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HCX Travel: 10 Resolutions for 2014

Still trying to decide upon a New Year’s Resolution? Or contemplating how you are going to achieve it? In the hopes that a few of you are going travelling this year, HCX have taken some common New Year’s Resolutions and given them a travel-inspired twist. It may not be the cheapest way to do it, but it will certainly be the most thrilling…

1. Conquer your fear of heights with one of the highest bungee jumps in the world. The first organized bungee jump was less than 30 years ago off Kawarau Bridge in Queenstown, New Zealand and since then this adrenaline-pumping activity has taken off: over 650,000 have jumped from this suspension bridge alone. For the highest bungee head to 216m-tall Bloukrans Bridge set in South Africa’s beautiful Garden Route (previously completed by none other than our very own Prince Harry!) And if heights aren’t enough to get your heart racing, The Victoria Falls Bridge, in no man’s land between Zimbabwe and Zambia, hangs 111m above the crocodile-infested Zambezi River! Whatever combination of thrills does it for you, you’re sure to find it somewhere!

2. Have a food fight. 20,000 people. 1 hour. 100 tons of tomatoes. Goggles and gloves recommended. It can only mean one thing: ‘La Tomatina’. Held in Bunol near Valencia in Spain on the last Wednesday of August every year (27th August this year), this is the world’s largest food fight and your chance to very literally ‘paint the town red’!

3. Get fit with a new sport. Maybe you’ll try your hand at basketball, American football or a mix of martial arts… from Muay Thai to Thai Chi there will be something to suit every traveller. Or perhaps run the Berlin, Paris or New York Marathon to name a few. For a totally different sport Ancient Fire Hockey, in which the puck is replaced for a flaming gasoline-drenched ball, played in the dead of night, is making a comeback in Mexico! However, this is one resolution on our list that you don’t necessarily have to go abroad for, with Exeter offering Muay Thai classes in town (and if you’re a member of the University Sports Park the closest option is probably Body Combat).

4. Learn to appreciate wine. Your standard bottle of Blossom Hill might do for pre-drinks before Timepiece but we feel that by graduation you need to know (or at least pretend to know) a little more about wine. For this one there’s no better destination that France. Bordeaux is typically home to vast stretches of vineyards but, for those of you visiting friends abroad in Paris, its oldest wine shop, Les Caves Augé, hosts a wine-tasting every Saturday. (The Exeter equivalent here would undoubtedly be an event run by Exeter Wine Society – if you’re lucky enough to get a ticket before they sell out!)

5. Volunteer abroad (or in your local community). The list of organisations here is endless as are the different ways in which you can offer your time and skills to benefit others. Teach English in Cambodia, cricket in China or help build a school in Rwanda – wherever your passions and talents lie, there is someone somewhere whose life you can touch.

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6. Go to a Festival. Whether you’re wanting to dance ‘til dawn at Benicàssim (Spain), paint yourself head-to-toe for the Burning Man Festival (Nevada), run with the bulls in Pamplona (Spain) or party in powder for the Holi Festival of colour (India) make sure to that you save some money this year to experience a festival first-hand in amongst the buzzing crowd, rather than on TV.

7. See things in a new light. This can mean nothing other than a trip of a lifetime to see the Northern Lights! Visible from an array of locations including the Scottish Highlands, the aurora borealis offer an unrivalled spectacle; also the ideal backdrop for husky safaris, cross-country skiing, a dip in a geothermal pool and the chance to sleep in a room carved from ice!

8. Learn to Time Travel. Taking a cheesy idea from A Walk To Remember, in which Jamie achieves ‘being in two places at once’ by straddling the state line, I challenge you to take that one step further and quite literally ‘step back in time’ by walking across the International Date Line. This imaginary line crosses land in the Fijian islands of Vanua Levu, Rambi and Taveuni.

9. Learn to cook. Hopefully by now you’ve picked up a few skills in the kitchen but unfortunately those same old recipes cannot be recycled forever. Expand your repertoire by completing a cooking course on your travels. Whether you’re preparing snails in France, spicing things up in Goa or tantalizing your taste buds in Tanzania, these acquired menus can be brought home to the envy of your dinner party guests!

10. Appreciate the extraordinary. This could be undertaken in a number of different ways and will be different for everyone, but the wonders of Komodo will be hard to beat for me. Recently acclaimed one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature, Indonesia’s National Park offers unique surroundings and the chance to see the world’s largest lizard of 2.5m, the Komodo Dragon! Accessible on a live-aboard boat, the trip takes a couple of days from Lombok through the volcanic landscape and turquoise waters.

This is just a brief idea to get you thinking about what you want to get out of 2014. Whatever your New Year’s resolution, make it more exciting by doing it abroad and you can combine it with ticking off a whole host of dreams on your Bucket List – learn a new language, start a blog, reconnect with old friends, send a handwritten letter, discover your heritage, sleep under the stars…

Photo Credits: Pinterest

Carrie Ashton is a third year Geography student and Deputy Travel Editor for HCX. Having been on a committee each year so far (organising the Exeter Halls Summer Ball and Treasurer for GeogSoc), she is keen to be part of something new - starting the travel section of Her Campus being the ideal opportunity! Having grown up in South Africa and travelled fairly extensively since and in her Gap Year, Carrie has a keen interest in travel. Although she loves lying in the sun with a good book, it is the more adventurous trips that she enjoys - including scuba diving, sailing and reaching the summit of Kilimanjaro last year in aid of Practical Action.    
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