Today is my birthday! And it’s also my sister’s birthday! Maybe it’s your birthday too?
I should be partying it up but instead I spent the morning doing laundry, taking out the trash, and paying bills, and now I’m sitting at my desk writing a blog post. Oh and I even flossed my teeth – in the morning! You see, I’ve just entered my fourth decade so I have to become boring and grown up now. I’m thinking of making brown rice and broiled salmon for dinner.
Just kidding, I’m definitely having chocolate chip cookies for dinner.
And the reason I’ve been rushing around with grown up chores this morning is that I’m leaving early tomorrow morning for a weekend in Rotterdam! And then next week Dan and I will be leaving on a two week road trip through Northern Norway, which is extra exciting because then it will be Dan’s birthday!
Wow, so many exclamation points. Is this what my thirties will be like?
To be honest, I sort of am expecting my thirties to be full of exclamation points. Like, I don’t think I’ve had such high expectations for a new decade since I turned thirteen. And uh, hopefully my thirties live up to those expectations a bit better than my teens did. Or at least thirteen – did anyone enjoy being thirteen?
Anyway as I was saying, while I generally feel very meh about my birthdays, turning thirty does feel like something special. I mean, I’ve read the blog posts. 30 Things I’ve Learned in 30 Years, 3 Things It’s Taken Me 30 Years to Learn, 30 Things to Do Before Turning 30 —
Oh no, I knew I was forgetting something. It’s like that time my sister decided to read War and Peace before she turned thirteen and I was about to turn ten so she told me I should read it too because that would be even more impressive, but I didn’t.
I don’t know, should I make a bucket list for my thirties instead? I feel like that’s really just setting myself up for failure though. How about I just make a few very vague, very easy to accomplish goals for my thirties instead?
1. Put less pressure on my travels and make fewer goals
How’s that for an easy to accomplish goal? Have fewer goals.
No, what I really mean is that I want to put less pressure on myself to have certain experiences on my travels, or to travel in a particular way. I shouldn’t consider a trip wasted if I don’t become best friends with locals or have a crazy experience hitchhiking through an unknown landscape.
In the same vein, a lot of my twenties were about wanting to see ALL the places, whereas now I’m feeling a lot more relaxed about that bucket list. Of course there are still so many new places I’m eager to visit, but I feel less frantic about booking all of those trips, like NOW.
2. Revisit more of the places I love
This isn’t exactly something new for my thirties, as I’ve always made a point of planning travels to both new places and old favorites. Though there are some far off countries that I’ve been meaning to return to for a long time now and I hope that I’ll actually make those trips happen in the coming years. I’m talking about you, Central Asia. Oh and Thailand and Nepal!
3. Finally learn Spanish
This is the most concrete thing I can think of that will actually make me a better traveler. Each foreign language I have learned has proved so useful on my travels and I would love to add another one to the mix.
But mostly I need to learn Spanish because I’m so embarrassed over not knowing any that I’ve avoided an entire continent because of it. And I really would love to see some of South America.
Of course I’ve traveled to plenty of countries where I don’t speak the language, but I think I feel particularly bad about not speaking Spanish because I grew up in the US and really should have learned at least some. But I will! Once I master Norwegian…
4. Travel more locally – maybe?
So it turns out I have so many feelings about this that I’m going to have to make this one into its very own blog post – you can read it here!
5. Give myself more time for photography and videos
This might sound strange coming from a blogger, as I probably take way more photos and videos on my travels than most people. But up until a year or so ago, I always felt a little guilty when I stopped to take a photo or video clip.
I think part of me felt like I was breaking the magic of the moment by pulling out my camera, and part of me just found it all a little embarrassing. But the truth is, I love taking photos and making little videos of my travels and I think it’s time to accept that as part of my travel experience. Because as bad as it might (or might not?) sound, I probably am going to enjoy a hike or excursion more if I bring my camera along and I need to let myself be okay with that.
Plus, I really do treasure the photos I have of my past travels, and I would especially love to have more videos of all the amazing things I get to experience.
6. Face my fears when I know I should
I said that I want to put less pressure on my travels, but I think at the same time I need to remind myself that a little pressure is a good thing. I’m scared of a lot of things, and as I’ve gotten older I’ve become better at acknowledging when something pushes too far past my limits. So like, whereas at twenty you totally could have peer pressured me into going bungee jumping with you, now there is no way.
And I think that’s largely a good thing, but sometimes it ends up meaning that I give myself too much of a break. I find myself facing my fears more rarely these days, but when I do it always feels amazing! And I think that’s because well 1. it’s good to overcome fears, but also 2. deep down I know when I have a fear that I really should overcome.
So I guess what I’m saying is now that I’m a more seasoned traveler than I was ten years ago, I might need to make a greater effort not to let myself become too comfortable on my travels.
7. Read War and Peace
Okay I just threw this last one in with the hopes that I won’t still have the guilt I felt on my 10th birthday weighing on me when I turn forty. Plus I read somewhere that it’s better to use odd numbers in blog posts but I couldn’t come up with seven goals. See that? I’m already on my way to accomplishing goal #1!
Do you have any other suggestions, or something you’d like to do to become a better traveler?