As 2010 winds down, I’m spending time reflecting on the past year and contemplating the year to come. 2010 was the first full year that I spent as a freelance writer, focusing primarily on travel writing and blogging. Over the course of the year, I’ve found that it’s hard to leave work at work because I work from home and on the road … and the places I go, things I eat, shows I see and experiences I have are all a part of what I do for a living.
I always start a new year with general resolutions, and I evaluate my progress over the course of the year. Never before have I set specific resolutions as they relate to travel, but over the past few weeks, I’ve come to realize that the way I travel and do my job has changed over the past year. Whether this is a good or bad thing, I’m not sure, but because of the direction my career is taking, I’ve decided to make the following travel resolutions for 2011:
Have I become jaded? I didn’t think so until someone mentioned to me that I’ve become a bit critical in recent months. In my pre-travel writing days, I used to go places and do things because I wanted to. I still do this, but now I think about how I can share that experience with others. When I review hotels, tours, products, books and other travel-related things, I want to provide you, my readers, with both the positive and negative aspects of the experience. There are things that I’ve been incredibly impressed with and others … well, not so much. My goal is to share my experience while providing you with tips and information so that you can follow in my footsteps informed to make your own decisions.
In this process, however, I suppose it’s possible that I’m forgetting to go into every experience with a clean mindset. I shouldn’t be comparing one hotel to another, nor should I have preconceived notions about what you expect from me. In 2011, I hope to approach my travel experiences with the wide-eyed wonder I had as a kid so that I can provide you honest evaluations from the eyes of someone who isn’t jaded by the industry.
Step away from the work.
Though I’m always looking for the story in any experience I have, in order to keep travel fresh, I have to step away from my work every now and again. How I am going to do this, I’m not sure, because writing about travel helps put food on our table. Perhaps I could travel more with my senses and take fewer pictures and notes in the moment, but I have a horrendous memory, so trying to really live in the moment without any record of it leaves me with very little even a few hours later.
Learn how to tip.
Having worked in the service industry myself, you’d think I would know how to tip, but, despite my efforts to become a more consistent and better tipper when I travel, I still come up short and I still don’t know exactly how much or how to tip. Before leaving home, I always take a handful of five and one dollar bills, but I can’t quite figure out how much I need to give to people when I tip. Can I leave American money, or should I exchange cash into the local currency? I really don’t like to have housekeeping clean my room every day, and I request that people stay out of my room when I travel. How much, then, do I leave for housekeeping?
If you have any advice on how I can learn to tip properly, please leave a comment.
Help you reach your travel goals.
One of the main reasons why I write Kaleidoscopic Wandering is to help you reach your travel goals. If something I write inspires you to go somewhere new or I cite a resource that helps you plan your next trip, then I’ve done my job. But if you find yourself straying from Kaleidoscopic Wandering or you find no reason to come back to this site, please let me know via the contact form. Alternatively, if there are things you absolutely love and want to see more of, or if there’s something else you’d like me to write about, please let me know. I welcome the opportunity to hear from you.
Here’s wishing you happy and safe travels in 2011 … wherever you may go!