30s Travel

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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.

My 30s.

30th Birthday

My 30th Birthday – Pat, me, Michael, Hannah, Lisa – photo by Michael Air.

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.

Cookie Cake! Photo by Hannah DeMilta.

Cookie Cake! Photo by Hannah DeMilta.

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.

Ok, maybe I would be thinking differently if I hadn’t been granted so many lucky travel experiences in the past few months (Carnival Cruise, Tasmania, Oman and Holland)!

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?

Yep.

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!

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About Brooke

Brooke is a passionate traveler who has a love for any country that ends in -stan, languages she'll never be able to speak, and cannoli. She is the creator of Aroamas travel perfume sticks and the female travel focused Her Packing List website. Follow on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

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18 Responses to 30s Travel

  1. Laurel June 14, 2013 at 3:19 am #

    Happy Belated Birthday! I agree you don’t look 30 and I love being in my 30s for all the reasons you’ve mentioned. In my 20s I might have felt pressured to “keep up” or be a nomad as many travel bloggers are, but in my 30s I know that I like having a base in Munich. For me a perfect balance is traveling about a week a month, enabling me to travel and have a life in Munich at the same time. It means that I might not get to as many places as other bloggers, but I’m fine with that. Let me know if you guys make it to Munich during your visit to Germany.

    • Brooke June 14, 2013 at 11:36 pm #

      Thanks Laurel! We’re still not sure of our itinerary yet for Germany but I will let you know if Munich makes the list :)

  2. Sam June 14, 2013 at 11:40 pm #

    An excellent post, and one I can related to a bit…as I creep towards 30 I have started to notice that shift away from always wanting to be on the move, and getting everything done cheap so I can go do more. But you’re right the need to go experience something new is never going to completely leave, it’s just how we experience it that will change with age (and the extra money)! I can’t wait to head to Germany myself, hope you have a great time!

  3. Tash June 15, 2013 at 1:30 am #

    Ahhh, sounds like just the right about of musing for someone starting their 30s!
    Happy Birthday!

  4. Lauren June 18, 2013 at 4:56 pm #

    I’m so sad I missed that cookie cake…This is a great post. It’s good that you are very self-aware about going into your 30s because it will help you make the most of them. Even if that means you sit home one night instead of going to a party just because you feel like it. Those are the sort of decisions you stop feeling guilty about in your 30s.

    Oh, and I’ll miss you.

  5. Caz Makepeace June 18, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

    Oh yes! Totally understand all this. I think the 20′s are for searching and discovering and the 30′s for settling into who you really are. That’s why the 30′s are so awesome. You feel like you can just be who you want to be now. And I agree you certainly are tired of the whole budget/backpacker style of travel.

  6. Scott Marquardt June 27, 2013 at 8:44 am #

    Great post, at 32 and traveling the world I can totally relate. I actually didn’t do much backpacking in my 20s so I’m experiencing it for the first time in my 30s! It’s fun but I agree it can get a bit tiresome.

  7. SIXVASER July 3, 2013 at 1:23 am #

    As a fellow 30+er, I feel your pain and enlightenment. Your right about how your mindset changes after you reach this milestone. The novelty does wear off and it becomes a blessing, even though most of the other world travelers you will meet will be younger than you.

  8. Victor Tribunsky July 10, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

    I am 50 and I like it more then my 20′s. Good luck to you, young girl. :-)

  9. Melissa July 25, 2013 at 8:57 am #

    Welcome to your 30s! Having just hit 31, I completely relate to this post. I recently struggled with these very thoughts on a trip to Portugal when my friends and I ran into the 20-something versions of ourselves. While I haven’t been a full-time traveler, I’ve lived abroad twice, traveling almost as much as staying “home.” Now I find that I like to spend a longer period of time in one place and explore it in more detail. I also no longer look for the best value hostel in town, choosing to stay at budget hotels or apartments. I’m good with that. It’s a new stage of life, and I think we should embrace that. But of course, the travel bug will never die! By the way, I’m new to your blog and love it. :o}

  10. Ross August 27, 2013 at 12:12 pm #

    I can definitely relate to what you are saying as I have just passed that landmark. You put it very well and yes my back does hurt after a day of travelling too! Im not a full time traveller but have done lots of travelling but I have noticed that although I definitely don’t stay in luxury now I am not scraping the pennies together either when I’m on holidays like I was a few years ago. If the tour looks good I’ll do it no matter what the cost rather than looking at the cost as the priority item. Its not something you notice at the time but on greater reflection when entering another decade it becomes obvious.
    I hope they are right about the thirties! Happy belated birthday

  11. Ryan August 27, 2013 at 8:42 pm #

    Brooke! I haven’t been on here for far too long. Refreshing new layout! I dig it.

    As far as turning 30, you are only as old as you want to be! I am 25 this year and I haven’t done much thought about being a quarter century old…because on the verge of my trip to Southeast Asia, I feel more vitality and youth than my stressful teens.

    Your 20′s are meant to be stumbled through and unknown, because it is the largest period of growth for our hearts, minds, and souls coming out of teenhood to adulthood. But adulthood doesnt have to mean anything specific, or mean that you have to be leass fun and adventurous. It just means that your goals and dreams are beginning to align, and you are honing in more accurately as to how to get there!

    May more adventures follow when you become 30 years young!

  12. Tara August 31, 2013 at 8:32 pm #

    Congrats on thirty! I reached a milestone myself, (50), and celebrated by exploring India. At this stage of life, I don’t have to go budget, and I enjoyed every luxurious minute of it! I believe you are right, that the older we get, the more we should go a bit easier on ourselves if the budget allows. Also, you are so wise to protect your skin from the sun. If you think it helps now, just wait a couple of decades! It pays off big by my age! Cheers!

  13. vira September 15, 2013 at 1:24 pm #

    I guess this is a very late response to the post, but.. Happy 30th birthday, Brooke! Welcome to the 30′s. It’s been awesome to many, including moi :D
    and yes, I so agree about the back ache and stuff, and I’m aware of my need to stay at more comfortable accommodations than I used to :))

    enjoy the decade..!

  14. Sonya B October 15, 2013 at 4:27 pm #

    Happy birthday. The 30s are, in my opinion, way better than the 20s, with travel and everything else. You know what you’re doing, you know what you like, and you can maximize the best things and let the little things go, having had the practice.

  15. Arianwen October 22, 2013 at 1:18 am #

    You’re four days older than me! I hated the fact that I’d turned 30, but I think it’s more about your frame of mind than anything else. I was backpacking in S America last year and hanging out with loads of people younger than me. I just acted like I was their age! It’s tougher in Sydney though. Being on a working holiday visa when you have a solid career behind you is a bitter pill to swallow. A lot of the decent jobs don’t want someone who’s only allowed to be there 6 months (understandably) and sometimes I wonder if I wouldn’t have been better off saving back home and just coming here on holiday!

  16. Luke November 17, 2013 at 8:03 am #

    Nice thoughts. They echo some of my own, I’m in the final stretch of my twenties, have had quite a packed your of penny pinching freelancing, and am looking forward to spending some time over the holidays with my family and putting everything, hopes, dreams, realities, on the table and heading down a path where travel, while still important, won’t put the immediacy of life in the backseat.

  17. Brittany December 22, 2013 at 11:36 pm #

    This was great. I recently turned the big 30 and I can completely relate. People keep saying 30 is so young. I keep telling myself that!

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