For many people, travel is much more than just taking a break from work, school or the familiar. It represents opportunity, change, and the chance to immerse yourself in something completely unique and to grow as a person. With that in mind, Lonely Planet has released a new book - Travel Goals: Inspiring Experiences to Transform Your Life - which outlines distinctive activities in diverse locations all over the globe that are sure to encourage you to start thinking about your next big adventure! Including practicable ways to achieve the goals, it’s the perfect travel-planning companion.

Two friends in yellow helmets laugh and scream as their raft travels through the rapids
Adventure-lovers can put together a new list of goals and activities © Noel Hendrickson

Embracing new adventures

Whether it’s hunting for truffles in the Italian woods, riding the 140-year-old Darjeeling Railway in India, gazing at the twinkling night skies in the Gobi Desert or learning how to build boats in Maine, USA, the new book is all about transformative travel experiences that will stay with you long after you’ve returned home. Laid out like a feel-good travel bucket list, every goal is accompanied by recommendations stating where you can try it, along with information and websites that will help make it a reality. Travellers are amazingly diverse in their interests and goals, and in turn each destination offers something special that will resonate with people.

When it comes to adventuring in the great outdoors, readers can find information on various activities such as summiting a mountain, with a half-day (optional) barefoot pilgrimage up Ireland’s Croagh Patrick, a steamy ascent of the fiery Volcán Concepción in Nicaragua and a multi-day guided climb of Mount Kinabalu in Malaysian Borneo all being outlined. There’s also details on how to get off the tourist trail to see lesser-seen places like the city of Kuélap in Northern Peru (extremely captivating while being less crowded than Machu Picchu), Slovenia’s Mount Triglav and Lake Bled, and the rugged Tien Shan mountain range in Kyrgyzstan

A woman is wearing black pants and a stripey yellow shirt is sitting on a couch reading Lonely Planet. Her face is obscured.
Travel Goals helps readers discover diverse activities and experiences all over the world © James Gabriel Martin

Challenging how we travel

The aim of Travel Goals is not only to shine a light on the 'where' of travel, but also the 'how' and 'why'. It’s all too easy to get into the habit of going for the obvious choices when it comes to taking a trip, or simply searching for budget-friendly flights and accommodation, when in reality, thinking a bit outside the box may lead to you ending up with more interesting stories and longer-lasting memories. Topics such as how to be a tourist in your own country are covered, with tips on how you can take a road trip across the United States in a vintage car and how to go on a domestic safari in wilds of Scotland. By viewing travel from another angle, you can see the world in a different way. The book also covers how to travel without a goal (whether its island hoping in Greece or wandering around the streets of Amsterdam) and going off grid, leaving your phone at home and disconnecting from the digital world.

A group of friends toast their drinks in a pub
Find your tribe in any city and learn from the friendly locals © franckreporter

Connecting with yourself and others

From having a fling while on holiday and embracing your sexuality to learning from the kindness of strangers, buying rounds for locals, or finding your tribe in a foreign city, Travel Goals hones in on some of the rewarding ways travel can touch you on a personal level. The chapter on being yourself – something that often sounds easier in theory – outlines writer Clover Stroud’s experiences in North Ossetia in the hulking Caucasus Mountains of remote southern Russia, and how immersing herself in the challenge helped her regain a sense of identity and individualism. Readers can also find suggestions on overseas volunteering with organisations such as Raleigh International, a UK charity that works to protect and supply resources in places like Costa Rica, Nepal and Tanzania, Peace Corps, who arrange 27-month placements in 60 different countries and Global Citizen Year (GCY), which recruits and trains young people for a gap-year “fellowship” between high school and college.

A woman cleans up litter and rubbish on a beach
Learn how to become an ocean defender and have a positive impact on the world while travelling © Klaus Vedfelt

Change the world 

Thankfully, today, more and more travellers are taking eco-friendly steps with their habits, and opting for sustainable trips that can have a positive impact on the world, and having a resource that further explores this idea means that more people are likely to try it out. Travel Goals contains a how-to on becoming an ocean defender, from dining consciously on sustainably harvested seafood and choosing eco-certified tour operators to working with sea-friendly organisations such as 5Gyres, Surfrider and Waterkeeper Alliance. If that kickstarts your passion, you can also learn more about joining conservation projects that plant trees that contribute to forests in North America, Latin America, Asia and Africa, and become a volunteer citizen scientist to help gather important data for ongoing research. There’s also information on paying it forward that includes details on how to help struggling communities and animals, whether it’s big undertakings like volunteering in a refugee camp or smaller acts like packing for a purpose with extra colouring pencils, bandages and surgical gloves for places that need it. 

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