Monday, March 25, 2013

30 travel goals before turning 30: part 1

I stumbled upon this article from the Huffington Post the other day while I was on Twitter that highlighted 30 things travelers must do before they turn 30. Reading over the 30 travel goals brought back a lot of great memories for me (and I'm a sucker for lists and goals), so naturally I thought I would share these experiences with you all. Since the list is a little lengthy, I'm going to break it into two posts.

1. Jump off something
I once jumped off of a bridge. This bridge, to be exact:

I did a short study abroad program in Austria when I was in college and, one afternoon, the organizer of our group took us to a manmade lake that was near the town where we were staying. The bridge that  was on the opposite side of the lake from where we sat caught our eye and we quickly realized that people were jumping off of it. A number of us were intrigued and walked around the lake to get a closer look.

A bunch of local teenagers were doing the jumping and we decided to join in once we realized that it was fairly safe to do so. The girl I was with went first, seemingly effortlessly, and I was feeling pretty confident until I was swinging my legs over the handrail and trying to turn myself around on a thin lip of metal without prematurely falling off. I managed to get myself over and positioned before promptly second guessing my decision. There was an elderly Austrian woman standing nearby, watching everyone jump. Fear must have been etched all over my face because she leaned over and patted me reassuringly on my arm.

I realized that I probably wouldn't be able to turn myself around and get back over the handrail without losing my footing and falling, so the only option out of this situation was to jump. Once that logic sunk in, enough of the fear disappeared and I lept. I let out a scream, but when I stopped screaming I was still falling and it felt weird to be falling for long enough that your brain could understand that you were falling while you were falling instead of realizing it when you landed.

My body tilted a bit too forward during the fall and so the water smacked my chest pretty hard when I met the water, but the stinging sensation hardly put a damper on me feeling like a more adventurous person after the jump. It sounds kind of silly, but I really did feel like a different person after jumping off of that bridge in Austria. I felt as though I became more of who I truly was and someone who could embrace life more.

2. See one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
The author of the article claims that you don't have to have seen the more traditional wonders and that any wonders will do, so according to the lists of wonders compiled on Wikipedia, I've seen the Empire State Building, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Internet (wtf?), the Grand Canyon, and the Hoover Dam. Prior to my recent cross country road trip, I had only seen the Empire State Building and the Internet (again, wtf?).

3. Party in Las Vegas.
If you've been reading my blog for the last few months, you know that Jess and I visited Vegas a few months ago.

4. Take a vacation that isn't Spring Break.
I've taken many a vacation, so this one is an easy yes.

5. Attend at least one large celebration.
I've been racking my brain, trying to think if I've attended anything that could be considered a large celebration and I don't think I have. I haven't been to Mardi Gras or Oktoberfest or New Year's in Time Square. Maybe I'm just thinking too big and I'm overlooking something, but for now, I'm counting this as a no.

6. Hit up a nude beach.
This one I can give a definite no to, not because I have anything against it, but more because I haven't really sought one out or had an opportunity to go to one.

7. Spend several days with only what will fit in a backpack.
Hmm this is another one that's stumping me. I don't think I've done this for several days at a time.

8. Swim in the ocean.
I've swum in the Atlantic Ocean more times than I can count.

9. Sleep somewhere where you have to light a fire to stay warm.
Many, if not all, of the camping trips I've been on have involved huddling around a fire.

10. Do some sort of adrenaline sport.
I want to say yes to this, but just barely. When I was a pre-teen, I did some short lived, super easy mountain biking with my dad and brother and when I hiked Old Rag, I had to do a bit of rock climbing. I haven't done any rafting or surfing or true rock climbing though. So can I get a 50% on this one?

11. Hit up one of the Caribbean islands.
This is something I've wanted to do forever and haven't done yet. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can accomplish this before I turn 30.

12. Take one ultimate road trip.
Yes! Jess's and my epic 2013 cross country road trip!

13. Go somewhere alone.
Outside of traveling within the US by myself to see friends and family, I've flown to Europe twice by my lonesome: first to Austria and then to Prague. I've also traveled within the Czech Republic by myself. When I was in Europe, I did meet up with groups of people once I was there that I spent the majority of my time with, so I have a hard time saying that I went there alone. When I traveled to San Francisco for my job interview and apartment hunting trips, I was alone for the vast majority of those trips outside of interacting with my now coworkers. I think most people would qualify this as traveling alone, so I'm going with yes.

14. Take a train somewhere.
I'm hanging my head in shame: I've never taken a train before. Sure, I've taken the subway, but not a train train, like Amtrak. I really, really want to though, so this is another big one to check off before 30.

15. Go to a music festival.
Once upon a time, I was a pretty religious teenager. I attended youth group and sang in teen choir. I also went to some Christian music festivals. I hope to go to some secular music festivals in the near future so I no longer have to explain my Christian music festival experience when asked if I've ever attended a music festival.

So far, I'm 9.5 for 15. Stay tuned for my answers to the second half of the 30 goals (part two found here)!

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