BootsnAll Indie Travel Challenge 2012 - New Year's Resolutions |

BootsnAll Indie Travel Challenge 2012 - New Year's Resolutions

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9 January 2012

About a year ago, I’ve entered with my blog in the 1000-1000 Travel Blog Challenge. The purpose of that contest was to improve SEO, advertising, page ranking and other very nerdy stuff, in order to end up with a blog that has a 1000 visitors a day, generating an income of a 1000 dollars a month.
I failed terribly.

The exercises had very little to do with creating good content, I am sure that the techniques really work if you stick enough time in them, but they were so boring that I soon decided not to proceed.

The BootsnAll Indie Travel Challenge is different.
First of all there is no direct gain.
Secondly, it’s more about content. Every challenge is to write a blog post about a certain, travel related, subject.
And finally it’s about working in a community. You can compare your blog posts to those of others. Comparing both ideas and writing style will result in an improvement of my own writing. I hope.

So let’s proceed to the first challenge: New Year’s Resolutions.

New Year’s resolutions have never been high on my to do list for the beginning of the year. I need to spend a significant amount of time exchanging presents, kissing the ladies and handshaking the men, eating like my life depends on it and trying to get rid of that damn hangover.

Of course we both know that - the lack of - time is never the real reason not to do something, it’s just an easy excuse.
New year’s day is one of those days when people think about what is
generally known as their “bad habits”, list them down, promise to do something about them and immediately afterwards start to think about reasons why their resolutions will fail.
Because we secretly like our bad habits.

I should quit smoking because then I’ll probably live longer. Probably. But smoking also helps me to de-stress, it keeps me busy when I have to wait and the smoke breaks are just what I need to refresh my mind things when I get stuck.
I should drink less because it’s bad for my liver. But my liver is not complaining, and alcohol makes me more social, it improves my small talk qualities and gives me an all round funny feeling.
I should eat less junk food. But I like junk food, it’s easy, fast and relatively tasteful. And junk food doesn’t kill anyone, heart attacks do.
I should smile more. And look like a half baked loonie, no thank you!

What I’d never realised was that new year’s resolutions don’t have to be about bad habits. It can be a way to express your plans and dreams, it can be the beginning of the roadmap for the rest of your life. It can be the push in the back that you need to pursue your destiny.

A good enough reason to give it a shot.

Complete the Balkans
The tick list travelers have never been my favorite kind. They’re always busy trying to get to that cheapest meal, longest train ride, highest city, snowiest mountain, 196th country, 7th world wonder, coldest iglo or hottest strip club. They forget to look around and enjoy the little things.

But, there’s only only country in the Balkans that I haven’t visited yet, Macedonia.
Even though I don’t feel any connection with that country and I have no idea what to do there (I did hear Ohrid is nice), I still want to go.
Call me a hypocrite, but I need to tick off Macedonia before I can have - probably an illusion of - a complete opinion of the Balkans.

Make a life changing decision
Imagine yourself in a brain storm session with a couple of friends about a party that needs to be organised. Everybody has great ideas, one more spectacular than the other, but when things start to get a little shape, there’s always that “yes, but...”-guy.
Yes but fireworks will be very expensive.
Yes but we’ll never be able to keep the beer cold in the hot tub.
Yes but where the hell are we going to find twenty penguins?

Now here’s a confession... I’m that “yes, but”-guy.
I can’t help it, I’m a thinker. I try to imagine all possible scenarios and in my head I build a list with pros and cons, benefits and flaws.
This attitude has got me quite far in life, and I’m sure that it has kept me from doing some pretty stupid stuff, but it also causes me to keep swimming in the same small puddle. My mind tells me to stay in a good situation when I’ve found one, so I have little chance that I move to something worse. True. But I also lose my chances to evolve to something bigger and better.
Therefore I want to make a decision of which I know that it will change my life and of which I don’t know the outcome.

It's kind of like in that movie “Allong came Polly”, when I come to think about it.

Make new friends
Why is it that when traveling, I go to a bar on my own and within a limited time frame I’m having a conversation with one or more persons I have never met before in a language I often don’t really master. But when at home, I will never go to a bar solo.
For some reason I expect to find myself the whole evening looking sad in a dark corner.
Why is it that I am sure that I will meet someone while alone in a bar in a foreign country and that I am equally sure that I will not meet someone while doing the exact same in my home town?

“In order to get what you want, you first have to really believe in it”.

I don’t know who I’m quoting here, but she or he has a really good point. Entering a bar thinking that I’ll be the sad one, will already make me feel sad, which seriously increases my chances of actually becoming that strange, lonely, sad looking dude.
And this also works the other way around. Confidence is everything. Be confident that things will work out and there’s a big chance that they will.

So what I’m going to do is to actively try to create a new mind set when it comes to meeting people. I want to change how I think at home to how I think while traveling, and end up with a larger bunch of friends.

Here’s a quote of which I do know the inventor

           “Memory... is the diary that we all carry about with us.” ~ Oscar Wilde

In the end, memories are all there’s left.
When your last moments have come, it doesn’t matter how rich, famous, or successful you have been, but how you look back to your life. If there are no happy memories, you will die an unhappy person.

My final resolution for 2012 is to think more about memories. This is a very broad concept that can be approached from different directions.
I will do more memorable things, positively memorable things that is.
I will do more things that will make people remember me by, so I become part in their memory.
I will work on more support for my memories. Unfortunately our memory is not a very consistent system, things disappear from time to time. Especially if you have a beer belly to maintain. It is necessary to build some support for my memory in the form of some diary - or loose pages - and photographs.

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Photo Essay: East Side Gallery (or the Berlin Wall anno 2011)

Story behind the photo: Budapest Chain Bridge

The Art of Getting Lost

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