August 13, 2014

30 Things Every Traveler Must Do Before They're 30

This weekend, I spent some time cleaning out my computer and my inbox and came across this post I had saved awhile back from It's a list of "30 things every person with a bit of wanderlust must see and do before they're 30."

As a 27-year-old obsessive list maker with an incurable case of wanderlust, I immediately started counting off how many of these things I've done and decided to turn it into a blog post. So, here goes!

1. Jump off something.  I zip lined in New Jersey in high school. I've also been cliff diving a a few times. I won't do that again.
2. See one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Well, the only one of the ancient wonders that still exists is the Great Pyramid of Giza. I haven't been there, but of the Seven Modern Wonders of the World, I've been to: the Channel Tunnel, the CN Tower, the Empire State Building, and the Golden Gate Bridge. 

Looking up at the CN Tower
Of the New7Wonders, I've been to the Colossseum and the Taj Mahal. I was a little surprised to see that Stonehenge didn't make this list (even though it is tremendously disappointing). 

3. Party in Las Vegas. I didn't rage all night or do anything I regretted either time I went to Vegas, but I've definitely had fun there. 
Vegas '08
4. Take a vacation that isn't Spring Break. Fact: I think I've only gone on vacation that was Spring Break twice in my life. 
5. Attend at least one large celebration. Gasparilla 2009. What a mess. It's like Mardi Gras...with pirates.

6. Hit up a nude beach. I've been to beaches where people are in the nude. I've never strictly been to a nude beach. 
7. Spend several days with only what will fit into a backpack. I went to the Netherlands, Bosnia, Serbia, Italy, and India with nothing but a backpacker's backpack. Virtually every time I go away for a weekend, I bring a small overnight bag. What can I say? I pack light. 
8. Swim in the ocean. Both sides of the Atlantic and the Pacific.
9. Sleep somewhere where you have to light a fire to stay warm. Does it count if you don't actually have a fire? I caught pneumonia in Jamaica from sleeping in a structure with no roof. Fact: it gets crazy cold in Jamaica in the middle of January.

I also slept in a house with no power for almost a week after Hurricane Sandy hit. We did not light fires in the living room. So, no, I've never slept somewhere where I actually lit a fire to stay warm, but I'm counting my two experiences where a fire would have been delightful. 
10. Do some sort of adrenaline sport. Do marathons count? What about judo? How about riding a banana boat around the Dominican Republic and flying off the back of it? I've skied twice. I hated it. I also tried water skiing once. My swim suit bottoms fell off.

I actually bought this photo. The printed version completely wipes out the Capitol.
I'm crossing this one off because there is no greater adrenaline rush than seeing the finish line of a marathon. Except in Madrid. Where they had 8 finish lines. 
11. Hit up one of the Caribbean islands. Aruba, Bahama, come on pretty mama. Nah, I haven't been to either of those. Fact: I used to say that my life long goal was to go to every place in the song, Kokomo. Then I found out that Kokomo is not a real place, unless you count Kokomo, Indiana. Which I don't. But I have been to the Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Grand Cayman.

12. Take one ultimate road trip. I left Long Island on a sunny morning in July one summer, headed to Jersey and picked up Route 1 where I drove it all the way to Miami. It was awesome.
13. Go somewhere alone. Rome. India. I would highly advise going to Rome alone. I would not advise going to India alone, especially if you are a woman.

14. Take a train somewhere. I take a train pretty much every day.
15. Go to a music festival. I went to a very small, kind of sad little country music festival on Long Island once. I'd like to go to one of the bigger ones though.
16. Have one iconic Americana experience.
17. Go to at least one of the Smithsonian museums. Duh. 
18. Summit a mountain. Nope. 
19. Be able to name your top five dream vacations.  1) Cuba. 2) Greece. 3) Budapest, Hungary. 4) Riga, Latvia. 5) Kenya or Tanzania (It's a toss up). Easy peasy. 
20. See a game at a classic ballpark. I've seen games at 22 ball parks. As for the classic ones? I've been to Dodger Stadium, Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, Shea Stadium (CitiField is so much better), and the old Yankee Stadium.
Mom and I at Dodger Stadium
21. Visit a neighbor to our north or south. I've been to Toronto a couple of times. The Pilot and I took a road trip to Montreal in 2010, and Mom and I visited Mexico when I was in college.

22. Do something so adventurous it requires a doctor's visit. According to the list, going to a country that requires shots counts. Thankfully, I've never had to visit a doctor in some of the more remote parts of the world I've been to, but I'm basically vaccinated against everything out there that can be vaccinated against. Except for Japanese Encephalitis. I opted out of that one. Scary, I know.
23. Save pennies to go somewhere you really want to go. I've only really ever saved enough pennies for shopping money. I've always just kind of made it a point to prioritize travel.
24. Go to New York City. Been there, lived there, done that, bought the t-shirt and burned it. My NYC days are long behind me.
25. Sleep under the stars.
26. Eat an iconic city meal.  I've had cheese steaks in Philly, beignets and craw fish in New Orleans, deep dish pizza in Chicago, bagels in New York, cheese curds in Milwaukee, brisket in Texas, Primanti Brothers in Pittsburgh, banoffee pie in London, Guiness in get the picture.
Banoffee Pie. Yum.
27. Know all of the best places to take tourists in your home city. It's pretty easy to know exactly where to take tourists in DC. Go to the National Mall. See you in 10 hours. I'm still a newbie to DC though, so I tend to take my tourists to all of the eateries I haven't tried yet, but I'm starting to pick my favorites and know the best spots.
28. Have one close encounter with a wild animal.  This is not one of the smarter things I've ever done. This is me with a live crocodile. In Ghana.

29. Parachute out of something that is working perfectly fine, for no legitimate reason. Nope, never have, never will.
30. Know a dance well enough that you could keep up with the locals.  My family are all locals. I can handle myself pretty well when those around me are dancing the salsa or the merengue.

My older sister and my dad salsa dancing at my brother's wedding. 
So, that's my list! While most of these things can be done without traveling extensively, it's always fun to say that you've done one of these things somewhere a little off the beaten path!
What's the craziest thing you've done while traveling?


  1. I'll have to make myself a travel to do before I'm 35 since I've already hit the 30 mark. Looks like you've had some awesome adventures!!

  2. This is fantastic!!! You are such a world traveler, I'm jealous :)


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