It hit me on the flight back from Martin County, Florida this summer. As accomplished as I feel when I travel, and meet a new challenge and tick something off my list, I sometimes feel a bit directionless afterwards. Do you know the feeling I mean? Kayaking, paddle boarding, surfing, turtle nesting tours…On this one particular trip I did so many awesome activities that I had to stop and ask myself what next? What haven’t I done on a trip? Where haven’t I been? What are my new travel goals?
Sitting there on the plane, exhausted from surfing lessons earlier that day, I quickly thought of zip lining. That’s the next thing, I told myself. There’s one thing I haven’t done and have wanted to do for awhile. So I set my heart on zip lining with my family this summer. Not even one month later, in July, I found myself standing behind my oldest daughter striving to put one foot in front of the next as we ascended into the trees in Quebec.
Together were able to zip line at Arbraska Lafleche in Val-Des-Monts, Quebec. That was amazing and a trip that made my heart full, while challenging all of us physically and emotionally to find strength and teamwork to complete the obstacles and face fear. Another goal achieved. Travel badge unlocked.
But what next?
When I was in my 30s, during my career as a journalist, we adopted our two daughters. For a time I stayed home with them simply loving the opportunity to be a parent and enjoying every moment of being a family. They were my bucket list. Getting to watch these two beautiful girls grow up is my biggest job ever and my greatest reward. But, there came a time also when they started school and I needed to write again. I have always written, even from the time I was a child. It is my therapy and my passion and it is just part of me. When I stifle that need to express myself on paper or in a blog post, or inside a magazine then I feel hollow. I feel much the same about travel.
As the girls moved into the school years I started this blog. Prior to that, I was a newspaper reporter for years. As the hard news girl and sometimes the family features writer, I loved leading news teams to awards. Hard news, breaking news, train wrecks, dog attacks, a body rub parlour raid, ride alongs with police and murder trials gave me the adrenaline rush I needed. But none of that fit me as a parent of young kids. I couldn’t drop everything, stop parenting and run to a train wreck at 5 a.m. anymore. So I focused on the blog here and I wrote what was in my heart again and I shared the stories of our adoptions. And I mapped out a few personal writing goals again.
My Writing Goals in 2008 were:
- Get published in Today’s Parent
- Get published in The Globe and Mail
- Have a feature published in Canadian Family
And I ticked those off one by one within 18 months of setting that as a goal. Then again I was left with what comes next feeling? What does that have to do with travel goals? When my kids were very small my travel goals were getting the kids clothed and walking to the library together, or walking to the drop in playgroup. When they hit ages 5 and 3, suddenly I was dreaming of travel goals as a family. People said you couldn’t travel with special needs. My youngest daughter had sensory processing disorder and her impulse control and emotional regulation at 3 – 8 was extremely hard to manage. But I didn’t buy that we couldn’t do it just because she had some challenges. In fact, that made me want to prove everyone wrong.
My travel goals and personal goals are very similar in many ways. Every so often I have to stop and take stock and remind myself how lucky I am to do what I love. Then I have to look forward to what comes next? Where do I want to be published? Where do I need or want to travel? How will our family travel again and when can we fit that in? What do I see happening next for us and what can I write about that is fulfilling?
My Travel Goals are also now Personal Goals and Family Goals:
For instance in 2015 we all learned how to ski and we loved it so much that we now do travel writing media trips together that help us to be able to explore new ski hills and new ski resorts. So for the rest of this year and for 2017 these are my travel goals.
- Improve our skiing together
- Visit more ski hills – Utah, Colorado, Quebec all top my list and eventually Whistler, but that’s a biggie for someone who only just began in 2015. Whistler is likely a 2018 or 2019 goal for us.
- Return to Vermont – because skiing!! This actually tops the kid’s lists because it was such an awesome experience in January at Smugglers’ Notch.
- Explore more northern Ontario ski resorts and build our collective confidence skiing.
- Take another cruise together (this one might not be in the cards this year because we need a new roof soon and that’s a massive cost for us, so we might not have any vacation time this year.) Take as many cruises as possible – long term goal.
- Zip line again
- Improve surfing skills – try it again
- Go Kayaking again and often in as many places as possible when the weather is good. It is peaceful and memorable.
- Whale watching – believe it or not I have never ever seen whales in their natural environment. This is high on my list.
- Visit Atlantic Canada – Nova Scotia, New Brunswick or PEI – believe it or not we have yet to venture east of Quebec.
- Europe – Spain, Italy, Greece. A Mediterranean cruise is on my list of must dos.
- Great Britain – has topped my list since I was in high school because of the literary giants that built lives and careers there and because my Mom lived there for several years as a child. Her Hobson family side is from England.
- Plan something unique and travel related for my daughter’s 13th birthday. My older daughter traveled with me to Puerto Vallarta the month before she turned 13.
- Take Ainsley and Payton to Clearwater Marine Aquarium to see Winter the Dolphin. This has been a goal since my kids were small. We read those books well before the movie Dolphin Tale came out. My kids have a unique understanding of that story and the ability/disability themes.
- Plan something special for my 25th wedding anniversary. (coming up soon)
- See a manatee up close in the ocean or in a lagoon.
- Watch the sea turtles hatch. I was able to see them laying their eggs, sea turtles nesting in Florida this summer and that was incredible. But I really want to see that process through to completion.
- Costa Rica
- Puerto Rico
- Alberta – I have been to Alberta several times for conferences but I’ve never had a chance to tour the province and just soak it all in. I would love to do that – summer or winter.
- Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden – I don’t need to see them all but would like to visit at least one of these countries to take pictures.
- Disney again with the girls before they get too old to really embrace it.
Setting Travel Goals
My travel goals and my personal goals are intertwined but there are a couple of goals as a professional writer that I would like to hit still. That’s a post for another day.
You can read some of the travel stories I have written here in the Travel Section above.
What are your personal or travel goals? Do you occasionally do goal setting exercises of your own?