10 travel goals that will help you stretch yourself and experience the world – USA TODAY

Larry Bleiberg, Special to USA TODAY Published 7:00 a.m. ET Feb. 12, 2020

To get the most out of your next trip, try these simple tips like going off the grid and trying something new. Buzz60

Did you set some travel goals as part of your New Year's resolutions for 2020? If not, it's not too late.A new year and decade bring new ways to experience the world, says Dora Ball, editor of Travel Goals, (Lonely Planet, $25). Travelers today are not as interested in ticking off a load of sites far away. Theyre more interested in travel as self-discovery. She shares ideas for rewarding journeys and encounters with USA TODAY.

In our always-connected age, the lure of remote places is growing, Ball says. It gives you an opportunity to re-evaluate your lifestyle habits, and escape from social media. Thats what draws many to Les Toits du Monde, an electricity-free retreat with treehouses and other unique lodgings in the Laurentian Mountains, near Montreal, Canada.

More information:lestoitsdumonde.ca

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Women prepare a meal during a Meas Family Homestay in Prey Theat, located in Cambodia's Takeo province.(Photo: Mark Read/Lonely Planet)

Instead of talking to hotel employees and tour guides, see how local residents spend their daily lives, Ball says. For all the amazing sites in the world, meeting real people and spending time in their home can have a great effect on us. She suggests a homestay in Orjan, a village near Amman, Jordan. You become a part of the family for a night or two. You might help with the daily chores, and the money you pay is going directly to that community.

More information: engagingcultures.com

The Wooden Boat School in Brooklin, Maine, teaches students to design and construct a sailing skiff from scratch during its week-long boatbuilding course.(Photo: Wooden Boat School)

One of the best ways to understand the culture of a place is through a local trade or craft, which offers a window into its history and values, Ball says. Thats what draws many to a weeklong boatbuilding course in Brooklin, Maine, which teaches the basics of design as students construct a wooden sailing skiff from scratch.

More information:thewoodenboatschool.com

Youre bound to make a deep connection to a place when you take time to draw it.(Photo: Simon Richmond)

Youre bound to make a deep connection to a place when you take time to draw it. Its not about being a great artist. Its about slowing down and taking in your surroundings, Ball says. Travelers can join an organized drawing group, like Urban Sketchers in Seattle.

More information:seattle.urbansketchers.org

Route 66 has nothing on the Pan-American Highway, which takes you through 14 countries on the way from Argentina and Chile (seen here) to Canada.(Photo: filosofistock/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

With low-cost air travel, its simple to cross continents in mere hours, but why not do it the old-fashioned way: on the ground? If you've got the time, you could spend months driving the length of Africa from Cairo to Cape Townortraveling the Silk Road, the ancient trade route that connected Southern Europe to Asia, Eastern Africaand the Middle East. Or considerdriving the Pan-American Highway, which connects Argentina to Canada. The journey is the goal, being open to what you see along the way. Its the ultimate education in the world, Ball says.

More information:dragoman.com

Sometimes a trip is about pushing yourself to the limit. It could be a demanding hike like Angels Landing in Utahs Zion National Park.(Photo: Frank Bach/Alamy Stock Photo)

Sometimes a trip is about pushing yourself to the limit. It could be a demanding hike like Angels Landing in Utahs Zion National Park, while others might try the Yukon Quest, the worlds longest annual river race, which has canoeists and kayakers paddle 444 miles along the Yukon River.Theyre not necessarily fun when youre doing it. Theyre kind of extreme, but when you succeed you feel amazing, Ball says.

More information:yukonriverquest.com

Kenya's Maji Moto Maasai Cultural Camp in Kenya lets visitors experience traditional village life, music and food during overnight stays that benefit the community.(Photo: Michael Benanav/Maji Moto Maasai Cultural camp)

Travel can not only enrich your life, but it can help support humanitarian and conservation projects. You can feel good about where your moneys going, Ball says. For example, Kenya's Maji Moto Maasai Cultural Camplets visitors experience traditional village life, music and food during overnight stays that benefit the community.

More information: majimotomaasaicamp.com

Dark sky sanctuaries, which are free of light pollution, offer visitors a "mini digital detox because you become much more attuned to natural light cycle," says Ball.(Photo: DieterMeyrl/Getty Images)

For an unforgettable light show, seek out night skies unmarred by light pollution. It connects us with the outdoors. Its a mini digital detox because you become much more attuned to natural light cycles, Ball says. A prime spot: the Cosmic Campground International Dark Sky Sanctuary in the Gila National Forest in New Mexico, which offers 360-degree unobstructed views of the night sky, and is located more than 40 miles away from the nearest artificial light source. Youll be able to see the stars lit up in all their glory.

More information: fs.usda.gov

Doing something new can be as simple as learning how to gather your own food on a mushroom foraging class in Californias Santa Cruz Mountains.(Photo: Alanna Hale/Lonely Planet)

Ball says one of the best experiences for travelers is to try something new. Its the core of what enriching travels about. When you have a new experience, the memory locks in there. It can be as simple as learning how to gather your own food on a mushroom foraging class in Californias Santa Cruz Mountains. Youre surrounded by nature and you get to take something home with you.

More information: foragesf.com

Ball says spending the night in the jungle "forces you to face some fears and be aware that theres a great ecosystem out there."(Photo: Dave Hamilton/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Theres no better way to experience the wilderness than sleeping in it. Youre in a dark place, no streetlights, there are squeaks and howls and thumps and bumps. It forces you to face some fears and be aware that theres a great ecosystem out there, Ball says. One example: Ecolodge Lapa Rios in Costa Ricas Osa Peninsula, which has open-air bungalows in a 1,000-acre lowland rainforest reserve.

More information:laparios.com

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10 travel goals that will help you stretch yourself and experience the world - USA TODAY

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