Readers’ Responses: Travel Spots & Resolutions for 2021
The year 2020 has been a tough one for the world of travel—plans halted, tickets gone to waste and the frustrations of being cooped up at home in the midst of a pandemic. But looking back, this year has taught us to be responsible in all throes of life—especially when it’s time to hit the road again. How will travel change for us in 2021? What are our travel resolutions for the new year? And where do we want to go? Our readers weigh in.
Ellendula Sai Charan, Telangana
In 2021, I want to travel across the many Himalayan towns and villages, and rivers flowing through these regions. I want to raise awareness regarding the extreme amount of plastic waste that accumulates in these regions due to tourism and how harmful it is for the environment. I wish to work in collaboration with locals to ensure that there is a significant move to use less plastic products: by not packaging food, groceries and other commodities in plastic bags for starters. Most importantly, travellers need to also be mindful about not carrying and using plastic products while there and not littering. I wish to speak with people who have similar concerns and can join me in this mission.
Claudio Matias Alberto Ramirez Guichard, Santiago, Chile
My travel diaries for the next year will commence from my hometown in Santiago, Chile following which I first wish to visit Rio do Janeiro, Brazil. I’ve already bought my one-way ticket. I’ll be there for 10 days before taking a flight to Spain, where I wish to start with Madrid and then move along all the way to Estonia. I also plan to visit France, Italy, Greece, Austria, Lithuania and Hungary—do a real Euro Trip over two months. Most of these trips are going to be done via trains, because I think it is a more eco-friendly mode of travel as compared to flights.
After that, I’m going to Russia where I’ll be visiting St Petersburg and Moscow for some days, where I’ll take the Trans Mongolian to Beijing doing some stops of course. After this, I want to spend the rest of my vacation in China, where I hope to visit the Pandas and then move to Yunnan.
In the new year, I am going to try my best to be a responsible tourist: not exploit any place that I visit, no excessive use of plastic, no overuse of water resources (taking excessively long baths) and being more mindful about sustainability as a whole.
Dr. Ashish Shah
2020 has been a difficult year for all of us. While solo traveling has always been a stress buster for me, I couldn’t make any trips this year due to the pandemic. However, in the new year, I have plans of visiting the Pacific Islands, Bora Bora topping the list. I believe that after the year we’ve had, there won’t be the fear of overcrowding and since I wish to engage in activities like camping, most of my adventures will be outdoors to minimise risk of transmissions. I would also choose to restrict myself to a private dorm in a hostel to be on the safe side.
Anupam Dhote, Maharashtra
All my travel plans for 2021 will revolve around two words: caution and responsibility. I plan to kickstart the new year by exploring the lesser crowded beaches of South Goa: like Agonda and Cola.
In March, I plan to visit Madhya Pradesh and explore two offbeat spots: the Jain temples of Muktagiri and the hill station of Kukru, each brimming with rich heritage and natural diversity.
In Monsoon, I wish to embark on weekend treks to the forts and mountains around the Sahyadri range. Finally, in December, I want to plan a trip to Sikkim and then Kolkata, to catch the perfect weather and landscapes in West Bengal. The resolution, in short, is to discover the nooks and crannies of my own country and encourage local travel as far as possible.
Aman Kumar Singh, Bihar
If there’s anything the pandemic has taught us, is to take nothing for granted and to take a more responsible and sustainable approach to nature and travel. To this end, in 2021, I plan to cycle 25,000 kilometres across India (the route is yet to be mapped out) and create travel vlogs to upload on YouTube. I wish to engage and interact with locals of whichever destination I visit and understand their culture and tell the world their stories.
Sumith B N, Karnataka
I’m planning to visit Mexico in 2021, where I have friends who I’m yet to meet. In Mysore, there’s a very famous toys market called Channapatna, which is renowned for its woodwork. I want to take these uniquely engraved and locally made crafts to these friends in Mexico and introduce to them the delights of Indian craftsmanship.
Sai Santosh Kumar
In 2021, we look forward to more bike rides with the intention of discovering many beautiful locations within India. First, we plan on biking from Hyderabad to Mana–a village in Chamoli, Uttarakhand–that is located at an altitude of 10,500 feet. From there, we wish to embark on a journey through Kasauli, Manali, Leh, Ladakh and Khardung La. We will, of course be adhering to all kinds of safety guidelines and protocols pertaining to COVID-19.
Waseem Ahmad, Jammu and Kashmir
The biggest realisation I have had in the pandemic is that I haven’t explored my own city enough. There is much to be seen in the valleys of Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir and that is my goal for the coming year. I will set out on my mountain bike even if the journey will take longer than intended. This will help me stay close to nature. I also want to photograph these moments along the way with the larger purpose of promoting sustainable travel. I plan on going the extra mile to ensure that this trip will be an eco-friendly one. That would mean eliminating plastic waste, wastage of food and water, and valuing natural resources.
Rishabh Kaushal, Madhya Pradesh
Come February, I shall set out on my bike from Bhopal and hit the coastal regions such as Goa, Gokarna and Udupi. I want to minimise the stops along the way and halt only for food and necessary supplies. To ensure high levels of safety, I will be staying only at hotels listed by the state tourism boards.
Aesha Shah, Gujarat
In 2021, I want to take a trip to Kasol in Himachal Pradesh with my husband and our newborn son. The goal is to immerse in an eco-friendly holiday experience in a rural part of the country. Since it’ll be our first trip with our child, we are very excited and will ensure all the safety measures are in place irrespective of the pandemic. We want to support the local economy by renting a local homestay for the duration of our trip and shopping at the local market. We will eliminate the use of plastic by indulging in simple practices such as carrying our own steel water bottles.
Geffrjng Lepcha, West Bengal
I have heard so much about Himachal Pradesh that I want to visit the place next year. Instead of singing up with a travel agent, I want to localise the experience and plan the trip on my own. Of course I will adhere to the safety guidelines and the state government norms. I want to interact with the locals and learn from them about this beautiful place.
Rishi Sood, Himachal Pradesh
Having opened on October 3, 2020, the Atal Tunnel built under Rohtang Pass connects Manali to Lahaul-Spiti valley in Himachal Pradesh. At a length of 9.2 kilometres, it is the world’s longest highway tunnel at an altitude of over 10,000 feet. I have spent a considerable amount of time in Lahaul Valley and Pangi Valley, and the tunnel has made these regions accessible for tourism. I look forward to supporting the local communities here during my travels. It is important that we realise the fragility and importance of the biodiversity and the mountains, and work towards protecting them.
Arvind Yadav, West Bengal
Before the pandemic took the world by storm, I had chalked out plans to visit Maldives in 2021. However, given the current scenario, I would rather explore local destinations across Odisha, West Bengal and the Northeast region. I look forward to more road trips instead of train and flight journeys, and would be cautious of the sanitisation process implemented in hotels and stays.
Shaily Singh, Delhi
In 2021, I want to undertake a trek to Friendship Peak, which starts from Manali, Dhundi. After this, I will be spending a month undergoing training in basic mountaineering in Uttarkashi. Since I’ll probably be travelling in the midst of the pandemic, and using public transport, I will make sure to have my mask on, sanitise and carry all the safety gear. I will also carry a separate biodegradable bag to put in all the used clothes and maintain social distance with everyone I meet.
I will also be carrying a few biodegradable garbage bags with me for waste disposal and will use eco-friendly toiletries. The idea is to use as many less chemicals and plastics as possible, to help protect the ecosystem and our own health.
Sagar Milind Shinde, Maharashtra
I am an agriculturist and an agri business consultant. In 2021, I wish to visit the Seven Sisters state in the Northeast and explore the landscapes through biking, trekking and hiking. This is a measure to reduce carbon footprint. I’d love to interact with the locals with the hope of introducing them, especially the farmers, to new agricultural techniques for bettering their crop production. The aim is to immerse in a local cultural experience while also being a responsible traveller.
Arun Daniel Kumar, Hyderabad
I have my eyes set on Vietnam, Cambodia, Japan and the United States in 2021, because I am curious to learn about the many cultures that exist in these countries, sample their local delicacies and meet people from all ranges of life.
In India, I wish to discover the entirety of the north-east region. Imbibe in their local culture, cuisine and traditions. I’ve always loved backpacking through towns and villages, and this time I want to do so while also interacting and helping small business hurt by the pandemic by promoting their work and stories. In short, my travel goal in India atleast, would be to meet and help people rebuild. Seeing as to how important it is to wear a mask and keep my hands clean, I will take my own precautions and follow the WHO travel guidelines the whole time.
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