OK – so everyone and their brother posts a “Top 10 list of places to see” or “Top 10 vacation destinations” at this time of year, but we wanted to offer something else…a top 5 list of things to do in 2013 (so original, right?). Peruse the list and see what you can add to your “to-dos” in 2013!
- Visit a foreign country – Stepping away from “the world you know” and exploring the culture, customs, people, food and sights of another country can be mind-opening and exhilarating. Consider a grand departure from your own background and anticipate the wealth of culture to be offered by places such as Iceland, Spain, Mexico, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, China, Australia and so many more interesting places. For more information on vacation destinations, visit Lonely Planet.
- Visit a culturally-robust city – We understand that not everyone can make intercontinental travel fit their budget or schedule, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find time to absorb culture that’s close to home. Cities such as New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco boast “cities within cities” – allowing visitors to see Chinatown, Little Italy and Japantown, respectively. Look into big cities near you and you just might find another culture waiting to be discovered. When you’re ready to book your trip, check out UCT’s discount on hotels and rental cars for U.S. and Canadian members.
- Explore your own backyard – It’s the same story no matter where you go…people take for granted the great cultural activities and sights in their own cities. A friend who lived in New York once quipped “I’ve lived here for 10 years and I’ve never been to half the places you’re seeing this week.” She was referring to the Statue of Liberty, Empire State Building and a host of other landmark sights in the bustling city. But you don’t need to live in New York to experience culture in your own backyard – visit a local museum, historical center, or courthouse, see a locally produced play, musical or ballet, or just take a stroll through “the old downtown” and stop in quaint shops along the way. While you are exploring your city, be sure to share some photos on Flickr so we can join you on your journey.
- Help others – This one seems so simple, but we often lose track of time and cram our schedules so full of other activities that we never stop to help others in need. In light of the recent tragedies we are reminded that life is short, friend and family are a gift and that we should never take anything for granted. Helping others can be as simple as making a donation to a local charity, offering to serve a meal at a local shelter, volunteering at a library or school to read to children, or participating in a community event such as a 5K or bike ride to support a cause. But to make it even easier, in 2013 commit to holding the door for someone walking behind you, say “hi” to people that you pass in hallways, or give a smile to those who could use one – these inexpensive and “no need to plan for” activities can brighten someone’s day and make a big difference. If you want to find a way to get involved locally, visit VolunteerMatch.
- Make time for yourself – One of the biggest complaints voiced by people is there is never enough time in the day…couldn’t we just add another hour here or there…then everything would be just fine. Sadly, we’re stuck with just 24 hours per day and we need to learn to make the most of them. We know that we have a limited amount of time on earth, so why do we always put ourselves at the bottom of the list? In 2013 it’s time to make time for yourself. Commit to setting aside an hour per week for something YOU enjoy…whether it’s reading a good book, getting your nails done, working on a project in the garage, visiting old friends, wandering through the mall or local shops, watching sports on TV, or running a bubble bath and pouring a glass of wine, slow down and take time for YOU this year. At first you may need to schedule this one hour “mini vacation” in your planner or email calendar, but soon it will become more natural and you will become a better person for it – when we take care of ourselves we are much better at taking care of others! Women, if you need help planning for this “me” time, read this article on WebMD.