitely been a success. Getting here was a long road, requiring a lot of sacrifice; and we weren’t entirely sure how it would feel. 

So far, it’s going alright.

While we’ve only been gone two short months at this point, the road here has been long and bumpy. Ridding ones self of material possessions in their thirty’s comes with a lot of backlash and odd questions. It’s certainly not following what’s expected in the West. So now with nearly everything we own stuffed into a couple of backpacks, we’ve relinquished the comforts of home for the tumultuous life of the road. So with what is likely the most difficult part behind us, it’s time to start looking ahead, setting goals for the coming year.

Experiences

More Scuba Diving

Diving Chumpon Pinacle - Koh Tao, Thailand

We’re in Scuba territory, some of the best on earth, and it’s been a few years since we’ve done any serious diving. Unfortunately we’re currently on the wrong side of Central America to really see the proper waters of the Caribbean. Thankfully later in the spring we’ll be spending some time on the Northern coast of Colombia, where the diving is not only amazing, but surprisingly affordable! 

Surfing

While I’ve given it a go several times in the past, I’d definitely like to improve my game; or at the very least, be able to stay standing long enough to convince myself that I’m not a complete failure. This one will hopefully arrive sooner than later, as soon into the new year we’ll be spending a few weeks in El Salvador, which just happens to have some of the best surfing on the continent.

Master the Ukulele

Kylee first picked it up a few years back and seeing as we’ve got a little more spare time, she’s committed to putting in a little added effort, in hopes of being the next big travelling rock star! (My words, not Kylee’s)

New Unique Recipe Per Month

Cooking for ourselves is one of the best ways we’re able to save money while on the road, but so often it’s a little too easy to fall back to the staples of pasta and fried rice. Being surrounded by a culture rich in amazing ingredients and traditional recipes, we’re hoping to be able to confidently prepare one recipe each month unique to the region.

Learn How Build Mud Huts

This one has been a long-term goal for both of us. Although it’s not only uncommon back in Canada, it’s also very impractical. Hopefully we’ll encounter a volunteering position in the coming year where we can not only contribute to the construction of said huts, but also learn the techniques involved, for our own possible future use.

Read One Book a Month

Reading is one of the the simplest and rewarding things we can do, yet in day-to-day life finding the time often feels like a chore. If I have one favourite thing about the time I spent working up in Northern Alberta, it would be the abundance of free time I had to read. Travelling is another great opportunity to blast through some books, and also provides the time to reflect on said reading.

Travel Goals

Bangkok

Actually Southeast Asia in general, but seeing as Bangkok is one of our favourite cities, it would most likely be our base camp if we returned. With it’s bright colours, stunning beaches, friendly people and some of the greatest food around, it’s no surprise as to why it’s one of the most visited regions on the planet. Aside from a brief visit through town back in 2011, we haven’t visited Southeast Asia since 2007 and we’ve been dying to get back for years! 

Georgia/Armenia

Noodle Soup in Bangkok - I Dream of this moment

One of the ways we choose a destination, especially when said destination may fall a little off the typical tourist trail, is by our rule of three. Once a destination is mentioned to us in positive light, by at least three people - whether someone we know or some place entirely random -  it goes on the list. We’ve lost count as to how many people have told us to visit Georgia, though unfortunately, we haven’t found ourselves anywhere nearby. We’re hoping the opportunity will arise in the coming year which will allow us to visit this apparently stunning country. And while so close, we might as well throw Armenia in the mix as well.

Madagascar

This fascinating African nation is another that’s been on the list for many years. In fact our Honeymoon/Europe trip back in 2013 was originally slated to be spent in South Africa, Madagascar and the Seychelles… until we did the math and looked at our savings. Not sure if the stars will align this time around, but we’ll keep our schedule open just in case.

Morocco on the Edge of the Sahara

Morocco

Whether eating spicy tagine while watching the sun set over the Sahara, or surfing the warm Atlantic waves off the coast of Casablanca; theres something about Morocco that seems to draw every traveller in over time. I've never understood what it is, yet I feel the same urge to visit; hopefully soon.

Basque Country (Spain)

A Mecca for serious food travellers. Brought into the mainstream by the great Anthony Bourdain, cities such as San Sebastian have been a holy grail of the food world food scene long before ‘A Cooks Tour’ shone the light onto a food culture as religious as Catholicism. Visiting the Basque region of Spain has been a dream of ours almost as long as the idea of travel itself.

These Foreign Roads

This been something we’ve dabbled in for many years, although not until this current endeavour have we really taken it seriously. Like most travel blogs, it’s something we began to keep family and friends informed of our travels. However, we aren’t treating this trip as some long-term holiday, we’re looking at eventually turning the blog into a source of revenue, and have spent countless hours researching ways to do so.

Our dream is to sustain long-term travel; it has been for years. However the act of travel - moving from place to place - requires money, a finite resource. Sure, we take advantage of every money-saving opportunity we can, whether that be volunteering in exchange for accommodation, cooking for ourselves, or staying in often questionable rooms. 

Being able to actually bring in money is probably our biggest overall focus for the coming year. We’re looking into every option available to us, whether that be freelance writing or selling photos, to teaching English. Our biggest goal of 2018 in regards to the website itself would be to increase traffic to the blog, hopefully leading to future job opportunities and increased ability to travel as a result.

Happy New Year!

Whether you’re dancing till all hours of the morning, or having a quiet evening by the fire with loved ones, Kylee and I are grateful for every moment you take to share in our adventures. Wherever you find yourself this December 31st, we wish you all the best.

Thank you, and Happy 2018!

“There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”C. S. Lewis

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Michael Harcus

Thanks for sharing your journeys. It is a good reminder we can do anything if we just jump in and do it.