Progress Report for 12 Trips in 12 Months 2018

Now that we are halfway through 2018 (seriously though, how did that happen?!?!?!?), I felt like it was time to post a status update about my 12 Trips in 12 Months campaign. In case you are not familiar with it, for the last four years I have made a personal goal to take 12 trips in 12 months. There aren’t rules about what types of trips they are or what the destinations should be– they just need to be a trip outside of my home city of Chicago.

I was initially inspired to set this goal in the hopes of encouraging a more travel-filled lifestyle that broke out of the daily routine of work and familiarity.

As a goal oriented person, setting this goal annually helps me recommit to integrating travel into my lifestyle. My 12 trips in 12 months campaign also helps encourage my curiosity and openness to domestic destinations which may not seem exciting from the outset, but turn out to be interesting and fun places to explore.

In January, I posted my tentative travel schedule for 2018. At the time, I had 10 trips scheduled.

As of today, I have already completed my 12 trips for this year! Below is a list of my travel accomplishments thus far in 2018, and the additional seven trips that I have on the schedule.

  1. January — Helsinki, Finland (Read about what I did)
  2. January — Dallas, Texas (Need food recommendations for Dallas?)
  3. February — San Diego, California
  4. February — Breckenridge, Colorado
  5. March — Savannah, Georgia (Check out my suggestions for a fun 48  hours)
  6. March — Breckenridge, Colorado
  7. March — Naples, Florida
  8. April — Galveston & Houston, Texas
  9. April — Detroit, Michigan (I ate a LOT of good food there)
  10. May — Canadian Road Trip
  11. June — Cleveland, Ohio
  12. June — Grand Rapids, Michigan  
  13. July — Kansas City, Kansas & Missouri
  14. August — Ann Arbor, Michigan
  15. August — Croatia Sailing Adventure with Intrepid Travel
  16. September — Austin, Texas
  17. October — Naples, Florida
  18. October — Surprise 30th birthday trip for Sam (destination announced the day of!)
  19. November — Denver, Colorado

As you’ll notice, a few trips popped up in the spring that I didn’t expect, like Houston and Galveston, while a few others have fallen off, namely the Japan anniversary trip. Plenty of other exciting travel opportunities have arisen such as my Croatia trip with Intrepid Travel and the surprise birthday trip for my husband that I’m planning.

I can’t believe how quickly I accomplished the goal this year. Every year, my schedule seems to fill up with more and more trips.

This is a really good thing considering that I made the specific career decision this year to move from full-time to part-time work. With that change, comes more travel! I apparently have no problem integrating travel into my routine—in fact, travel probably is my routine.

Back in 2017, I wrote about some of the lessons I learned during the 12 Trips in 12 Months journey including that I needed to be realistic about planning, care for my mental health and to leave space in between trips. I went back and reread that post to “re-teach” myself those same lessons.

I am so happy with the job transition I’ve made, but with more time to take trips, my body and mind do feel the effects from the hectic and uprooting nature of a busy travel schedule. Rereading that post was a much needed reminder that achieving the location-independent lifestyle I want does have challenges that I need to be cognizant of.

With the job transition this year, I have started to take more intentional steps to address the challenges that come from a busy travel schedule. I take an active role in prioritizing my mental health and well-being in order to accommodate the additional travel. A few ways I have done that include:

  • I now meditate regularly which has made a big difference in the management of my emotions and anxiety. I also find it helps me focus my attention more effectively.  
  • I started writing a gratitude journal. Each night, I write down three things, small or big, that I am grateful for. It is a great way to reflect on my privileged life and take more joy and appreciation out of the opportunities I am given.
  • I take at least one bubble bath per week in order to relax my mind and body. I create space in this ritual where I don’t need to do or worry about anything else except myself and is a much needed time to recharge.

This post is by no means written to complain about my busy travel schedule — travel’s benefits and challenges is something that I do to myself, for myself. I understand the immense privilege I carry in order to have this lifestyle. I write this post as a reminder for future Megan, when she inevitably fills her schedule with even more travel, to reconnect with the intention of the travel goals and lifestyle.

Are you inspired to set your own ambitious travel goal? I wrote a handy how-to-guide for planning 12 trips in 12 months to help you get started today!

Author: Megan Arz

I am a travel and food obsessed Midwesterner living in Chicago and dreaming of the world. I work as a full-time program manager for Greenheart Travel, but I am also committed to integrating the travel lifestyle into my every day routines. I am passionate about ethical travel, meeting new people, creating unique memories and eating local cuisine!

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