2018 Resolutions

Ahh, the good old list of New Years Resolutions.  Every year people think for a few minutes about what would make their life better and then do nothing about it.  That is not what I am here to share with you.  While you can make life changes anytime of the year, the new year is a good excuse to evaluate your life, see where it is heading, and figure out what to do to make it go where to you want it to.  So rather than make a 2018 New Years ‘wish’ list, I will write up a list of ideas and bucket list items that I WILL MAKE happen in the year 2018.  I also hope that some of you will take up this challenge yourself by posting what YOU WILL MAKE happen in 2018.

Don’t let this be you!  Be active!  Image courtesy of trends-in-newsrooms.org

Making it happen in 2018

Becoming active in a decision is the most difficult step to overcome when achieving our goals.  Too often do we push them aside, or comfort ourselves by telling ourselves it isn’t the right time to accomplish what we wish for.  If fact, comfort is the death of most dreams.  We become too complacent with what we currently have which makes us unwilling to take the necessarily steps to actively improve our lives.  While time sure feels infinite, we all will eventually come face to face with the reality that it is not.   Don’t waste another precious year with mediocrity or the status quo.  Change or do something for the better  of yourself.  Why repeat another year without any difference as if you are perpetually stuck in a rerun on TV?

Don’t fall into the trap of comfort.  Image courtesy of jigsawtrading.com

To be clear, these changes don’t have to be epic or life altering.  Making small changes each year can lead to big differences in the long run.  But if you do have big dreams that you have put on the shelf, maybe this year is the year that you make it happen.  Remember, leaving it on the shelf gets you nowhere closer to achieving it.  Take the risk and make it happen.

For myself, I will break down my 2018 resolutions into Personal goals for my own self improvement and bucket list items that I plan to check off in 2018.  Hope my list offers you some ideas and inspiration for 2018!

Personal Goals

Work out at least 5 days a week

Ever since starting our gap year, the only exercise I have had is walking around cities or our hikes in the countryside.  For me, this is not enough.  I have made too many excuses such as being tired or not having a place to workout.  For 2018, I WILL work out 5 times a week, whether it be in a park, a hotel room, or a hostel dorm.  My health is extremely important to me and exercise is the foundation to that.

I used to be able to do this before hitting the road… while I won’t be able to do snatches while on the road… its no excuse to stop exercising at all.

Be a vegetarian for at least 2 weeks and see what I think

Don’t get me wrong, I am a meat lover through and through.  While burgers, steaks, and wild game will always have a special place in my heart, I understand that a meat heavy diet is not a healthy lifestyle nor is it good for the environment.  The resources and energy needed to produce the meat on your plate comes at a higher cost than the benefit you receive from consuming it.  What better way to see how the body feels with less meat than trying out the other extreme?  While I currently do not plan to become a full vegetarian, giving it a try will not hurt me and I hope to find a balance between the two that is best for me and the environment. (I would try vegan, but on the road I feel this would be a difficult task to practically accomplish for myself)

Read one new book each month

While I read plenty of guidebooks and blogs along the road, I do not read very much when it comes to expanding my knowledge.  I want to change that.  For 2018, I WILL read one new book each month, and write about them here on the blog.

Starting a little bit early with my first read

Wake up for at least one sunrise each week

I love sunrises so much, yet I don’t see very many of them when considering how many opportunities you have to see one.  In addition to their beauty, it is always a surreal feeling watching the world around you wake up slowly after you have already gotten your day started.  It gives you a sense of accomplishment that you rarely ever have when waking up in the morning.

I need more of this in each week of my life

Go to bed before 11 most nights and wake up before 8 most mornings

While this one might make me sound like a grandpa, it is something I really want to do.  I do not like sleeping in late but it has becoming a pattern for the beginning part of this trip.  Getting to bed earlier will help change this habit that I have fallen into.

Bucket list items that WILL be checked Off in 2018

View Mount Everest

This one will happen during The Three Passes Trek I will do in October 2018

If you want to join me for this trek, feel free to contact me at onceuponabackpack37@gmail.com

Bucket list item I am most excited about.  Courtesy of besthikes.com

Climb to an altitude of over 6096 meters

The highest elevation I have ever climbed to was 4,300 meters (14,107 feet).  Ever since doing my first high altitude trek in July of 2013 I have been hungry for more thin mountain air.  While The Three Passes trek will get me well over 5,000 meters, a summit to a nearby peak, such as Island peak (6,165 meters or 20,226 feet), should do the trick.  Why 6,096 meters?  It is equal to 20,000 feet…

Follow the silk road

As a history buff, the silk road has always been high on my list.  Following the adventures of Marco Polo and one of the most lucrative trade routes in history will be highly rewarding.  We hope to visit parts of the silk road in Turkey, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, India, and China.

Follow the Karakorum Highway in China

The most epic road trip on the planet.  This road is one of the few paved roads that cuts through the Himalayas and offers some of the most sublime views the world has to offer.  Unfortunately we will not be able to complete the whole Karakorum highway as I will not be able to obtain a visa for Pakistan while on the road.

Part of the ancient silk Road. courtesy of  dilkashpakistan.com

Take a Yoga class in India

Yoga is as foreign to me as trying to blend in while I’m out and about in China.  What better place to try it out than the birthplace of yoga itself!

Contemplate the Taj Mahal

One of the major wonders of the world, I will finally be able to see the place with my own eyes in 2018.

Complete a trek in Kyrgyzstan

Central Asia has intrigued me for a while and I am eager to get there in 2018.  One of the highlights I am looking forward to is a multi day trek into the mountains of Kyrgyzstan.

More please…

Hike up to Gergeti Holy Trinity Church in Georgia

Georgia… so many things I want to do in Georgia and this monastery is one of them!

Visit Red Square in Moscow

Another iconic landmark of the world that I will be able to check of this new year.


Swim in the Caspian Sea

I have a thing for jumping into different bodies of water throughout the globe.  This one should happen somewhere in Georgia or Russia.

Swim in the Black Sea

See above.  This will happen in either Turkey, Georgia, or both!

Go scuba Diving among Ancient Ruins in Turkey

I have been antsy to get back underwater ever since a whole new world was opened up to me in the Philippines.  Diving some ruins in Turkey will help appease that appetite for a while.

View Mount Ararat from Armenia

A legendary mountain of biblical proportions that will be pretty cool to see from Armenia.

View of Mount Ararat from Armenia. armenpress.am

Hike in the Accursed Mountains in Albania

One of the more rugged places in the Balkans that I will hike through this year.

Sip Coffee and Relax in Sarajevo

Sarajevo is high on my list for several reasons.  Historically, it is the flashpoint for WWI when Arch Duke Ferdinand was assassinated in the city and was also where the heartbreaking siege took place during the Yugoslavia Wars.  The city is also a cultural melting pot where east truly meets west.

Image courtesy of Tobia Calevi

Visit Ohrid Lake in Macedonia

Macedonia’s gift to the world is this lake, and I plan to visit it in 2018.

Get my Advanced Diving Certification

Hopefully I have the money for this one at the end of the trip.  I really want to continue with my diving certification in 2018.

2018: Make it happen

Now it is your turn.  Think about what you want in 2018 and write down a plan to make it happen.  It is important to not write down your list and stow it away somewhere to be forgotten.  Put it somewhere you will see it everyday or better yet, make it public!  We tend to be much more motivated when someone else is watching.  But in the end, success or failure in your goals will ultimately come down to you.  You are the deciding factor in your life.  Make 2018 a successful year for you!

Your Say

What are your biggest bucket list items or self improvement goals for 2018?  Share them with us in the comments section below!  I will randomly choose up to ten comments below (chosen by a per-arranged order) and reply to you with a post card from wherever we are traveling from at the time.  Happy Travels in 2018 and best wishes to all!

Happy New Year from Claire and I at Once Upon A Backpack!


Let us and others know what you think!