At the age of 24 (almost 25), I think I waited a little too late to achieve the well-known 30 before 30 travel goal. A little over 5 years to go and I am only at 8 countries, soon to be 9. At this rate, I would need to get to 4 or 5 countries a year, every year, for the next 5 years. Now if I lived somewhere in Europe and could easily take weekend trips to new countries this wouldn't be such a problem. But living in the U.S., any trip out of the country needs to be at least a week long just to make it worth the trip. Unfortunately, I'm not blessed with a job that gives me 5 weeks paid vacation a year to do this (and I don't make enough to do that even if I could get the time off).
Therefore, I've decided to modify my 30 before 30 challenge, and my new goal is the reach 30 countries and/or states by age 30. In America, going to a new state can take just as long as going to a new country, I could only get to California (on the complete other side of the country) 3 hours faster than I could get to Europe! And once you are in a new state, you can sometimes feel like you're in a totally different country anyways! I think that this new challenge is MUCH more attainable and will motivate me to spend more time in the U.S. exploring everything that we have to offer!
Now that my new challenge has been established, let's see where adding the states puts me:
Countries - 9
Vatican City (whether or not this counts a country is still up for debate among us country counters)
Canada - coming March 2018
States - 15
District of Columbia (not technically a state, but our capital district)
24! Okay, I think I can manage 6 new places in 5 years, and if not then I am not a very good traveler. Technically, I have been to more states than this from traveling with volleyball, but I only count the state if I got to do something outside of being in a gym (but if I get desperate and need to count those, go ahead and add Pennsylvania, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin).
So what's next? Well, there's so many places that I want to go (check my wish list), but a lot of those probably aren't going to happen in the next 5 years unless I stumble into a lot of money and an online job. In the U.S., I'd love to do a trip out west and hit up some spots like the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, and Horseshoe Bend. I want to go down south to somewhere like Savannah, Georgia or New Orleans. And I really want to go to Yellowstone National Park. Soon, I'm going to start planning a honeymoon to Hawaii (any island recommendations?) Abroad, I think Iceland is realistic. A cruise to the Caribbean or Mexico would also help me knock off some countries.
There are still SO many places on my list and even though I'm not going to get to them all by the time I'm 30, that's okay. I'd rather spread my trips out and take my time then try to cram them all in and be traveling just to reach a number. And who knows, maybe I'll hit 40 by 40 :)
What do you think about my modified 30 by 30 challenge? Let me know in the comments!