On a whim a few years ago, I decided to set some “travel intentions” to help guide my upcoming year’s plans, and this has become a nice habit as we careen into the last few days of December.
What are “travel intentions”? Well as I’ve said before, I’m not a big believer in resolutions at the start of the year. But a while back I started thinking about “intentions” for travel because I wanted to be more…well, intentional.
When I was much younger my travel was amazing but super random. Flying by the seat of my pants, just booking whatever came up. And it was great. But it doesn’t serve me as well these days.
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I didn’t write any intentions for travel for this past year (2021) other than…travel. With how 2020 ended up going, that felt ambitious enough. So I’m feeling very energized picking this habit back up with some travel intentions for 2022.
That’s not to say that 2021 was a bust, though. Not at all! I managed to fulfill some of my 2017, 2019, and 2020 intentions that has slipped past me in their respective years. I did finally figure out how to use my Delta companion pass!! I managed to earn Delta Platinum Medallion (vs. Gold last year) and did a lot more exploring around the U.S.
I’ve continued to fall short in other areas…Asia has remained out of reach, I’m even worse at planning trips ahead of time (thanks, COVID), and I still didn’t get my PADI certification (due to foot surgery). I’m purposefully leaving PADI certification off this year’s list in the superstitious belief that I’ll actually DO it if it’s not on the list (ha!).
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My 2022 travel intentions
So now I’m back to settling on a few ideas, or soft goals, or “travel intentions” for 2022, mostly to be more intentional and shape some of my travel plans this year. These sort of reflect where my head is at right now and the types of things that bring me joy.
For instance I still want to learn more languages (learning Spanish was on one of my earlier lists) but just don’t have the energy and time right now to tackle it. On the other hand, I’ve been spending more time cooking and baking lately, and love the idea of learning traditional recipes from other countries.
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#1 – Not let restrictions keep me from traveling
Yes, it’s more work to travel right now, on so many levels. Travel of pretty much any type requires more planning, flexibility, and a little more risk tolerance than it might have a couple years ago. And obviously everyone has to decide for themselves where they land on that spectrum and what they feel is worth it.
But I’ve resolved not to let it kill my travel mojo. I loooove traveling and find my energy in it, and there’s a general momentum at play where, when I don’t get out and travel frequently, I get really lazy and intensely homebody-ish. It becomes easier over time to just do…nothing. So I’m setting a clear intention to make sure I have something planned at least every couple months.
Depending on what the state of the world looks like at that moment, it might just be a weekend trip to somewhere nearby (like Cincinnati) or spending 4-5 days somewhere cool in the U.S. (maybe finally my Florida Keys roadtrip!). Or I may find a flexible window where real international travel is more realistic like I did when I snuck out to Portugal this fall.
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#2 – Explore more locally
That means both in the more immediate “Kentuckiana” area (Louisville and southern Indiana) where I live, but also getting to know the surrounding area (within 2-3 hours). There’s so much around here that I don’t even know about, but even what I do know is quite a lot.
From the beautiful Red River Gorge to up-and-coming Indianapolis, Bourbon Trail adventures (including Lexington) and a ton of cool state parks…heck, I found out there’s even an “Indiana Uplands Wine Trail” near me which, I have a lot of thoughts about but am willing to try. Further afield you have Cincinnati, Nashville, Columbus, St. Louis, and more (all under 4 hours).
And there’s Louisville proper, which I’ve barely even scratched the surface on, whether that’s great restaurants, urban bourbon distilleries, or charming local shops. I’ve done a tiny bit better here but I need to be more intentional in the coming year to really make the most of where I live!
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#3 – Visit one new national park
I had a good run with this for a few years, but didn’t get to visit any in 2021. I did make sure one lesser-known national park was on my list of where to visit in 2022 list (the stunning North Cascades National Park) but I’m also looking into some of the newer ones like Indiana Dunes, New River Gorge (WV), and White Sands (NM).
National parks (no matter the country) are also a great option for travel for those wanting more wide-open spaces and fewer people. They’re an amazing investment and something we should all support. And it’s insane that there are over 60 U.S. national parks (with some only getting a few thousand visitors a year, vs. millions for the most popular).
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#4 – Play around with travel videos more
I’m really not a video person, both in terms of watching them (I’d rather read an article) or being in front of the camera. I’m not good about even thinking to take video while traveling (besides vertical IG Stories), not to mention the amount of time it takes to then edit everything.
But I need to get better. It’s a huge opportunity to really give people an immersive glimpse into travel experiences, and it’s a good technical skill to develop. I did one little video playing around with footage on-hand below, and hopefully I get MUCH better as time goes on 🙂 So feel free to follow long on my YouTube channel as I figure this out!
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#5 – Take a cooking class somewhere new
I’m on the record as being a huge fan of food-based travel, and have made various types of food tours and experiences a foundational part of my travel ethos. One of my travel intentions in 2022 is to take this a step further and more hands-on.
To me, one of the coolest ways to truly experience a culture is through making its food. Many of you might not know that I also run a cooking/baking blog called Finding Time for Cooking where I can indulge my love for actually preparing food (not just eating it), and I’ve long wanted to go behind the scenes with locals to learn how they make different dishes.
Fun fact: I actually learned to cook in Italy when I studied abroad, and have made true Italian dishes a major part of my regular repertoire. I desperately wish I’d had a chance to take a cooking class in Turkey, as it’s one of my all-time favorite cuisines. And so on one of my next adventures I intend to seek out a cooking class that will give me a skill to take home…the best souvenir possible!
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#6 – Take more weekend trips
I used to CRUSH weekend and long weekend trips, because when I lived in Atlanta I could seriously get anywhere really easily. So I snagged cheap flights and would head to Europe just for a long weekend. But living in Louisville I’ve fallen into a routine and rarely think about venturing out for a quick weekend adventure.
From the super local weekend trips I mentioned at the outset of this post to more diverse domestic destinations like Sedona (which was great), Chicago, Charleston (on my 2022 list), one of the U.S.’s great wine regions, and so much more, you’d be shocked what you can accomplish in just two or three days.
And the options are nearly limitless, not just domestically but quick jaunts to the Caribbean and Mexico, plus further afield once travel gets a bit easier. Expect to see more long weekend travel from me!
So this gives you a sense of where my head is at on my travel intentions for 2022. I’m excited to get started, and would love to hear from you on what you’d like to accomplish this year. Hit me up in the comments!
[Update from the future: here are my 2023 travel intentions…]
Trip itineraries to inspire you in 2022:
- An Amazing Southern Utah Roadtrip: Zion & Bryce Canyon National Parks
- Istanbul For First-Timers: Planning Guide & 3-Day Istanbul Itinerary
- Epic Road Trip Itinerary: A Guide To The Oregon Coast
- An Awesome Long Weekend Itinerary in Portland & Willamette Valley
- The Perfect 7-Day Ireland Roadtrip Itinerary: Hidden Gems
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