New Year’s Resolutions 2017

Normally, I’m not one to go overboard with the whole ‘New Year, New Me’ stuff, but seeing as I am currently going through some sort of transition from one version of myself to another, I feel I ought to indulge in some New Year’s Resolutions!

Of course, these will mostly be travel related, or could at least be applied to travel in some way, shape, or form. This is a travel blog after all! Let’s get started.

1. Book more trips.

It seems like an obvious one, and probably wouldn’t be that big of a deal for a lot of you travelling folk, but for me, actually taking that step from dreams to reality is massive!

Growing up, I never got to go on holiday. I won’t go into huge detail about my childhood, but money for travel wasn’t something we were lucky enough to have. So, travel always seemed like this unattainable dream that I might get to experience once or twice, once I’d earned enough to afford it. I saw it as an unnecessary expense, despite having many ‘bucket list’ destinations that I fantasised about often, but never really looked into.

Since becoming an adult (legally at least) nine years ago, I’ve been on a handful of foreign adventures, but I’ve always felt like a passenger. What I mean by this is, I have always relied on someone else to suggest an idea for a trip, to take the lead in terms of planning, and to stop me from going into full-blown panic mode while we’re travelling (more on this later). What I want to do now is to take charge a little more, even if I’m going with other people. I am big enough and ugly enough to make my own decisions about where I want to go, how long for, and what I get up to while I’m there.

This year, I’m going to book more trips and make more plans, even if most of those are inside the UK and only for a day! I already made a good start in 2016, booking a day trip to Ostend in Belguim, and taking the train to Portsmouth for the first time, among other mini adventures. I also stepped outside of my comfort zone, meeting a new travel companion online and booking up a holiday to Tromsø in Norway, where we’ll be heading in February. I want to keep up the good work and see more places, hopefully more than just a little way down the road!

2. Do some solo travelling.

I have never travelled alone. Well, I’ve caught the train to London several times, but I was well-practised in this after visiting with friends many times previously. What I want to do is to actually go somewhere I haven’t been before, with no one to hold my hand. I want to stay in a hotel by myself, wake up by myself, go for walks by myself, and just be by myself!

A couple of summers ago, I had the opportunity to travel alone, and right up until the morning I was due to leave, I was excited. I felt brave. I felt invincible. However, when I woke up a few hours before I’d planned to, my anxiety really kicked in and I froze. I called off my lift to the bus stop, pretending I was ill, then just went back to bed.

At first, I felt better. I didn’t need to feel scared anymore, but as the weeks and months went by, I started to feel a lot of regret. Every time I see photographs from where I’d planned to go, I feel this little twinge of sadness inside me, like a knot in my stomach. I missed out on some of the most beautiful landscape I would probably ever see in my life, and for what? To spare my nerves about the long bus ride? I must have been crazy.

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My first taste of freedom – Camber Sands, East Sussex, UK

I got my first taste of solo “travel” this summer when I house-sat for my friend in Camber, which is only a ten minute drive from my house. Despite having been to Camber many times before, staying here by myself gave me the chance to experience living alone for the first time in my life. In my area, and on my wages, it’s impossible to rent my own place, so I still live at home at the grand old age of 28 (and 361 days). Fending for myself is not something I get to do often, and I really, really enjoyed it. In fact, the whole experience was the starting point for a huge shift in my life, namely, the decision to travel more and to start this blog.

So, in 2017, I want to do at least one trip by myself. I’m thinking I might book a couple of nights away somewhere in England, just to ease myself into it, and see where I go from there. Watch this space!

3. Perfect my vlogging skills.

In the olden days, I used to make a lot of videos. I studied Media and Film Studies at college, and since then, I’ve had a passion for video editing. I had a couple of professional jobs a few years back, which gave me a real confidence boost, however, working for other people simply isn’t for me. Henceforth, any films I made were just for fun. Also, I discovered my love for photography, which gave me the same creative buzz, but involved a lot less fiddling around on the computer and a lot less stress (video editing can be tough when you’re a perfectionist).

After creating this blog, I realised that I wanted to make something of it. My photography wasn’t really taking off in so far as I wasn’t making any money from it, but maybe, if I combined my images with writing, I could find a way to make it a success.

In my attempts to get my blog noticed, I came across new ways to market it, including Twitter, which I used occasionally, but only for my own entertainment. While scrolling Twitter one day, I discovered Periscope. “I could never be brave enough to use this!” I thought to myself… then a couple of days later, I set up for my first ever live broadcast. It was terrible! I looked awful and I sounded like the most annoying person in the world.

This leads me on to my resolution. I quite like this Periscope stuff, and I’ve shared a few of my travel experiences on there, often including my friend Krissy, with whom I have also put out a couple of live Travel Talk streams on YouTube. The problem is, I just look so freakin’ uncomfortable on camera!

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My stupid face on Periscope.

I know a lot of this comes down to anxiety and how I feel about myself (more on this later), and I don’t want to beat myself up about it too much. I can’t help the way my face moves, but I really ought to try a little more to compose myself when I film myself talking. I find it excruciating to watch myself, so I’m sure other people aren’t going to want to watch me either, unless I sort out my damn face and learn to stop saying “uhhh”!

4. Learn to manage my anxiety.

It’s no secret; I am an anxious mess. Everything I do (or do not do) is governed by my anxiety. I hate it! I want to be able to do all the things I daydream about. I want to go to sleep at night without having to pick apart the finer points of every tiny thing that’s causing me stress, and to wake up in the morning ready to challenge my issues head on.

This is another aspect of my life that I’ve been trying to change. In some ways, I’m doing well, but in others, I feel like I’m regressing. I’m less scared about travelling, but I’m more scared of talking on the phone. I’m less scared of being seen without makeup, but I’m more scared of approaching nice boys… And the things I’m getting more scared about are taking over, making me forget the things I’ve already overcome. It sucks.

So, this year, I need to be more proactive in getting past my anxiety. Whether that means taking more risks, or seeking some kind of therapy, this has to be where it ends. Inside me is a brave warrior who wants to travel the world, kiss boys, make new friends, and be able to call Student Finance without having a nervous breakdown! I need to bring her out so that everyone else can meet her, and finally see the person I see when I’m by myself, daydreaming about how my life really should be.

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Me, attempting to appear carefree in a field.

So, those are my resolutions! I kept the list small because it’s hard to tackle many things at once. I don’t care about going to the gym more or cutting out sugar. I don’t believe such things hold the key to my happiness, so I’m going to focus on these four goals. I wonder if I’ll manage to get there this year…

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