Two decades. My whole life can be summed up in those words, and oh, what a life it has been. Although I am nowhere close to some of the future Monicas I envisioned 14 years ago (an astronaut, a missionary nun, and a professor), at least I’ve got the traveling part of all three professions pat down. Outer space continues to be too far and too scary, but I’ve been in a anti-gravity room; seen cosmic collisions up close; and tried counting the stars in more places than I can count. That’s close enough, I reckon.
My Grandpa is somewhere around 80-90 years old, and he has been to 125+ countries and all continents. I’ve barely started on my own journey, and my scoreboard reads: 4 countries and one continent. Now if there’s something I can’t resist, it’s a good challenge. Of course, there’s still a whole lot of [life] lessons to be learned and a variety of adventures waiting to be experienced, but I’ll get there someday.
I’m not a firm believer in New Year’s Resolutions. Back in Grade School, English and Filipino teachers always had us write about our resolutions for the new year and how we’d go about fulfilling them. Then I grew up and I realized that the lists I used to make made it as far as the paper I wrote it down on before I forgot all about them. That got me feeling a little disappointed in myself, so I swore I wouldn’t write another one that I wasn’t sure I’d get to religiously fulfill.
On the night before my 20th birthday, I got the idea of making a list of goals I wanted to achieve by the end of the year. My original list consisted mostly of health- and food-related items, so I thought it would be grand to whip up a separate travel-centered one. I use the term “goals” to ease the pressure my lists have on myself, and at the end of the year, every goal fulfilled translates to half a piece of Silvanas + one sour tape.
In random order, here are my 20 travel goals on my 20th year of love, growth, and an affinity for leaving my house.
- Pack at least 2 days before a trip
- Don’t stress over the smallest details
- Use rubber bands when packing
- Get a new travel backpack
- Snorkel more often
- Climb a mountain
- Finish the 37-day SEA trip uneventfully
- Find a travel-funding job
- Finally get around to writing about past [food] trips
- Add to magnet collection
- Add to postcard collection
- Don’t delay travel journaling
- Read a book per trip
- Make new friends 🤔 (pretty hard)
- Stop buying souvenirs for everybody
- Be more aware of my environment
- Get a passport holder/cover
- Equip self with a digital baggage weighing scale
- Start a travel fund jar