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Travel Resolutions for 2013

Published In the Battle Creek Enquirer

The first week of the New Year is a fitting time to make a list of travel resolutions — a combination bucket list for 2013 and some serious resolutions for better travel habits. Let’s do the vegetables first, the resolve-to-be-better items.

Resolution 1. Really pack lightly, one small, lightweight suitcase without that large size carry-on that ends up feeling like it was packed with rocks by the end of the trip. Writing a list works for me, or putting everything out on my bed first. That way, I can see the items that don’t serve multiple purposes. The fabulous cerise sweater that doesn’t match anything else? It goes back in my drawer. The goal is to lay out everything and then pack half of it. My back will thank me.

Resolution 2. Actually use the work-out clothes I packed, especially those heavy tennis shoes. Most hotels have a gym these days, and there is always somewhere to walk a few laps. It counts, even if I put a towel down on the floor of the room and do a few sit-ups and leg lifts. Exercise needs to be a habit that doesn’t get broken because I’m traveling.

Resolution 3. Stop forgetting my toothbrush and/or my toothpaste and other sundries. I seem to always forget something. Solutions: leave a new toothbrush in my suitcase with a small tube of toothpaste in a plastic baggie. Pack an overnight kit with doubles of everything I use so I’ll be ready to go without thinking about it. Throw in a couple of quart size plastic bags for good measure, as they always come in handy.

Resolution 4. Stop bringing home half-used tiny bottles of shampoo and lotion – or even full ones. Donate my current collection of sample-sizes to Safe Place, where they’ll get used.

Now for the sweet stuff, a short list of places I’d like to visit in 2013. This is by no means an exhaustive list, just a start for the year.

Resolution 5. Finally visit Hawaii.  Everyone who goes to any of these islands, our 50th state, fall in love with the azure sea, white sand beaches and tropical climate. Even when I lived on the West Coast and the islands were just a hop away, I never made time to visit. I’m not sure how I’ll choose between the six islands since I don’t want to frantically island hop. A few friends recommend Maui, also known as the Magic Island.  It has been voted the best island by a leading travel magazine for many years.

Resolution 6. Visit Yellowstone National Park, another place I’ve never been. It seems like the right year to visit Old Faithful at America’s first national park that boasts 60% of the world’s geysers.  I fancy a soak in one of the many hot springs.  I want to see the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River, one of the world’s largest petrified forests, and all of the waterfalls. I’m not so sure how close I want to get to grizzly bears and wolves, although I wouldn’t mind seeing bison and elk.

Resolution 7. Drive through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  I need the advice of my Yooper friends to plan this trip. I know I can tour a mine, see a shipwreck, climb to the top of a lighthouse, explore a colonial fort, and hear the sounds of roaring waterfalls. I’ll aim for Brockway Mountain Drive, which leads upwards 735 feet. I want to stand there and watch the sun set on Lake Superior and think about this unique part of Michigan.

Like all good resolutions, I’ll keep some of these, break others and add to the list as the year unfolds. Happy New Year to all!

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