My 30 Things to do by 30

I turned 27 years old on December 18th. I know that age is just a number, and that 27 is far from being considered old. I know this. But every time a birthday comes around, I feel a little bit of dread. As a nurse I have cared for sickly 30-something year olds, as well as healthy and active people in their 80s. Age does not define someones quality of life or importance.

me dec 18

Exploring Winthrop, WA on my 27th Birthday

When I was a kid and was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up the answer was simple, “a teenager.” I couldn’t wait until I was a cool teenager. Soon I was an awkward 13 year old and I realized it was not all it was cracked up to be. Time for a new dream.

I started college when I was 16, so I was use to being the youngest in my class. When I was in nursing school I couldn’t wait until I turned 21 so I could go out with all my classmates. But when I turned 21, it wasn’t what I thought it would be. My weekdays were full of class, clinicals and writing papers. On weekends I worked night shift at a nursing home as a LPN (licensed practical nurse) where I was in charge of up to 50 patients. Not exactly what I imaged it would be.

On my way to Uganda in 2012 (first trip abroad!)

A trip to Uganda at the age of 22 changed something inside me. It stirred up this burning desire to travel the world. A desire I didn’t really know I had. The wanderlust consumed all my thoughts. Suddenly I was dreaming of visiting places I didn’t even know existed.

The next great milestone was 25; when I would finally be able to rent a car on my own. I rented a car a few months after my 25th birthday, when my sister and I went to Georgia to see our brother graduate bootcamp, and to spend time with another sister who lives there. It did feel gratifying when I picked up the rental car in Atlanta, but I quickly realized I hate driving in a city I don’t know. It’s nice to know I can, but I am so grateful to have a husband who is a better driver than I (not like I would ever tell him that though 😉 )

Sunset on River Street in Savannah, Georgia

It’s only been as I have gotten older, when we have a little more financial freedom, that we have been doing what we want. Living life the way we want to, instead of doing what “we’re suppose to.” I know I shouldn’t be afraid of getting older…but I am.

I’m afraid that if I don’t start seizing the moments, years will pass. I remember starting college like it was yesterday, but suddenly it was more than 10 years ago. I don’t want time to pass me by any longer.

do not regret growing olderI decided to write a list of 30 things that I want to have accomplished by the time I am 30. There are more important achievements that I have done; such as getting married or graduating college. But I tried to include mostly travel goals that I am hoping to accomplish or have recently accomplished. Yes, I have included some tasks I have already done. Am I the only one who adds things to a list that I have already done? No?

 I have included personal goals, as well as some professional goals as it relates to being a nurse, photographer and blogger.

snorkeling in thailand

Snorkeling in Koh Lanta, Thailand

30. Backpack Southeast Asia (March-April 2015)

2.5 weeks in Southeast Asia wasn’t nearly enough time, but it opened me up to a whole new world of travel. I learned that travel didn’t have to be crazy expensive. I didn’t need to stay in fancy places. It was okay to be a sweaty, make-up free, chubby girl in shorts. Nobody was judging me, except myself. And suddenly, I stopped judging myself too. I was a girl on an adventure. This was the biggest trip I had ever planned, and it gave me the confidence to know that the world was my oyster. I am capable of traveling wherever I desire to. We traveled to Hong Kong, Macau, Thailand and spent one night in Kuala Lumpur , Malaysia.

29. See a Broadway play (Sept 2016) 

Childhood dreams do come true! We saw The Lion King on Broadway. I have wanted to see The Lion King since I first heard that it was a play. When the cast finished The Circle of Life I had to hold it together. It was as magical as I had dreamed!

28. See the Statue of Liberty (Sept 2016)

This was more overwhelming than I thought it would be! Seeing the Statue of Liberty up close was surreal. But the really special moment was standing in the hall of arrivals on Ellis Island. I got chills suddenly and goosebumps on my arms. I imagined my ancestors who had passed through that very hall when they came from England, Germany and Denmark. I imagined the fear and joy each person must have felt. They were so close to a new life, a better life.

27. Celebrate Oktoberfest in Munich (Sept 2016) 

This was honestly one of the coolest moments of my life! Standing on a bench, beer in hand and loudly singing German songs with thousands of other people. The solidarity that I felt in that moment was overwhelming. We knew when we visited Germany that the country had recently experienced some terrorist events. We had heard from many people that Oktoberfest was much smaller than it had been in previous years, because of fear. But we, and the thousands of other people standing on their bench, beer in hand, made a decision to not live in fear and to live. 

26. See an Elephant in the Wild (April 2012)

On a bus heading to Arua in northern Uganda I had my eyes peeled the whole time wishing to see an elephant. When I finally saw one in the distance, I teared up! It was such a brief moment though, so I would love to get a more close up experience.

–> For more info on how to have an ethical elephant experience up close,  I really enjoyed this post by Hannah at Eat Sleep Breathe Travel who shared about her time at an elephant sanctuary in Laos.

25. See the Northern Lights (March 2016)

We visited Iceland towards the end of February to early March. We spent 1 week exploring Reykjavík and the southern coast of Iceland. I hadn’t really realized how unlikely it would be that we would see the Northern Lights when we visited. I thought that because we were so far north it would be a nightly occurrence. Nope! Thankfully the weather and Aurora activity finally lined up on our last night in Iceland and we saw the Northern Lights! It was an amazing moment.

24. See the Eiffel Tower at Night (Sept 2016)

If you’re a country music fan, you may recognize these last 2 goals are part of Thomas Rhetts’ song Die A Happy Man. The point of the song was that he didn’t need to see the Northern lights or the Eiffel Tower at night as long as he had his woman. Jake and I took it as a bit of a challenge though and made it a point to do both this year.

I realize most people would say we didn’t maximize our time in Paris . But we experienced Paris the way and at the pace that we wanted to. We ended up going to the Eiffel Tower 3 separate times over our 3 days in Paris. My favorite though, was when we got to see it shining at night.

Eiffel Tower night

The Eiffel Tower at Night (Sept 2016)

23. Go Skydiving

Thankfully we live 3 miles from a skydiving site! Skydive Toledo is in our amazing tiny town in Washington. On a clear day jumpers can get a view of both Mt St Helens and Mt Rainier! All I need to do is gather up some courage and I can easily cross this one off the list.

22. Sell a photograph

Since was started traveling, photography has become a growing passion for me. I shoot with my Canon EOS Rebel T6 Digital SLR Camera and absolutely love it! I have made money from real estate photography, but I would like to start making a little money from my travel photography.

21. Have an income from blogging

As much as I enjoy blogging, it’s a lot of work. I would like for it to become more than a hobby in the next few years.

20. Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Honestly, I would settle with just seeing Machu Picchu. I learned in Flagstaff, Arizona that high altitude doesn’t particularly agree with me well. When the time comes we may opt to take the train instead, depending on how fit we are.

Moai on Easter Island, Chile

19. See the Moai on Easter Island, Chile

My college capstone paper was about the Moai and how the construction of these large sculptures, in a way, lead to the destruction and near extinction of the Rapa Nui people. Easter Island is the most remote place in the world but can be reached by direct flight from Tahiti or Santiago, Chile.

–> For more info on how amazing Easter Island is, I really enjoyed this post by Travel? Yes Please on 4 Days in Easter Island – A Self Guided Tour of Rapa Nui.

18. See a kangaroo in the wild in Australia

This is kind of a double wish. Just visiting Australia would be amazing, but I have a newfound fascination with kangaroos after watching The Kangaroo King by National Geographic. Kangaroos are such adaptive and interesting animals, it would be amazing to see one in its natural habitat.

17. Finish my BSN

I only have 1 more 6 month term before I can complete my Bachelors of Science in Nursing. I have put it off for too long! A whole  world of nursing will open to me when I have my bachelors degree. I could be a nurse for life flight, go to school for Nurse Practitioner or Nurse Anesthetist. Or I could just stay put as an ICU nurse and have a little more job security and a pay raise.

16. Bungee Jumping

This is another goal I could easily cross off the list if I have a little courage. Bungee Masters, Inc is in nearby Amboy, Washington and is priced pretty well at $107 for a jump.

15. Camp in the middle of nowhere

I have never actually done an overnight hike before! We were seriously contemplating hiking the Appalachian Trail next year and I haven’t even braved a night in the woods. We have already started making plans for hikes that we want to do next summer in the Pacific Northwest.

iceland ring road

We traveled the southern portion of the Ring Road (March 2016)

14. Drive a camper van around the Ring Road in Iceland

By drive, clearly I mean be a passenger. I will leave the driving to Jake. We got a taste of Iceland this year when we visited Reykjavík for 4 nights and road tripped along the southern coast for 3 days. We saw a bunch of camper vans when we were in more rural Iceland and I was insanely jealous.

13. Become fluent in Spanish

I took Spanish in high school and 2 quarters in college. When I have a Spanish-speaking patient at work we can get by with my basic Spanish for easy conversations. I really want to be fluent though, it would be so useful as a nurse and as a traveler. I have been practicing with my iPhone app Duolingo, which has helped. I am probably going to just buckle down and get Rosetta Stone Spanish though since it seems the most comprehensive.

12. Cross-country USA road trip

I would love to road trip from coast to coast! It would give me the opportunity to see the midwestern states and places that I may not otherwise go.

11. Have a post that goes viral

mt st helens WA

Mount St Helens, Washington

10. Summit Mount St. Helens

There are bigger and badder mountains out there, but this is my mountain. It is an hour from where we live and it’s what gives me butterflies in my stomach when the sky is clear and I can see it driving home.

9. Do a Polar Bear Plunge

A polar bear plunge is when you run into freezing cold water to ring in the New Year. Doesn’t that sound exhilarating?! No? I can’t seem to find anyone else crazy enough to do this with me. Seattle has a polar bear plunge that I say every year I want to do. The problem would be where to change into warm and dry clothes after the event.

8. Grow my Instagram to over 50,000 Followers

Getting followers on social media may seem like a passive thing, but people who blog know how much work is involved! Having a large following on social media gives a blogger credibility, as well as opens their blog to more viewers. Instagram is my favorite social media, so it’s the one I am working hard on growing right now. I currently have 6,300 followers so I definitely have some work to do! You can follow us on Instagram here –> Dailey Adventurers.

7. Run a 5K


6. Go scuba diving

Orca Island

Orcas Island, San Juan Islands, Washington

5. See an Orca Whale in the wild

We can easily see them from one of our favorite places- on Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands, Washington. I always thought Orca Whales were interesting, but it wasn’t until I saw the documentary Blackfish that I really started to appreciate them for their intelligence and incredible teamwork. If you want to see Blackfish you can watch it on Netflix.

4. Hike a section of the Great Wall of China

Many people who see the Great Wall of China view the same point. I think it would be incredible to hike a section of it and spend the night in a watchtower, like this tour by the Great Wall Adventure Club.

3. Go Dog-Sledding

Jake and I are both big dog lovers, so this would be an amazing experience! Dogs that pull dog sleds live for pulling the sleds. They actually enjoy it, and if done correctly it does not pose any harm to the animals.

2. Visit 30 States by 30

I have been to 16 states so far. 3 of those states were very briefly (AL, SC and CO) so I would like to return to them and have a more in-depth experience. I have been to Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Montana, Nevada, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

1. Become a Mom (Birth or Adoption)

There is a preconceived notion that having a family means that you can’t travel or do adventurous things. I’m  not naive, of course it changes the way people travel. Things aren’t as spontaneous, destinations may be different based on safety, ease of travel, long flights, etc. Choice of accommodations may change.

If only I had a dollar for every time I heard “travel now, because once you have kids it all changes and you won’t be able to.” I’m sure people mean well by this comment. But it’s just not true. I know, I can’t speak from personal experience yet.  I have seen a hundred blogs of people who travel with the baby, toddlers or older children. Barefoot Blonde has a great post on traveling with a baby.

When we were in Hong Kong we met an Argentinian couple who were traveling China and Hong Kong for 3 weeks. She was 4 months pregnant! I am always in awe of the super moms I see on planes who manage to help their toddler to the bathroom while balancing a baby wrapped to their chest. Traveling is definitely not the easiest, but they make it work and I can only imagine their children are all the better for it.

**There are affiliative links in this post, which means I may make a small commission if you make a purchase through them. I don’t recommend something based on this, and will only recommend things I try or am going to try myself!***


So that’s it! The 30 things I would like to accomplish by the time I am 30 years old. I have 2 years and 362 days to make it happen 😉 I will keep you updated as I go, and I am excited to have some goals that I can work towards.

Do you have a bucket list, or goals that you are working towards? Let me know what dreams you have of accomplishing! 




4 thoughts on “My 30 Things to do by 30

  1. These are all great goals to have. I think you could knock off your overnight camping trip by hiking the Inca Trail as that was one of my favourite parts of this trip when I did it a few years ago. Also, your 30s will see more responsibilities thrown at you – career, Mortgage, and family mainly. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy life! Just need to readjust your priorities when you hit the big 3-0!

    As for my Bucket List, I would like to achieve the following before I turn 40 (2020):
    (1.) Visit Southeast Asia
    (2.) Get PADI Certified
    (3.) Go to the Kentucky Derby
    (4.) Attend either Euro Cup 2020 or the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics
    (5.) Visit 30 countries (I’m at 23 right now)
    Ray recently posted…Chicago’s Off-the-Beaten-Path Attractions – Chicago Sports MuseumMy Profile

  2. These kind of posts are my favourite! I love seeing what people aspire to achieve and whether or not they manage to make it! I’m 24 now and have a similar 25 before 25 list (my 18th and 21st weren’t big deals so I’m claiming 25!!!) but nowhere near as adventurous as yours. One of my goals is to learn how to make poached eggs – not quite the Inca Trail haha! 100% with you on the children thing! While they’re not on the agenda for me for the next few years at least I can 100% say that a child will not stop me travelling. In fact, it’d probably make me more eager to see the world and take them along for the ride!
    Rhiannon recently posted…Montenegro, Will You Marry Me?My Profile

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