40…before I’m 30

Lonely PlanetI think it was on my honeymoon that I discovered I loved travelling. As a kid I had mostly visited Mallorca with my family and by the time I turned 18 I had only visited the Spanish island and a couple of other places. I loved long summer holidays in my family’s apartment and the gorgeous Puerto D’Andratx. Soon after I finished University and having a little more money to play with I visited South Korea and a good friend who was living there for a year. It opened my eyes to another world and planted a seed of possibility of seeing the world. But it was on my honeymoon starring across Norwegian fjords and seeing such beauty that I really felt like I wanted to see more.

At that point dreams of other places bubbled away. Some adventures were planned with friends across the Middle East and many exotic places were discussed as exciting holiday ideas. At some point on the way (I cant remember when) I said to my wife that I wanted to set myself a target of visiting 40 countries before I turned 30. I remember at the time that it looked impossible as I had visited around 20 countries and only had a few years left.

At first I tried to add in some extra countries, like Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland or Mallorca and Spain. However I felt like I should only count them as the UK or Spain, making it look like I wouldn’t hit my target. At times the aim of visiting 40 countries became a bit obsessive and I scrambled to visit extra places to add them to the list. Like hiring a car to drive to Andorra for the day. But I have realised that really my travels feel much more fulfilling when I can actually embrace a place and draw from the life found there rather just adding it to a list.

The last year has had an unexpected work trip to Serbia, a weekend break in Slovenia to watch the biathlon world cup, a day trip to Brazil to see Iguazu Falls, as well as planned holidays and now I am starring down the barrel of a flight to Turkey tomorrow which will be country number 40! I am very excited as it will be just over a month until I turn 30 years old!!

I have loved the journeys to foreign lands and I feel I have learnt a lot and experienced many wonderful places. Each one has opened up a new way of seeing the world. Though once I have hit 40 it is not an end point, I have a long list of other countries I would love to visit! Many more people to meet, food to try, photos to take, passport stamps to gain and life to live. Good times.