Sunday, August 16, 2015

30 before 30: a recap

It's been a while since I turned 30 - mind you, I'm closer to 31 than 30 right now. But because I hadn't blogged yet about everything I did before turning 30, I kept postponing this recap post. I am finally done with the series of posts about all the new places I visited before hitting the big 3-0, so it is high time for a round up.

In April 2013, exactly 18 months before I turned 30, I decided to take up this challenge of visiting 30 new places before my 30th birthday. I wasn't too strict with myself and didn't set any tight set of rules. The only guideline would be to only include places I had never been to before. Like, never before. It didn't matter whether they were big cities or small villages, impressive national parks or underrated green areas, whether they were round the corner where I lived or in a new country waiting to be discovered.

So, ten months after turning 30, what happened to my 30 before 30 challenge?

Well, I didn't make it to 30 new places but I did see a good total of 19 cities and towns and visited (and lived) in a country I had never been before. Ireland, that's it. You can find the complete list below and read some about the places I visited during the last year and half of my twenties.

Bray (Ireland)
Breda (the Netherlands)
Colmar (France)
Delft (the Netherlands)
Domodossola (Italy)
Dublin (Ireland)
Dún Laoghaire (Ireland)
Eupen (Belgium)
Frankfurt-am-Main (Germany)
Greystones (Ireland)
Hasselt (Belgium)
Howth (Ireland)
Knokke-Heiss (Belgium)
Lago Maggiore (Italy/Switzerland)
Leiden (the Netherlands)
Locarno (Switzerland)
Maynooth (Ireland)
Meiringen (Switzerland)
Re (Italy)

I am more than happy that I took this challenge as a chance to explore my surroundings and discover some charming places and some more places which can be easily forgotten.

The absolute highlight would be Dublin. It was love at first sight and despite the cold and rainy days, I really enjoyed living there. And together with Dublin come the quiet coast towns not far from Dublin bay, including Dún Laoghaire and Howth.

A close second is Lago Maggiore. I was mesmerised by those misty views and this is a place I would love to explore in more detail.

And a great find was the city of Leiden in the Netherlands. There is obviously a reason why it is a must for most travel guides to the Netherlands and is because Leiden is a gem of a city. Somehow a lot like Amsterdam but lovelier if possible.

That was my 30 before 30 challenge and what am I up to now? Some people carry on with a 40 before 40 but I don't think I will do that. Even though I would have a big advantage on that one having a whole decade to travel and not only 18 months. With BabyGirl in our lives - and who knows when a sibling may come along - the carefree ears are over. But that does not mean that the travel years are over. I love traveling and it will probably remain a priority for me, only that most travel will involve either Tenerife or Malaga for a while now. And hopefully Ireland from time to time as well. After all, BabyGirl still has a 25% of Irishness on her gene pool.

I would love to visit at least one new country each year, though. I could make that my challenge but I don't think I will visit any new country this year (time is ticking already) and that wouldn't be a promising start. I think the main challenge from now on will be to figure out how to keep on traveling with a baby on board. I think that seeing the world with a baby on board is a whole new experience on its own. So forget about new countries and undiscovered cities, it is time to rediscover the world through a new pair of eyes. And I can't wait to start!

What's on your travel backlist? Any particular goals or challenges?

Have a lovely Sunday!

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