At the start of 2017, I set myself a travel challenge. I’d try to accomplish 30 travel things I’d always wanted to do while I was 30, from February 12, 2017, until February 11, 2018. Halfway through and with a bunch of items on my dream list already checked off, I decided to quit my own challenge. Here’s why.
The idea for the challenge had come to me after I’d repeatedly come across these articles saying you should have done these 25 things before you turned 25 (way too late for me) or you should have traveled to these 30 places before you turn 30.
I thought: “Scr*w that”.
I didn’t and still don’t believe there’s an expiry date on chasing your travel dreams and so I decided to actively start chasing mine when I’d turned 30.
More so, I asked you all to join me. I created a checklist you could print to write your own 30 items on and even launched a Facebook group for people who wanted to join the challenge.
Full of excitement, I started planning trips and activities to accomplish the things on my travel wish list.
The turning point: quitting my own travel challenge
When summer arrived, I’d already checked off a large chunk of my bucket list items, with several more planned to do later in the year. But looking at my calendar, I knew that if I’d wanted to do them all, I’d have to rush.
I realized I’d need to go places just for the sake of checking off one of my bucket list items and as I already was as good as fully booked until the end of the year, I knew I would probably exhaust myself in the process.
And so I decided to quit.
I didn’t quit because I thought I couldn’t do it. I quit because I knew I could but wouldn’t enjoy my travels if I rushed them.
Now, what’s most important? Exactly.
I decided to travel my way and so should you
While I decided not to pursue my goal of checking off all 30 things on my personal bucket list before turning 31 a few months ago already, I hesitated to make it public because I was afraid of letting you all down.
But you know what? I’ve always rooted for traveling your own way, whether that’s fast, slow, budget or luxuriously. If I’d continued working on my bucket list while knowing I wouldn’t enjoy it would have gone against what I’ve always been saying. It wouldn’t have been true to how I like to travel – and I wouldn’t have been true to the message I’m trying to share with you.
If you feel the need to visit every country in the world, do 25 crazy things before you turn whatever or eat pizza in every European capital, please, go ahead. Create your own list of things to do and accomplish them in a way that makes you feel good, not stressed out.
My 30 things
I’ve decided to keep my bucket list here so you can see which of my bucket list things I’ve done, and also as a little nudge to myself not to forget about the ones I decided not to do just yet. I’m super happy that I took up this challenge as I’ve done lots of things I might have put off for many more years otherwise, but I’m just as happy I decided to quit when I did.
1. Learn a dance in its country of origin – I learned the Waltz in Vienna and I’ll learn a local farmer’s dance in Zillertal, Austria in September!
2. Dance shamelessly to a street artist’s music
3. Practice a language abroad – I went to learn Spanish in Seville!
4. Go somewhere warm in winter – I went to Morocco in December!
5. Visit as many new countries as possible – at least 3 – Sweden was my first new country, South Africa in September was my second, Latvia was my third and Morocco was my fourth!
6. Have a local guide me around a city – The sweet Cyra guided me around the tapas bars of Sevilla.
7. See whales in the wild – I saw whales in South Africa!!
8. Try as many new local dishes as possible – at least 3 – I had goulashsuppe and Käse-Knödel in Austria as well as Frys sugarbread in Leeuwarden
9. Go on a safari – I did this in South Africa!
10. Spend a romantic week road tripping in a camper van with my partner – I did an rv trip in France
11. Travel for longer than two weeks at an end – I did this in South Africa!
12. Be interviewed by a foreign newspaper or magazine- I wasn’t featured in a foreign publication, but I was in a national one. That counts for half a point, right? 😀
13. Attend a local event wearing local traditional clothes – I wore a Dirndl in Zillertal! Not to an event though 🙁
14. Help a local community out – Still on the list
15. Fly in a hot air balloon – Still on the list
16. Run through and do a photoshoot in a lavender field – I did this in France in June! Well, kind of, because I didn’t want to trespass 🙂
17. Go partying with locals – Still on the list (I know!)
18. See a ballet abroad – I did this in Stockholm, Sweden!
19. Go on a body, mind and soul retreat- Still on the list
20. Do a homestay – I was supposed to do this in Austria, but plans changed, so it’s still on the list
21. Watch the sunrise/sunset in an iconic place – I did a sunrise hike in Austria! I was supposed to do a sunset hike in Vorarlberg, Austria as well, but something got in the way.
22. Soak in a hot spring- Still on the list
23. Visit a tea plantation – I saw one in South Africa, but have yet to properly visit one
24. Eat at a dessert-only restaurant – Can’t seem to find one – woops
25. Follow the route of a fictional book in a specific destination – Still on the list
26. Take a self-defense class – Still on the list
27. Spend a night in the desert I’d planned to do this in Morocco in December, but the stay got canceled because of bad weather conditions 🙁 I did have dinner in the desert though!
28. Climb a volcano – I visited the volcanic craters in the German Vulkaneiffel in July and hope to make it to Tenerife to climb Mount Teide, or to the Etna in Sicily at one point.
29. Speak at an event abroad – Still on the list
30. Read a book about every country I’ll visit for the #Anydaysgood project – Well that’s not going to happen anymore, but I do seriously need to start reading more again!