Let’s face it: we’ve all probably made far more New Year resolutions than we’ve managed to keep. If this year’s resolution had to be to keep all resolutions, perhaps the best way to do it is to travel while you stay resolute.
1. You want to quit smoking: You’ve spent 2014 giving Don Draper and the rest of the Mad Men a complex by smoking so much they probably wouldn’t even have had to advertise Lucky Strikes. You’ve received warning from the Ministry of Home Affairs i.e. your mother or significant other about the perils of this carcinogenic habit. You want to quit. Head to Ziro, Arunachal Pradesh. This stunning range of endless meadows and hills at the foothills of the Himalayas has some of the cleanest air in India. What does this have to do with kicking the habit? It’ll remind you of what air is actually supposed to taste like.
2. You want to get fit: You spent 2014 – or all your life – thinking the right way to do a push-up is with your knees and that Jason Bourne was just showing off. Then you checked it out on YouTube and realized that the “actual” push-up is quite possible but just too damn boring. You want something fun. Challenge yourself to the Chadar Frozen River Trek. You’d have to do some serious training before you attempted this. Imagine hiking over frozen icy rivers through a narrow valley surrounded by ice peaks and camping at ice caves around a bonfire at night. You can listen to the Rocky Balboa theme song for effect.
3. You want to help others: You remember how you collected money from your family and friends for Help Age India when you were in school and you know you want to do more, you want to give back. Why not do that while you are traveling? Among the numerous institutions and NGOs around the country that accept short-term traveling volunteers there are many in places that would satisfy your wanderlust. Aarohi is one such organization that does integrated rural development in the Central Himalayan Region. You can offer to volunteer your professional services, whether you are doctor, software engineer, teacher, or a wayfaring do-gooder. Social work is free time spent well. Social work plus travel, well, that’s a blessing.
4. You want to fall in love again: “You should have just married your job!” If you had a penny for every time your partner said this to you, you may, ironically, never have to work again. If it’s time to rekindle your love again, there’s no better place to do it by than the bluest seas in an island far far away on the sunny side of love: Maldives. Infinite pools, diving, snorkeling, coral reefs, the best sea food in the world, bio-luminescent plankton, dreamy shacks that are built on stilts, romantic candle lit dinners, and stargazing will just be the prelude to your rekindling.
5. You want to reduce stress: The sound of your phone buzzing is now the equivalent of Norman Bates’s soundtrack in Psycho, pure horror with directly proportional (or exponential) effect on your blood pressure. You want to calm down. Yoga is just what you need. And what better place to experience a yoga retreat than the virgin beaches of north Goa. Detox and rejuvenate at the Ashiana Yoga Resort at Mandrem, Goa. Pamper yourself with a Turkish sauna, spa sessions, drop-in yoga classes, sea-facing huts or even a tree house. Feel your blood pressure float back to normal. You’ll be smiling a little too much at the following first quarter financial review.
6. You want to spend more time with family: You just watched Home Alone again with the family and realized how much fun a holiday with them would be. Without leaving the youngest behind, of course. You could take them to the lake city of Nainital. Situated at an altitude of 1938 meters against a Himalayan backdrop, this hill station makes for a perfect family getaway. Go boating in the Naini Lake, introduce the kids to the joys of birdwatching at Naukuchia Tal, star gaze at the astronomical observatory of the Aryabatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences, or just relax and feast your eyes on the magnificence of the Himalayas.