Happy New Year! I am determined that 2022 is going to be great and filled with amazing explorations. As a former teacher, I'm just getting used to the idea that a new year starts in January. For the vast majority of my life, a new year began in September, and that's when I would reflect and create a list of goals for my year ahead. The school calendar no longer controls my life, so I get to join the rest of the world and set my goals when as the calendar changes. Goal setting is important for me, but it's essential that I set achievable goals. That makes setting travel resolutions during a pandemic particularly challenging. As long as the pandemic continues to grip the world, we don't know which destinations, if any, will be available, for how long, and how much notice of change will be given. I choose to be aware of Canadian travel advisories and I lean towards following the requests of our health authorities when they ask us to avoid non-essential travel. In selecting my 2022 Resolutions, I've tried to make sure almost all can be achieved within Canada, if necessary. I'll try to remember to come back next year and see how I've done.
1. Get Out of My Comfort Zone
This is good advice generally, not just for travel. It's important to challenge myself. My strategy for getting out of my comfort zone for the upcoming year will be my explorations with Wanda. I plan on going further off-grid and spending more time camping. I want to challenge myself to try new skills and to try something that makes me uncomfortable.
2. Explore a New Canadian destination
There's a whole lot of Canada that I have yet to see. I have been to every province but not the territories (yet). Even though I have slowly driven coast to coast I have barely seen any of this vast country. For this resolution, I mean any location not specifically mentioned below. I'm not sure where to find that place(s?) yet. I'm assuming that will become more clear as the year unfolds... hopefully.
3. Speak more French
I have been learning French throughout the pandemic but I need real-world authentic practice. One of my destinations this year needs to be in a francophone area where I must use my skills. This is trickier than it may seem. On my recent trip to Quebec, almost everyone immediately and kindly switched to English, rather than speak more slowly and struggle with me. Other times people spoke around me, addressing Mady, and expecting her to translate. I can't fault people for choosing a means of communicating more easily and efficiently but I need to find francophone people who are less comfortable with English than I am with French!
4. Learn to Fly a Drone
I really want to try aerial photography but I'm not ready to invest a huge amount of money. I've decided to get a small lightweight drone, under 50g, so I won't be required to have a license. I can't fly it in my community due to the proximity to an international airport, but I'll find a place where I can practice and spend some time really figuring it out.
I was never very good at driving my brother's RC toys as a kid, I can't imagine I will be any better this time. I will probably play with it a lot before I share anything... unless I crash it. If that happens, this may be the last you hear of this goal!
5. Travel with Less Environmental Impact
This is a struggle for me. I make a lot of choices in my daily routines that reduce waste, my carbon impact, and are kind(er) to the environment. I know that many of my travel activities, especially transportation, are an environmental drain and I hate that. I take very small solace knowing I've made efforts to reduce my impact on the environment in other ways whether travelling or not. Do my choices offset my impact? Probably not but I will continue to try. Steps I will take this year will include spending more time in one spot rather than travelling place to place every day. I will use my solar power options, reduce my use of water, and use biodegradable products when touring with Wanda.
6. Take More Getaways
It's been tough here in British Columbia to organize any kind of travel over the past year. Between pandemic travel restrictions, wildfires, flooding, and mud slide non-essential movement has been severely limited. I plan on seizing opportunities to get away this coming year. On those occasions that there are a string of open days, I want to be able to spontaneously throw some food in Wanda's freezer and go, even if it's just a few days. Yes, this resolution may conflict with #5 above, but so much is going to depend on situations way outside of my control.
7. Gold Rush Trail
I haven't done this trip since I was a teenager and I have been wanting to do this trip for a lot of years. For many reasons I haven't managed to find time to dedicate to a road trip, or when I had time, a more appealing destination or some other issue interfered. I am determined to do it this year. I will follow the route of the 1857 Gold Rush to Barkerville, then I want to spend some time in Wells Gray National Park hiking and enjoying nature. This is a trip that would be most appealing in the summer months if we can avoid scorching heat domes and fires.
Perhaps after my time in Wells Gray Park, I might head north to the Yukon Territory to visit the places of the 1897 Klondike Gold Rush. The northern territory of the Yukon is located east of Alaska. It's wild and sparsely populated. The Yukon is home to Canada's highest peak, largest ice fields, the smallest desert and the westernmost point in Canada. It has an incredible diversity of wildlife. I want to visit the gold town of Dawson City and visit Kluane National Park.
I'm thinking this is best combined with #7 as a summer road trip.
9. Grand Canyon National Park
If I do manage to get down to the US, I plan on heading to see the Grand Canyon. To be truthful, I want to visit many US National Parks in western USA. Grand Canyon Park seems to be a good place to start. I have looked at photos of incredible views and amazing hikes that I need to experience myself. Other people's photos and stories just aren't enough. I would like to go in the off-season, perhaps spring or fall to avoid the summer crowds during the summer. The biggest barrier to achieving this is the pandemic. I'm hoping that we're going to see the end of pandemic conditions this year and we begin to understand our new normals.
10. Learn to Take a Selfie
I really suck at selfies. Using my DSLR to take selfies is a no-go without a tripod. When I use my phone it slides as I try to hold it resulting in lovely photos of my left eyebrow or forehead. I take shots up my nose, my facial expressions are stiff and stupid, nor can I figure out how to frame selfie shots. I have never taken a selfie with my phone that was even moderately acceptable. If I'm going to continue this blogging venture AND explore more places without people, I am going to have to master my tripod and timer.
After the last couple of years, just to travel anywhere will be the biggest resolution for many. If this whole pandemic has taught us anything about travel, it’s how much we once took this freedom to move and explore for granted. I'm a dreamer but I really believe that 2022 is going to include travel and great adventures. How about you? Will you make New Year's Resolutions for 2022? What travel resolutions will make your list? Let me know in the comments...
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