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I have always believed in the importance of marking important occasions. As a psychologist, I understand how crucial it is for our wellbeing that we go through the journey of slowing down and relaxing in December before we start again at a full speed in January – a month that we enter full of hope for the upcoming year and for the kind of person we are going to be. As I have become more comfortable in my skin however, I have been feeling less of a need for the “new me” and more a desire to look at the little improvements and changes I can introduce to my everyday life to help release my full potential. While I feel I have been doing fairly well in terms of travel itself and visiting new countries (especially having met my annual goal of 5 new countries), reflecting on the 2019 I was painfully aware of my shortcomings as a travel blogger. In the spirit of the hope that the new year, and even more – a new decade- offers, here are the three travel-related New Year’s resolutions I will be doing my best to keep this year:

1.Create a routine with space for travel 

The last two years saw me sacrificing a lot of the things that were important for me in the name of the demanding job I’ve had. Between long working ours and incessant business trips, there was very little time left for any travel writing or even travelling for pleasure. Although I managed to make the most of the places I visited and posted about them as much as I could, I have regretted not being able to devote more time and attention to my TravelPsyched blog.

As I am starting my new job shortly, I will be working on creating a routine that supports my dreams. I will keep some regular weekly slots for writing new blog posts and  will incorporate time daily to post on my instagram account and read travel-related content. I will remain flexible however, having learnt in the past that you cannot force creativity.

2. Build my Travel Tribe 

One of my greatest realisations of 2019 was that even though I still consider myself an introvert, I really appreciate the company of likeminded people. I cannot tell you what a great difference meeting two fellow travel bloggers made to my Helsinki trips! Suddenly I had friends I was looking forward to meeting, changing the weekly business trips into a much more positive experience.

I remember how few years ago I was delivering coaching sessions with the use of FIRO-B. In this framework, Will Schutz proposed that all humans have a need for inclusion, control and affection, although the extent to which we are driven by each of these psychological factors can differ across individuals. Making friends in Finland made me feel like I had a group of people who got me, equipped me with a greater sense of being in charge of what my life and routine look like and provided me with the warmth and kindness that dispelled the bouts of loneliness I felt being away from my family. It reminded me that after all “people need people” and that everything becomes better when you have someone in your life that you can truly connect with.

In the spirit of cultivating these connections, I will challenge myself in 2020 to reach out to others more and build a community of fellow travellers, so that we can support each other in our writing endeavours and keep that wanderlust fire burning.

3. Travel more consciously 

2019 was the year that made me even more conscious of the impact our actions have on the climate and our planet. I decided I can no longer continue choosing convenience over social responsibility and started developing more sustainable habits, such as reducing plastic waste, carrying my own reusable water bottle and coffee cup, saying no to meat and supporting local vendors selling seasonal produce.  I know however that it is not nearly enough and that especially my air travel is still contributing to the climate challenges we are facing globally. I will do my best this year to become more conscious of my carbon footprint as well as the ways in which I carry myself abroad. While I would like to think I travel quite responsibly, I am aware that I have made mistakes in the past that may have been avoided had I done more research into the environmental and social impact of some of the popular tourist attractions. I will be sharing my findings and the journey to a more conscious travel with you on my blog and instagram and hope to hear from you on the actions you are taking this year to make this world a better place!

          Have a very Happy New Year and a wonderful start into the new decade!

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