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Thursday, January 1, 2009

My new year's resolutions list for 2009

Well, here goes..
1. Make time for more meaningful experiences with family and friends
- we didn't see our family and close friends enough in 2008 and when we did it all seemed so fleeting. That has to change.

2. Travel less and stay longer
- we lived out of our suitcases for another 365 days in 2008. It's time to stay put for a bit. That doesn't mean no travel, it means when we travel I want to stay longer in places, rent apartments more, and live more like locals, as we did this year in Milan and Turkey. This may be a personal goal of mine, but I also predict it's going to be a growing trend for 2009.

3. Write that book about our three years on the road
- that's right, it's almost three years and what an intense three years it's been: we've written, contributed to and updated 26 guidebooks, worked for dozens of different publishers, written scores of articles for magazines, newspapers and websites, travelled to some 30 countries, and caught flights like most people catch buses. It's time to share some stories.

4. Start that online travel business we've been talking about for so long
- now you'll just have to wait to hear all about this one... but don't worry, you'll be the first to know.

5. Make our travel experiences more meaningful
- after I spend two weeks on a beach in Thailand recovering from our three years of intensive travel, I want to ensure that from then onwards all our travels experiences are more enriching.

6. Volunteer/donate
- it's time to give more to people and projects that need support. It's hard to commit to any ongoing volunteering when we travel so much, so I need to explore ways I can donate my services/time ,and one-off volunteering experiences we can do and write about.

7. Support indigenous Australians more
- as an Australian I am so embarrassed about the racism that still exists in Australia and how so many of our indigenous people live in poverty, the over-crowding in communities, the lack of educational opportunities and health care, the social problems. Some of my most enriching experiences this year have been meeting indigenous artists and guides in the Northern Territory. These experiences shouldn't be rare. I need to figure out ways in which I can help effect some positive kind of change.

8. Write the books we really want to write
- Terry and I have a tonne of ideas we've been developing over the years for books that combine his photography with travel and oral narratives. This is the year we get one of them off the ground.

9. Go places we haven't been before
- we have re-visited a lot of places this year, returning to some places for the umpteenth time - but that's why we get commissioned, for our destination expertise, and we have to go where the work is. But this year I want to make an extra effort to go to places I have never been, places that were on my list last year: Yemen, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Bhutan, Burma, and Guatemala for starters.

10. Slow down
- 2008 raced by, more so than any other year. Is this what is meant by 'life after 40'? Or are we just doing too much too fast. I think it's time to spend a bit more time smelling some roses - or simply breathing in the fragrance of eucalyptus in the Aussie bush.
Your turn.


Caitlin said...

Sounds like a great list! Good luck and enjoy 2009.

Oreste said...


Unknown said...

I believe there's a mathematical inverse formula that says as we get older, time seems to move faster. But, I think we can appreciate the best moments more, even if they seem more fleeting. Daydream more, it's a worthwhile therapy despite a socioeconomic drive for optimum time management. Daydream with friends, now there's a treat. Nicholas is nearly 2, he communicates with gestures, and tells jokes in a language that we can't understand, but he laughs with so much pleasure you can't help but join him. He keeps us grounded.
I hope you find the time, the quality time with family and friends. It may be something you want, but its also a very appreciated gift from you.

Fly Girl said...

Whoa Lara! Your list of resolutions made me tired, lol! Actually you made a lot of resolutions that I've been thinking about. I'm just still too chicken to write them down...

Lara Dunston said...

Hi Caitlin - thanks! I hope you have a fantastic 2009 too!

Hello Oreste - Happy New Year to you also!

Hi there Fly Girl - oh gosh, they're probably going to exhaust me too - let's see how many I can actually achieve. I'm looking forward to reading yours...

Lara Dunston said...

Hi Gregory

Thanks for the comments... yeah, I'm not so sure about that mathematical theory of yours. We've been on the road three years (not planned of course, just happened that way) and I felt the first two years went so slowly. We did an enormous amount of travel, went to more places than we have this year, although this year has been insane too, but for some reason it just feels like it has sped by. Places we were at and things we did in March just feel like they happened yesterday - the memories have a clarity about them, there's a sense of immediacy I haven't had other years... it's odd, I can't fathom it. Perhaps there's a psychological reason?

I know what you're saying about children. We've just spent some time with my sister's little ones, as I mentioned in the post, and they are disarming. You do let any guard down that you might have had. You react yourself in a childlike manner - and nothing wrong with that. Being with them is refreshing and therapeutic. I can't help thinking I better get a couple myself.

And I'm glad you say that time is a gift appreciated by them also. I don't think I fully understood that myself until recently - my niece and nephews want us to stay around, my sister appreciates us spending time with them, and I've never appreciated that fully until now. The challenge is to fit family in Australia with careers as travel writers-photographers based in Dubai, whose jobs require us to travel all over the world a lot. Something I need to work on.

Thank you so much for your thoughts, Gregory - really appreciate them. Happy new year!

Anonymous said...

Glad to have found your blog to start 2009. A great list of goals here.

Having only spent 3 months in Australia, I'm amazed at the problems faced by many Aboriginals here: good on you for planning to do something.

Anonymous said...

Hey Lara! Welcome back to blogsphere :)

Great resolutions. Wishing you an even greater year!

Looking forward to reading you and Terry's adventures this year


Anonymous said...

I especially like your resolution to make your travel experiences more meaningful. This year, I will aim to do the same. Also like the idea of spending a longer time at the same place and live like locals.

Lara Dunston said...

Hi Craig

Welcome! And thank you! Yes, we've been astounded at the Aboriginal problems too and astonished more Australians aren't doing more. Aussies were happy to go to Asia and rebuild houses for tsunami victims and 'adopting' orphans in Africa is as popular as ever, but very few seem interested in the problems in their own back yard.

Hey there Lola - thank you! I'm afraid my return will be short-lived. In a couple of days we take a 2-day train trip to Adelaide, then we hit the road again, but I'm going to try and leave some posts on the timer to pop up while I'm travelling - we'll see if that works. So more on our adventures soon!

Hi there Erica - thanks, making travel more meaningful is going to be one of my goals generally this year. Like living locals, it's something I want to encourage more travellers to do.

Thanks for checking in!

David said...

Happy New Year Lara - bit of a posting flurry, huh?

On those places you've never been to, I can heartily recommend Guatemala. It's an absolutely stunning place - particularly El Peten.

Andy said...

Hello Lara, I was reading all your acccomplishments, that is quite a list. I have been homeless for over 10 years as a perpetual travler. I have a standard method of traveling where I stay a minimum of 2 days, I call that a Hop, a skip is maybe 5 days and a Jump is when I land at the next major location where I stay for normally about 10 to 20 days.

Todo list, assignments, jobs and friends work again the idea of wandering the planet.

I will try to follow along by RSS fee, I do not get to read magazines or newspapers much, but will try to learn about your travels.

Thanks from Andy of Travel Blog

Prêt à Voyager said...

3 years! impressive (and exhausting just to think about). . . as for your book plans, just for fun i totally recommend self-publishing. or make it easy. i did it this holiday season and was quite pleased with the results.


Anonymous said...

What an inspiring list! I totally agree with the "travel less and stay longer" philosophy; that is something I want to embody this year as well! After an exhausting month in SE Asia where I felt like I needed a vacation from my vacation, we are planning some slow travel in Italy later this year. Where better to start living like the locals? ;)