My 2019 Goals in Life and Travel

Matt Long Grand Canyon

This post is probably a couple of weeks overdue, but I wasn’t mentally ready yet to tackle it. Posts like this one require a great deal of emotional energy and, frankly, I haven’t been up to it lately. But it’s something I need to do for myself, if no one else as it really does help me organize my thoughts and get ready for a new year. It’s far too easy to fall into familiar and comfortable routines, at least it is for me, but by starting out the year with a clear roadmap – or at least a solid set of goals – I feel that I’m able to break out of that routine and to achieve some real accomplishments. At least, that’s the idea. Looking back at previous attempts at setting myself up for success, the results have been decidedly mixed. Some years were better than others, but at least I tried. At least I started out on the right foot mindful to make some corrections to my own life while also looking ahead at what opportunities might be out there. With all of this in mind, I once again want to share some of my personal goals; ways I want to improve, as well as some destinations I would love to visit. I don’t anticipate visiting all or even most of these places, but it’s great to have goals in mind and it’s always fun to see how far down the list I can get.

Airport Reykjavik iceland

Self-Improvement

Positivity – Online I try to keep things as positive as possible, but in real life I’m far too prone to melancholy. I frankly need to learn how to better deal with bad news or when things don’t go the way I want them to. For the last 42 years or so, negative events have tended to leave me in a deep funk that can last for days. During this time I don’t really want to do much of anything, so it’s an attitude that simply feeds on itself. While I know I’m not going to make these feelings disappear completely, I do want to learn how to better deal with them.

Originality – I think I’ve fallen into a travel rut, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not good either. In 2019 I need to make sure that I stop being so regimented, and put down the guidebooks and just go off and do my own thing. I think I’ve become so obsessed with documenting everything and making sure I don’t miss something “important” that I sometimes miss the most crucial aspect of travel – the spirit of discovery.

Patience – I know it’s a virtue, but it’s not a quality I possess in large abundance. This can be especially problematic while traveling. It starts at the airport for me, I hate waiting in lines and the security queue is when my patience first starts to falter. I get annoyed at the people who have no idea what they are doing and hold up everyone behind them in the process. This continues on to boarding the plane with the same confused people strolling aimlessly through the cabin. You see where I am going with this. I need to learn to take a deep breath and just relax. I will get to my destination and there is no reason to be upset. No matter what happens, nothing THAT bad will result, so take a moment to breathe and assess.

Baselland Switzerland

Travel Aspirations

Switzerland and Portugal – I’ve seen most of Western Europe but not all of it, which is why I’ve included both Portugal and Switzerland on this list. While I have visited Switzerland, it was for just 2 days and that’s it. If Instagram has taught me anything it’s that Switzerland appears to be both incomparably beautiful and full of cheese, which are fantastic reasons to visit in my humble opinion. Add in vibrant cities, chocolate and fancy watches and I think it sounds like a perfect trip. Portugal on the other hand has completely eluded me and I don’t know why. I know many people who have visited, they all love it and I’ve never read anything negative about it. While I’m a little nervous about the food (I don’t eat fish or seafood) the pastries alone might finally lure me over in 2019.

Tasmania – I have been very fortunate to have spent a fair amount of time traveling around Australia and while I have much more to experience, I have been to almost every Australian state. Almost. One has eluded me and based on all of the photos I’ve seen, I know that when I finally do visit it’ll be love at first sight. Visiting Australia is always special, but Tasmania in particular has piqued my interest for years. Slightly remote, amazingly beautiful and somewhat different from the mainland, Tasmania is an intriguing place. Of all of these destinations, I really do hope that I can make this one happen in 2019.

Arctic – I love expeditionary trips, whether it’s to Antarctica, the Galapagos or some other far-flung place. I enjoy feeling like a real explorer and not just a tourist and while I’ve gotten close, a true expedition to the Arctic is high on my to-do list. There are many different ways to reach the Arctic through a few different countries, but no matter how I get up there I’d love to spend a couple of weeks exploring this hard to reach part of the world.

Back to Africa – Africa is infectious, of that there can be no doubt. I’ve been privileged enough to have visited several times and I once again feel the siren call beckoning. While I’d love to revisit places I know I love, like South Africa, I’d also like to visit new places and enjoy different experiences. As a lover of wildlife, a gorilla trek is near the top of my wishlist, whether in Uganda or Rwanda the promise of trekking amongst these gorgeous giants is almost too appealing to ignore.

Matt Long Tanzania Africa

Why I Combine the Two

It may seem a little strange that I combine such very personal life goals with travel aspirations, but for me they are one and the same. I made this my career almost 7 years ago and while it has had its ups and downs, I wouldn’t change a thing. I also combine them because of how strongly they impact each other. When I get down, my ability to work and seek out new business plummets, only making things worse. The various aspects of our lives are not discrete elements. They all interact and how we approach one aspect of our life necessarily affects others. Intellectually I understand this relationship, but managing it in real life is a much more challenging process, one I hope to improve upon this year.

What are some of your goals and challenges for the New Year?

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By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer. Also follow Matt on Twitter, Facebook and

2 Responses

  1. Debs

    Oh Matt, this is a interesting and inspiring read. I am newly divorced after 26 years of marriage and nearly 10 years of dating before that. My goals for 2019 are to spread kindness and compassion to the people I meet in my everyday life. I also want to travel more this year. Hopefully a visit to Scotland for my aunt’s 80th birthday (I’ve never been to Scotland!). Some exploring in England, France and Portugal. Lastly making plans to visit New Zealand and Australia for a family Christmas. Let’s see how far I get!

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  2. Cindy Baker

    Thanks for this Matt. So much of it resonates. As a blogger myself, I’m really struggling to find a balance between documenting everything and actually experiencing it. And yes, it’s taking some of the joy out of travel. I’m thinking about giving slow travel a try, maybe get an AirBnB in Tuscany or somewhere. Oh, and I’m one of those people that loved Portugal – – happy to share pastry suggestions (or some of the more original places to go).

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