At the start of 2016, I managed to complete a challenge I had set myself back in 2012.
What is this travel challenge?
The ‘30 before 30 Challenge’ is a simple challenge I set myself to visit 30 countries before hitting the age of 30 years old. It’s not even a tough challenge with the amount of countries on my doorstep in Europe. It’s an achievable and realistic goal I set myself to keep to motivated to see more and do more.
I have mentioned it before on here that I am not in to ticking off countries for the sake of just ticking off a country. I’d probably be on more than 30 countries if that was the case. You don’t gain anything from just visiting a border to get a stamp in your passport. Whilst in Buenos Aires, Argentina I had the opportunity to get the boat over to Uruguay, which would have been amazing. However because of time, it would have only left me with a couple of hours in the country. It didn’t seem worth it just to say I had been to Uruguay. Don’t be a just a country ticker. And don’t be friends who count layovers in airports as visiting a country.
Why did I have to challenge myself to travel more?
I needed to start pushing and challenging myself again when it came to travelling or going on holiday. I needed motivation. I had got to the point were I had visited a country and completely loved the place – so continued to visit the same place over and over. I had visited America six times, Mexico three times, Greece four times and Thailand three times.
I still had the curiosity to visit new places. I just needed a little bit of motivation to have adventures in new places.
Everyone who has been travelling for longer than a few months will know there are times when you are ready to stop living out of a backpack and not move around so much. I had this moment at the end of 4 months away and was Thailand. I had just over a week to go and the plan was to either go to Siem Reap or to stay on an island in Thailand. Thailand was the easy and comfy option. The thought of another long day squeezed in the back of a minibus and waiting in line for a visa just didn’t sound at all appealing. Certainly not something I wanted to be doing at the end of a 4-month adventure moving from place to place and never really settling in a city or island for long than a few days.
But after talking about it to my friend we realised that we might not have the opportunity again to visit Cambodia and we needed to stop being so pathetically whiney and get our bus booked to Cambodia.
Looking back, I am so glad that I decided to do this. Not to just tick off another country that I visited. But to see how amazing Cambodia was and to ignite that spark again to take advantage of being so close to new places.
It made me realize that I needed to keep challenging myself. I needed that excitement of a new place.
What’s next with my travel challenges?
I managed to hit 30 countries at the start of 2016 at the age of 28. I now need new challenges. I don’t want to keep doing 40 before 40 and so on, as one new country a year is still pretty safe. Now I am in America I suppose I could see how many states I could visit. At the moment I have been to 11.
If you have any travel challenges yourself or if you have any cool ideas for my next travel challenge; please let me know!