Why I Chose These 7 Travel Goals for 2022

In my opinion, there are two ways of looking at travel: the first and most common is the outside journey, the destination to which we are going; and the second is the interior journey, what happens inside when we move from one place to another. A good example of a book that explores outer and inner travel is the 2007 bestseller Eat Pray Love, in which the author, Elizabeth Gilbert, describes her stays in Italy, India and Indonesia, but on a parallel track, the discoveries that take place in her.

I’ve visited many parts of the world before, so I don’t have a to-do list full of exotic destinations. My travel goals for 2022 include a few places, but I’m particularly interested in the to treat Of travel. Here are my seven goals:

1. To deepen my relationships with people while traveling

I love exploring nature, architecture and urban design, but what I enjoy most about traveling are the people my husband Barry and I meet and the friendships we make, including the people who live in the United States and abroad.

By “deepen” I don’t mean anything mysterious or complicated, but rather things I already know, but don’t always practice: Stopping. To slow down. Listen. To ask. Show interest. Be open to giving and receiving.

I recognize, of course, that many people I meet on the road are unlikely to become lasting friends. But I always want to make the most of every encounter.

One way to deepen my relationships is to get to know people better, which I hope to do next week. My husband Barry and I will be leaving Guanajuato, the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Mexico where we live part of the year, and heading to Lake Chapala in the neighboring state of Jalisco, where an old Barry’s friend with his Mexican wife. They visited us before the pandemic, and now we return the favor. The woman is a lawyer, and I would like to ask her about her growing up years and how she became a lawyer at a time when few Mexican women were professionals.

2. To continue working on my Spanish

About a year ago, I was delighted to learn that I spoke Spanish at the C1 level, which basically means “fluent first level”. This discovery motivated me a lot. Because I want to increase my ability to have deep conversations in Spanish, I have since invested more time in continuing to master the language. For example, I download Spanish podcasts to listen to when I walk. I also see my excellent tutor, Camila, three times a week. On his recommendation, I have just finished reading my first book in Spanish, the funny and delicious novel, Yo No Soy Tu Perfecta Hija Mexicana, and I’m reading a fascinating soap opera set in Acapulco, translated from English, called American dirt.

I also chat with native Spanish speakers through a free site called the Conversation Exchange, where people take turns talking in each other’s language. So far, I’ve had conversations once a week with people from Argentina, Mexico, and Costa Rica.

3. To overcome my reluctance to approach strangers

Once I’m engaged in conversation, I find it easy to chat with people, but I’m a little shy about approaching strangers. I decided to Do it. Life is short and I have no time to waste! The highlight of the trip for me is the conversations with people, and I’m always happy after having an exchange.

When Barry and I go on trips in our RV, I like to look at license plates, which can be an easy icebreaker since I’ve visited most US states (although I’ve been duped a few times, when it turns out that people are using a rental car!). I also plan to take advantage of the fact that people on the road are often curious about our motorhome.

Ruins of Uxmal in Mexico (Photo credit: Barry Evans)

4. To visit new archaeological ruins and Pueblos Magicos

Launched in 2001 to promote tourism in small communities, the Mexican government designated Pueblos Magicos offer natural beauty, cultural richness, history, archaeology, cuisine and the arts. Of the 132, Barry and I have visited 37. Every year since we started living in Guanajuato part-time, Barry and I have visited a different part of the country, usually with at least one pueblo magico. This year when we visit Jalisco, home to Mexico’s largest city, Guadalajara, we plan to visit three.

As far as archaeological sites go, I’ve never come across a ruin I didn’t like, and Mexican ruins are particularly captivating because they almost always blend seamlessly and harmoniously with the surrounding landscape. I think of ruins as thin places, the Celtic term for those holy places where heaven and earth come together and the veil between the worlds narrows. In a ruin, a dreamlike sense of timelessness often comes over me, as I soak up the beauty. Jalisco has a 2,000 year old ruin near the magic pueblo Tequila (birthplace of the drink) which I can’t wait to see. Los Guachimontones, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and unique due to its circular structure, is considered the most beautiful in western Mexico.

5. To visit more places by the water

Barry and I both love being near the water, which is one of the reasons we still live part-time in Eureka on the northern California coast, where our apartment is two minutes from the dock. closest on Humboldt Bay and 10 minutes from the Pacific Ocean. . I kept a list of all the places I paddleboarded, which now includes California (8 bodies of water), Oregon (7), Mexico (4) and (of all places) Latvia, where we strolled the beautiful canals of its capital Riga. I’m itching to add to the list!

6. Travel light

I’m embarrassed to say that with all my seniority and expertise as a traveler, I’m spectacularly bad at packing. I suffer from severe PAD (Packing Anxiety Disorder). I bring too much, I insert things at the last minute that I regret later and I forget other things that I should have brought. On at least two trips to Europe, I’ve paid high fees to send stuff back home to the United States. For me, the way I pack is a metaphor for my way of life. Enough! From now on, I travel light.

The author's motorhome in the woods.
The author’s motorhome (Photo credit: Barry Evans)

7. Take a long trip in our motorhome

From Eureka, two hours south of the Oregon border, Barry and I made several trips by van lasting about three weeks, along the entire west coast, and east to Utah and the ‘Arizona. But we haven’t done an extended road trip since 2019. It would have many benefits, including seeing our friends and loved ones and enjoying the fall leaves. The ancient redwoods near Eureka are beautiful, but they don’t change color in the fall.

Our motorhome is a place where the “inner journey” seems to happen naturally. On road trips, Barry and I have the opportunity to experience natural beauty, fall asleep to the sound of water, read without distractions, and better hear the “small silent voice within.” For me, our motorhome is another slim place.

So those are my seven goals for 2022. A year from now, I hope to look back and appreciate both the inner and outer journeys I’ve taken.

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