A Traveller’s Tradition (2023 Edition) & Happy New Year!

Greetings and happy new year from Ubud, Bali!

The thing I like most about New Year’s is the opportunity it gives us to look back and forward. I gave up resolutions a while ago – it started to seem too much like armchair quarterbacking your own life – but what I find works really well for me is looking backwards and forwards at once by thinking about what I learned this past year that I want to bring forward into the next.

I find a mix of abstract and concrete things works best for me. I’ll give you a few of mine to give you a taste of what I mean, and if you end up trying it out yourself. I’d love to hear what you come up with.

Let’s start with one that sounds counter-intuitive first: I’m going to travel less. I haven’t burned out – far from it! – and I certainly haven’t lost my passion for travel.

If anything, as the years go by, I find I’m getting deeper and more satisfying experiences out of my trips. But you get to a point in your life where you can’t charge forward, skipping from country to country like an undergrad on a pub crawl.

I’ve had great times, and made great memories, zipping around European cities and Southeast Asian beaches. But I’m finding now that I have even better experiences linking travel to the rest of my life in more solid ways, making travel a part of my life, rather than a break from it.

This is partly why we have introduced our Active Wellness trips, because it’s important to look after ourselves. Quality of life and our ability to travel and continue to see the world in our mature years depends on it!

And many of us are coming to the realization that unlike various health crazes of the last few decades that asked us to set aside an hour or so a day to jog, or aerobicise, lift heavy things, wellness as we’re coming to understand it now is about how we live, about habits rather than sequestered activities.

That’s why we’ve put two usually separate things into one, allowing travelers to move from quiet, meditative time – think yoga or spas – with hiking swimming, kayaking, or even just brisk walking. I’ve developed a lot of my life habits while travelling, learning from the Japanese to treat every meal like an event, for instance, or to haggle in the souks of Morocco.

And this combination of activity and wellness that we’ll be concentrating on with these trips will imprint what may be new and healthier ways of being in our regular, non-travelling lives, while intensifying our experiences on the road in parts of the world we’re selecting specifically for how well they lend themselves as well to being as to seeing.

Personally, I’ll also be trying to draw another lesson from Japan’s version of turning bugs into features. Kintsugi is the very concrete practice of embracing things that go wrong and in the process, realizing how precious and beautiful they can be.

In kintsugi, that takes the form of fixing broken pottery with materials that call attention to the break, rather than trying to pretend it never broke at all, resulting in gold seams that give the brow pot or cup an entirely new and often even more beautiful look than it had before.

In my life, this means I’m going to try to get less upset when things inevitably don’t go as planned, whether it’s in my life, or on our trips. Faithful readers will remember our broken boat in the South Pacific earlier this year. The trip that resulted from that potential disappointment ended up being a blast.

Things will go wrong – bowls will break – and I am going to spend time this year trying to remember that it’s far better to acknowledge this, even celebrate it, than it is to try to obsess over everything going exactly as planned and getting distraught when it inevitably doesn’t.

So here’s to more balanced living, less disappointment, and even more ways to work travel into your life in 2024! And thank you for your readership and for being a part of the W&A community.

We’ve got lots of adventures next year and beyond and I hope to toast our health together on one of them.


Scroll to Top