In line with the last two years (see 2012 and 2013), here are 14 goals for 2014. (You can read the lessons I learned last year here.)
I hope you don't mind, due to the slightly shifting focus of this blog they are now "travel and writing goals" rather than just travel objectives. In a lovely way, this also reflects a small but significant change in our lifestyle. Read on to find out more...
1. Learn to settle. A bit.
We have now lived in Amsterdam for just under six months. I knew the time would fly, but I didn't realise how headily high and happy I would be about this or how much like the speed of lightning it would pass. We love where we live, the friends we've made and the loose shell of a routine we've fallen into. However, I have found it much harder than I thought I would to unpack completely and I still find myself reluctant to buy things that wouldn't fit into our four suitcases. Seeing as we have no plans to move on for another six months, my first "travel" goal is therefore to ease into our space a bit more and learn to settle... And to keep learning Dutch!
2. Enjoy Amsterdam as a resident and as a traveller
Though now a resident of Amsterdam, I don't want to stop looking at this city as a fascinated visitor. There's so much to do here and I've not even scratched the surface yet.
3. Be spontaneous
As I wrote this post I was waiting for a flight to Dubai as part of a last minute plan. Last year, spontaneous decisions to travel took me to Iceland, to Norway and to Portugal and as I tip-toe into my third year of travel blogging I am being approached with more and more fantastic opportunities; I want to be open-minded enough to accept them and let them take me to places I'd never think about going. I don't ever want to forget how lucky I am to have this luxury to travel spontaneously.
4. Return to Southeast Asia
I'm cheating a bit with this one as we already have flights booked to see friends in Singapore and enjoy a family holiday in Thailand with NewMan's brother and mother. But it was always going to be on my list as I am missing that rich warmth found in the sun, the food and the smiles of Southeast Asia.
5. Write (and publish) some short stories about Amsterdam
Fragments of ideas have been written down, a collection of characters keep cycling in and out of my head ringing their bike bells and saying "Hoi! Hoi! Write about me!" so I'm itching to start writing some first drafts for a collection of short stories about Amsterdam.
6. Travel outside of my comfort zone again
Soon I'll be elaborating on why my recent trip to Norway was a real journey outside of my comfort zone but - spoiler alert - the value of the experience has convinced me to do it again at least once next year.
7. Treat NewMan to more surprise trips
Our three days in Bruges for my boyfriend NewMan's birthday were great fun to plan and execute, even if he did guess where we were going before we got there; the perfect reason to try again with another surprise getaway in 2014!
8. Go snowboarding in the Dolomites
I absolutely loved snowboarding in the fells of Finland and Norway in January and February this year, and 2014 is the turn of the Dolomites. We'll see you in March, Italy!
9. Read four books a month, one travel related
This is possibly the biggest challenge on this list but I know it's a goal that will help both my travel experiences and my writing skills. I also vow to make at least one of the four books travel related be it fiction or non-fiction. I'll be documenting and reviewing every book I read on Goodreads, find me here.
10. Publish "A to Z: Short Stories Inspired by London"
Look at me revealing the name of my next book! Well, it's on its way and I can't wait to share these weird, wonderful and (hopefully!) witty stories about a city that means so much to me. Sign up to my newsletter to find out when it's published first and to also receive a free preview copy.
11. Return to the south of France
As soon as the weather turns there and I can sip chilled wine under a blue sky, I'm heading south. Roll on spring!
12. Attend some lovely friends' wedding in South Africa
And make a big, fat holiday out of it in December 2014. I can't wait.
13. And maybe this year will be the year I go to Japan?
I think I'm just going to keep adding it to my list until it happens.
14. To take a beach holiday
Where my books, the beach and my boyfriend are my only company...
What are your travel, writing, reading, work or life goals for 2014? Please share them or your blog posts in the comments. In last year's post 13 Travel Goals for 2013, I actually wrote some tips about how these goals should be adventurous but not too ambitious, realistic but not ridiculously easy and should be more about the experience than the destination. Good luck!
(And if you're interested - I achieved seven out of the thirteen travel goals I set last year and I feel flipping chuffed about that - proof that it's not about ticking them all off but being open-minded and focused enough to pursue the ones that really matter. ENJOY the goals you set for yourself!)
Frances M. Thompson
Find Frankie on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+.