There are many external reasons why I’m ready to say farewell to 2017, but internally I’ve never felt happier and healthier. Despite an unexpected move from our condo, we’ve settled into our new space almost seamlessly. By visiting the gym almost daily, my body has grown stronger and leaner. By removing unnecessary clutter from our space, I’ve never felt more clear-headed. We’ve always cooked at home a lot, but finding ways to make both staples and travel-inspired dishes at home that don’t take up a lot of time (that’s key!) helps keep our time focused on each other. This year we’ve visited new places (Montreal, Indianapolis, Nashville, Providence, Italy, Kansas City, Boston, Miami) and revisited old ones (Tampa, Atlanta, New York City). We’ve put a lot of practices in place this year to help us continue to enjoy traveling without incurring any debt. We started this blog to be able to share about our experiences and the things we learn along the way, and we’ve made connections through Instagram with others living in a similar way.
I’ve never been one to make overly-challenging or demanding New Year’s Resolutions, because I know myself all too well and would end up setting myself up for failure. Any time you are establishing goals it’s important to make sure they are attainable, which is why most of my New Year’s Resolution tend to lean heavily on qualitative goals rather than quantifiable ones (though I was successful in a thirty books resolution a few years back, I ended up finishing the last book while getting ready to go out on New Year’s Eve). This year’s resolutions are what I would consider small steps, slight tweaks to my usual routine to better life for myself and others. The items below are not earth-shattering, and if I slip up or don’t complete one, there’s always tomorrow. I think as long as the general trend is improvement, that’s all that matters. Here are the areas of my life I’m looking to make changes that add value:
FOR HOME & LIFESTYLE
Less plastic. In our college days we couldn’t afford any better than plastic utensils, cups, storage items, etc. and so that is what we bought. For 2018 I’m going to be much more mindful about what I buy (no more plastic storage bins!), making sure the materials are more natural and healthful. I’d also like to begin transitioning away from the plastic things we already own, but slowly and carefully.
More organic/seasonal food and greener products. We eat a lot of organic food already, but I want to be more careful in my produce selection. This may mean spending more or foregoing items out of season, but that’s okay. I want to continue using up the consumable products I have on hand, and begin replacing with better alternatives when they are empty.
Less food waste. We’ve improved in this area as well, but I want to get even better at eating up all of the food I buy before it goes bad. We could definitely improve on our meal-planning and shopping-list planning.
Retirement savings. I’m way too old to not have a grown-up’s retirement account. I already set aside some out of each paycheck with the state’s retirement program, but I know it won’t be enough. It’s time to put on my big-girl pants and open an IRA.
Less-frequent shopping/reducing impulse buys. This is a carry-over resolution from last year. I’ve definitely improved in this area, but I feel it’s something I will always struggle with. We rarely place ourselves in physical stores these days (except for grocery stores, and stores when we travel, however we’re safely limited by what we can bring back with us), but by starting this blog I’ve begun “consuming” other blogs and sometimes that “want” creeps in.
Practice more self-care. I feel like I’m still trying to determine what my self-care needs are, but I do know that I need to get more massages and another haircut or two a year. I’d like to spend more time in nature, and really ensure that I wind down every evening with a good book and some herbal tea.
Explore home more, too. More than once we’ve heard and incredulous, “You haven’t been to (this place here in Florida)?” We need to visit our own backyard as well, appreciating what our state has to offer and feeding our dollars into the local economy. We still plan to travel out of state and country in 2018, but I’m also looking forward to a monthly day- or overnight-Florida trip. We’ll share those here, too!
Practice the languages of each country we visit. I hate to say that we’ve grown a little lazy when traveling to Europe, because nearly everyone we encounter seems to speak at least a little English, but I want to make sure I’m even more confident with greetings and pleasantries. I also want to make sure I know enough food words, so that I don’t end up with another dish like “sarde in saor,” which is a dish entirely composed of sardines and onions (blegh) I unknowingly ordered in Venice.
Take an adventure-vacation. Because of time-constraints, we usually stick to one city on our weekend trips. Sometime this year I’d like to include an active vacation – something like skiing, snorkeling, hiking, etc.
Continue adding photography. I’m not sure we’ll ever get to the point of bringing our DSLR camera on trips other than day-trips, but I want to get more comfortable both behind and in front of the camera. I do recognize that a lot of blogs outsource photography, but I want to keep everything on this site all based in-house.
Network and grow. So much more than “increasing followers” I want to increase engagement and interactions not only here but on other platforms as well. There are so many amazing women with whom I share common interests and would love to connect. I just need to get over my shyness and say hello!
Getting ahead on posts. This is probably something that will take awhile, since we both work full time and are usually traveling in our spare time. I need to figure out when my most inspiring writing time is and harness that time.
In reading this list I’m simultaneously overwhelmed and excited about the year ahead. I’m optimistic about what the year ahead holds, and the places we’ll visit. I’m most excited to share these experiences here, with you.
How are you feeling about 2018? Are you planning on making any resolutions this year?