On May 29th, I crossed a line. A line into another decade of my life that I hadn’t ever really thought about reaching. A distant future.
No longer am I a 20-something wanna-be traveler, penny-pinching and saving every dime in preparation for this all-encompassing world trip that was sure to be the most prolific thing that has ever happened to human kind. Those days have come and gone, and now I’m at an age where there’s a reason why my feet and back hurt after a day of touring. An age where I’ve already packed a dozen backpacks and suitcases, have journeyed solo, have worked for a place to sleep, have created a new life in a distant land.
I’ve mulled over my thoughts about this milestone for the past few weeks, and everyone I talk to about turning 30 pretty much gives me two pieces of wisdom/encouragement: 1) You don’t look 30. 2) Thirties are AWESOME.
In response to number 1, thank you. Besides having good genes in that regard (hat-tip, mom), I think I’ve done a few things in my life right. I don’t smoke, I don’t party hard, and I tend to stay out of the sun. That last one is key, ladies! During my teenage years when other girls were dropping cash at the tanning salons, I used to say (as my mom reminded me the other day), “When I’m older, I’m going to look like a peach.” Way to look ahead, young me.
As for number 2, well, I hope so! I’m told that the 30s involve having a lot more confidence, self-acceptance, focus, and the means to have all that fun you could not afford during your 20s. Even though I’m still desperately lacking in the self-acceptance area, and confidence for that matter (we’ll get to that when I bring up my TBU presentation last month), I do know that I have changed substantially in the past few years leading up to this point.
I spent a lot of my 20s feeling unsure, unhappy, uneasy and anxious; I was always in search of something different, something new, something FAR FAR AWAY. Always getting somewhere and needing to change it up once life became dull and unsatisfying again.
I owe my extensive travel resume and numerous unique life experiences to these feelings, but I now know that I haven’t always traveled for the right reasons. That’s OK. I’d say a lot of other travelers have similar back stories.
I had mentioned before on the blog several ideas that tie into this piece, such as my thoughts on how Australia has killed the budget traveler in me. One thing I didn’t mention in that post was the whole aging aspect and how going shoe-string backpacker budget style just isn’t as exciting/enticing the older you get. Or what about my post on non-travel life musings where I talk about balancing travel and home life so that I’m not going from one extreme (high when traveling) to another (low when back home, missing out on friends’ events, and not being able to get a puppy).
On the last couple of trips abroad, I was actually looking forward to returning home to Sydney.
And I have been, this entire year, completely fine with the idea of hanging around at home.
I do believe I have a different outlook on travel these days, and different priorities. Travel takes a lot of time and energy, and constantly feeling tired, broke and like I’m not involved in other people’s lives year after year can be a bit depressing. Travel is a trade-off. Have wild and crazy life adventures but disconnect yourself from those in your home life. For example: I’ve missed my friend Lauren’s birthday party, engagement party, and sadly, her going away party in the last year because I was traveling at the time. Lame, right?
Whether or not it’s the 30 talking, I don’t know. What I do know is that I want a little bit more structure to my life right now than I had throughout my transient 20s. But I’m sure that whole novelty will wear off in a matter of months, and you’ll see me pining for more open-ended adventures in no time. That part of me will never fully disappear.
Oh wait, did I tell you that I’m going to Germany next month?
That will be the beginning of my 30s travel life. Where will it go from there? Your guess is as good as mine right now!