The Thirty Before Thirty Challenge

Blessed are the curious for they shall have adventures – Lovelle Drachman.

Photo memories from Australia, Indonesia and Singapore.

Travel has always been in my bones, I think. Ever since I was little, I dreamt of beaches and rainforests, made up stories about Ancient Egypt and wild animals. Those dreams turned into an immense excitement for my first time on a plane that I could remember at age eleven. Holidays wherever I went were met with pure elation. My trips to the caravan in Wales as a child were the best weeks away any ten-year-old could hope for. As I got older, my mind began to dream a little further, similar to the stories I’d created as a young girl whilst sat at the typewriter in the back room with a Polly Pocket in a jungle for inspiration, bought at the car boot sale. By the age of twenty, whilst living in Spain, I had decided I wanted to go to Australia. It was a dream that I created inspiration boards of, and then the drug of wanderlust caught me in its trap once again, before I even flew to the other side of the world.

I hadn’t ever put a challenge on my travels during my time on the other side of the world. If I had, I might have seen far more incredible sights and experienced so much more than what my eyes have seen and what my lips have tasted. Nevertheless, I’ve written about my travel regrets before and right now, this isn’t about that. This is about the immense need I have to fulfil this thirty before thirty challenge. It might sound silly to some, those who perhaps don’t prioritise travel in their life, but to me it would be a lifelong achievement. There are so many beautiful places in the world, the 195 or 215 countries that make up this earth, depending on which list you go by. To just experience thirty would be a miniscule 12% of the world, if that, but thirty to me would mean the entire world… especially if I did it in my twenties.

I think the reason this thirty before thirty challenge is around is because once you hit thirty, there is an unwritten notion that is tied to settling down, making your mark and creating a base that you can call home. That is not in everybody’s interest, but I do want to own a house in my early thirties, a place to call my own home, and a place to return to at the end of every day and think yep, we did this. Right now, whilst I don’t have any legitimate ties concerning a mortgage or children, I have the freedom to travel and appreciate the world that we live in. Plus, I want to look back on my twenties as a time of incredible memories, of adventures, and think in awe of all the things I achieved in my life at a young age.

WHERE AM I AT SO FAR?

So far in my life, I have officially visited twelve countries. Yep, the United Kingdom is classed as one despite having England, Scotland and Wales. I’m only a tiny bit disappointed because otherwise I would have been halfway there!

I have been very lucky in my life, partially thanks to the choices I have made. I studied English Literature and Spanish at university, so I automatically had a third year abroad which I spent in Spain. I then worked my arse off, and had so much help, to get to Australia where I worked and travelled for roughly nine months. From there, I visited Indonesia and Singapore, places that I wouldn’t have ever thought possible until I travelled Down Under.

In total so far, that is five.

I first went to Disneyland Paris, France, at the age of seven and again at the age of twenty-two. I also visited my best friend in Les Gets during ski season last year. I have also visited Portugal twice, once with family just before I lived in Spain and the second time visiting its capital with my best friend this year. Ireland is another country I have been to twice; once this year with Warren on our road trip and the other time for my mum’s birthday. Plus, I have visited The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Cyprus and Italy, all in the space of the past two years.

In total that is the entire twelve.

Sorry about the very blurred photos, but these give me so much joy when I look at them that it is only right these were included in this blog post.

WHAT IS NEXT?

I want travel to be a huge part of 2020. It’s a lot harder now with working a full-time 9-5 job. Trying to fit travel abroad into weekends is more difficult that I imagined. Believe me, I’ve read the how-tos and other travel bloggers’ experiences, but I just haven’t been able to manage it just yet. If I could get a late flight on a Friday night from Birmingham that would get me back home late on a Sunday night, that would be epic, but I haven’t found the right prices, flight times or places that would allow me to experience another country fully in that time without costing the earth. Perhaps I’m not looking hard enough.

Back to looking at 2020, there are so many plans in the works. My mind goes wanderlust crazy whenever I think about it. Warren and I have mentally planned two trips in January and March, both of which are to brand new countries neither of us have ever visited before which makes me jump up and down like mad. I am planning a special holiday in the summer months too. I also want to go away with my mum and my dad for various occasions. Even writing this blog post has my fingertips itching to book something, just so I know it is concrete and I have actual travel plans once again. After a whirlwind of travel in April and May this year, not leaving the country until next January is pretty hard-hitting. Nevertheless, it hasn’t been a priority these past few months which will change once Christmas is out of the way!

I’m hoping to tick off some incredible European countries next year, leading up to and going beyond my twenty-eighth birthday. After that, hopefully a trip to the U.S.; it’s been a recurring dream that Warren and I talk about repeatedly at the moment. After that, the dream is New Zealand. If I get to NZ before I’m thirty, I will be not only proud, but gobsmacked too. I’ve already started saving.

Do you have any travel challenges? How many countries have you visited? What were your absolute favourites? Any recommendations, please send them my way! I’m always on the lookout for new countries to visit.

Love, Faye xo

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