For travelers, there are endless improvements to be made, but even accomplishing a few makes for better, happier travels. Here are my dozen travel-related resolutions for 2015, one for each month, if you will. Or just make up your own.
I will be in the moment. So many of us now see the world through our smartphone screens, and it's getting worse. Look up, breathe deep and enjoy what's going on around you, not just through a device. Pausing to savor creates memories that stick.
When I see something really worthwhile I'll buy it. If you wait you'll either not find it again, give up or forget. If you like it, can afford it, and have room for it, go for it. And If you're not crazy about it when you get home, gift it.
I will learn to take the best photos and videos possible. We used to have excuses, with the need to buy expensive lenses and to lug equipment. Now we can just carry a smartphone and aim. So learn some basics. I have found that the creative tools of Instagram have changed the quality of my photos, and I now aim high to please myself and a growing bunch of followers. Taking photos adds to my travel experience and my way of looking at things. (But I still need to look beyond the screen, and be in the moment.)
I will learn about where I'm going before I get there. How many times do you not fully understand what you're experiencing, when a brief internet search would have placed things in context? If I research ahead of time I'll improve my experience.
I will learn a bit of the language before I get there, and will use it when I get there. Those of us who speak English get away with avoiding other languages, but the smile you receive even if you mispronounce a "hello" or "thank you" is well worth the effort.
I will strive for comfort, even if I usually don't in real life. Business class has become my norm, and I'll sacrifice other pleasures to get it. I buy luggage with good wheels. I will ask for a room with a view, a table away from the toilets, and an upgrade whenever I can, so that when I get where I'm going I arrive ready to go.
I will not rush. Slow food, slow travel -- if I slow down I'll savor things better.
I will try to go local, and not be judgmental or patronizing. Other cultures may do things that puzzle or annoy us, but, hey, it's their way. The least we can do is respect them even if we don't want to join in.
I will travel smart. I will get there early, with an idea of where I'm going. I will not over-indulge or over-commit. I'll check out important things ahead of time. I'll think as well as feel, and I won't waste time.
I will travel kind. That goes for four-legged creatures as well as two-legged. And for our planet, which needs all the green kindness possible in terms of treading lightly.