Woman sitting atop a campervan, looking at the ocean and mountains as she contemplates her 2022 goals

2022 Goals: Cautious Optimism

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Here we are again – the annual January post, this time for the 2022 goals edition. I don’t know about you, but I love the turn of a season, of a week, of a month or year. The mental reset is a great opportunity to reflect on the past and feel energized for what’s ahead. This change in energy, specifically the seasons turning, was one of the things I missed most while living in Ireland – something I never thought much about growing up in Canada.

As I write this, we’re still riding the choppy pandemic waves and waiting to see the impact of the holidays on cases, which are bound to rise, but more importantly on the healthcare system. Schools in Ontario have pushed the starting date for students by 2 days but are going back in person. Borders have tightened again and yet, according to FlyTrippers, Canadians are flying more than they have in recent times. With all of the present uncertainty in mind, I’ve set a true mix of personal and professional goals for this year with a few foundational repeats from last year and a couple wild just-go-for-it aspirations too. Whatever the year brings, health and well-being are top of mind, as is growth.

Personal:

  • Read 24 BooksLast year I set out to read 24 books, and only made it to 14 on account of my propensity to choose Netflix over most other things when I’m burnt out and tired (which was a frequent state of being last year). I’m going to keep the goal of 24 and have plans to delete Netflix after this week, at least for a while. In addition to removing that temptation, I’m implementing a read-before-bed or read-in-the-morning routine to piggyback on other routines that are already in place. If you’re like me and have trouble sticking to goals sometimes, a common strategy is this “piggyback” method, where you insert one new routine directly after or before a more established one. I’ve done this with a few other goals in the past and found a lot of success.
  • Health – Continuing with last year’s “back-to-basics” focus and building on the routines that are in place, much of my 2022 health goals focus will be to maintain and build. I’ll be keeping the walk/run 50km per month goal and setting a more concrete goal of exercising 45 minutes per day, 4 times per week. It feels crazy to say (if you know me, you’ll understand why), but I’m tempted to try a “dry month” … with chocolate!
  • Live Clean – This is another goal that will carry over from the last few, aiming to keep food waste and plastic intake low, in addition to only buying what I need and when I need it (which I typically practice anyhow, with the exception of buying books).

Travel:

Knowing that the panda in the room isn’t leaving any time soon, and that restrictions on international travel will continue through 2022, I will continue to explore locally though if the right opportunity presents itself I would jump at the chance to be a foreigner in a new land again.

  • Visit 10 Ontario 160 SitesLast year I forfeit going to and exploring any Ontario 160 sites, but I’m determined not to let that happen again this year. I’m setting the goal of visiting 10 sites, but secretly I’d love to visit 30 or even 50 and bring the grand total visited to around 80 – which is still just half of the sites!!! Truth be told, I like that this is a multi-year project and don’t want to rush through either visiting the sites, diving into the research, or writing the pieces.
Travel with TMc at ECRM in St. Thomas
Photo taken by Mick Media
  • Travel Outside Ontario – Like many people, I cancelled trips because of c-to-the-vid. One of those trips was to Newfoundland and it’s high on my list of places to visit. Whether it’s the east coast, a cross-Canada trek, or an international trip, I’d really like to travel outside of Ontario this year. Goodness knows I’ve been stockpiling enough Aeroplan and credit card points!

Professional:

  • Write 3 Blog Posts per Month – While I didn’t quite reach this goal in 2021, I’m going to also keep it for my 2022 goals. I’ve got some better systems in place to help facilitate a smoother writing process and a better foundation for success. When I started this blog in 2015 to keep family and friends updated on my life on Jeju-do, South Korea, I wrote whenever inspiration sparked. It was a way to keep in touch back home but the purpose for the blog shifted in 2017 and so did my intentions and how I spend my time on this as a business. The 3 blogs for month will be pieces I create for this site, outside of work assignments and guest blogs.
  • Send 1 Newsletter per Month – I don’t send out newsletters for the sake of sending newsletters. I send them out when I have something to share – new places, exciting finds, etc… Last year I only sent 7 newsletters because it didn’t feel like there was much to share in the travel space and I was having a hard time reconciling my path and place in it all. This year the goal is to send out 1 newsletter per month again, with the same intention to always provide valuable information and interesting tidbits to satisfy and spark your own travel desires. I love when you reply letting me know about places you’ve visited after I’ve suggested them, or when you share books and podcasts you think I’d enjoy too. I look forward to more of that conversation with you this year!
  • Social Media – Alright folks, time to stop whinging about things I don’t like, change my perspective, and see how this tool can be put to its best use. I’m aiming for 10 Instagram posts and 2 reels per month. I’m also aiming to reach a little milestone with 5k people joining along for Travel with TMc adventures. As it stands today, December 30th, there are 1,792 of us hanging out, so I think it’s a reasonable goal if I stick to the schedule.
  • Earn Steady Monthly Income through Travel with TMc – Confession time. For the last two years I have seriously undercut the opportunities I can be creating for myself with Travel with TMc. Let’s be clear – as someone who’s self-employed there needs to be an active outreach on my part in order for work to come in. However, despite loving travel, writing, and photography, and knowing that I have the competence to complete these tasks and learn what I don’t already know, the analysis paralysis and imposter syndrome (and perhaps the comfort of knowing I can support myself with what I’m currently doing) have been gigantic mental roadblocks. The term “imposter syndrome” definitely seems to be trending these days, but clichés are there because there’s a truth to them. Have you ever wanted to do something, yet you’re truly the only thing that’s holding you back? Part of the block has been figuring out how to communicate what I want to do to others (on top of figuring that out for myself while the corona panda crashes around). Blogging is unconventional and unfamiliar territory to my family and friends and it’s been quite difficult to articulate and explain the (travel) blogosphere to them. It doesn’t help that most of my income still comes from private teaching as I create and build more room in the travel world. I could write a whole bit on work and identity, but not here. There were a few moments this past year with 3 close individuals to me that brought a sense of calm and joy. The first 2 were times I was out with siblings and heard how they describe what I do to their friends. They really got it! (As already did a couple of other important people in my life.) I had never heard them say these things before and it felt amazing to know that they see what I am envisioning and building. Another was with a close friend who asks questions all the time about the blog, shares TwTMc posts with others (it really does help!), and joins along on adventures with The Most enthusiasm. The other contributor to my imposter syndrome has been the size of my site which, despite exponentially growing in the last 2 years, is still teeny compared to those making a full-time living with their travel blogs. Comparison is a brutal distraction though so time to ditch it and focus. Back to my 2022 goals for earning steady income through Travel with TMc… I have set a revenue goal for the year which I believe is achievable by actively creating opportunities. I achieved and surpassed the last 2 year’s income goals, so the momentum is already there.
  • Write 5 Guest Blogs – In a roundabout way this was achieved in 2021. I’m going to keep this goal this year, though to be honest it’s on the small side and I’ve got a higher number in the back of my head.
  • Create a Travel Hacking Course – I keep thinking that this is a huge goal and at the same time part of me it’s saying it’s not because I teach and plan lessons for all of my private students. If you’ve been kicking around here for a couple of years, you’ll know that I’ve offered 1-on-1 travel coaching services teaching Canadians how to pay themselves to travel in the past. When the pandemic hit, I didn’t have the energy to navigate all of the changes, let alone convince people that it was in fact the actual best time to learn how to travel hack and prepare for when borders open again. When I served in restaurants and bars I hated upselling – if someone wanted bacon with their caesar salad, they’d ask! I often felt like I was duping or pressuring them to spend more money. At the same time, there was definitely a sense of satisfaction when people actually wanted whatever was being sold. Back to the course, though. With other projects on the horizon, I still want to continue teaching you how to pay yourself to travel. I literally yelp anytime I hear someone paid full-price for a(n over-priced) flight. There’s no sane reason to!!! The number one topic people have always asked me about is how I finance my travels, so I know that you all have the desire to learn more. (That’s one of the reasons I created the Budget Tidbits on Instagram and Budget Blogs on this website.) I’ve taken one step towards this goal already and invested in a creator account for a platform I’ve used many times as a student. Now it’s time to convert those 1-on-1 lessons into scripts to video the lessons, and to create more tangible resources (yay worksheets and homework!) for you to practice what you learn. I’d really love to hear if there’s anything in particular about finances and travel or rewards and travel that you’ve got questions about. Drop them in the comments below or send me a DM on Instagram!
  • Start a Podcast and / or a YouTube Channel – I’ve been tossing ideas around in my mind for both of these projects for a couple of years. I’m tentatively placing this on here, knowing that I’m already setting my sights on a LOT of big goals for this year that have steep learning curves requiring large financial investments (see the last goal below!). If I can find a way to sanely (ha!) achieve this, I think it will be pretty kickass to learn some new skills, expand my creative interests, and interact with and share some amazing people, places, and ideas with you.
  • Build a Self-Converted Van and Document It – This is the goal I’m most anxious about sharing. It’s the loftiest goal on this whole list. I’ve proven time and again that I can do anything I set my mind to but I’m still daunted by it. Since living in various tiny cars in 2017 I have flirted with this idea of building out and living in a van (if I can live in a Yaris, a van seems like a piece of cake!). Nearly all the YouTube videos I’ve watched over the past 4 years are people doing just that: Sim & Kartik, Chris & Nicole, Waterloo Region’s Katie Steckly and her husband Dan, Eamon & Bec, the Vanwives, Kara & Nate, Kingin It, and more. It’s been a blast getting to chat and become friends with some of these adventurous souls, many of them Canadians and fellow Ontarians, and fingers crossed our plans to meet up this year pan out. There are a few reasons I’m terrified to put this goal out into the universe: 1) It’s just me. Unlike each of the people above who had 2 people to finance, plan, build, and live this lifestyle together, I’m flying – ‘er driving – solo which changes a LOT. There have definitely been individuals who’ve accomplished this before, but it still feels like a huge mountain to climb. 2) I don’t have full confidence I’ll pull it off yet, but the pep talks have already started. 3) Did I mention the cost already? The fact that I’m not a carpenter or plumber or have never done this before isn’t that scary since there’s YouTube, plenty of helpful sites, and a few skilled friends who’ve already offered to help. However, thanks to Instagram and the pandemic, “vanlife” has become outrageously popular, which means prices for items have soared and supply is low. I like a good challenge though, and tend to put blinders on and go full force when I want to achieve something. Wish me luck!!!!

Are you planning any 2022 goals?

Are you planning any 2022 goals? Did any of you choose to select a word for the year last year? How’re you feeling about 2022 in general? High hopes? Low expectations? Numb? Jumping off the walls with cabin fever? What’s the word out there?

Happy planning, and happy (and healthy) new year to you all! Thanks for reading along!

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