Another (Dear God, Another) Year Older

by Brenna Holeman

Screen Shot 2014-05-04 at 23.18.56

Clockwise from top left: With fellow bloggers/coworkers in Newcastle, UK; Living in London, UK; With my sister Zalie in Vienna, Austria; Dressing up with friends in London, UKHot dogs and beer, my two favourite things in Berlin, Germany; Dancing the night away in Tel Aviv, Israel; A chilly day by the seaside in Sopot, Poland; Playing with kids in the Okavango Delta of Botswana; In the Okavango Delta of Botswana

I’ve never been that person who cares a lot about birthdays, who plans parties months in advance and expects to be lavished with gifts and messages. This birthday, though? This one feels different. It’s a big one, after all. And while I did indeed plan a party, I don’t expect any gifts (although I’m asking my friends to donate £5 each toward my charity of choice if they attend said party).

It’s become a bit of a tradition for me to post something on my birthday every year; even though it doesn’t really feel like my style anymore, I thought I had better not break tradition. After all, turning 26 was pretty good. Turning 27 was even better. By the time I was 28 I was loving my late 20s. After turning 29 my year was a challenging one in many regards, but the challenges led to exactly the kind of life I want to be living: happy and fulfilled.

I rang in my 29th year in London at a bar just down the street from where I now live. The year included a trip to Israel to see my sister, a summer in Canada, and a big move to London. I started a Master’s degree in writing, and learned more than I thought I ever would. I was hired by a travel company I respect, one that gives me a lot of freedom and, in turn, respects me. I attended multiple travel industry conferences, and met dozens of amazing, inspiring, intelligent people. I got to visit Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Portugal, Poland, South Africa, Botswana, and Zambia, as well as a few travels around the UK (Henley, Leeds, and Newcastle, to name a few). I even got back into dating, with often hilarious results. All in all it was a busy year; sometimes it was difficult and overwhelming, but above all else it was educational, eye-opening, and a lot of bloody fun. I’ve been incredibly lucky to have spent my birthdays in Amsterdam, Mexico City, Edinburgh, Koyasan, Tokyo, Luang Prabang, the jungles of Belize, and London, and today I’ll spend it in the countryside of Kent with two of my closest friends.

So, what’s next for my 30s? A lot more work, a lot more writing, a new flat, and a lot more exploration of life in London. Trips to Italy, Albania, Canada, Greece, Israel, Jordan, and possibly Namibia or Malawi or Mozambique. I’m going to live my 30s just like I lived the best years of my 20s (which were the past four years): totally open-minded, totally laid-back, and totally ready for anything. Here’s to the next adventure.


The scan my mum sent me today: one week before I was born, the day I was born, and a few months later. 

Do you like birthdays? How have you felt when you’ve passed a “milestone” birthday (16, 21, 30, etc)? 

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Victoria May 5, 2014 - 11:10 am

Aw, happy birthday Brenna! Love your attitude to life and looking forward to reading those dating posts 🙂

Brenna Holeman May 6, 2014 - 12:25 am

Thank you, lovely! Don’t worry, I’ll write a few tell-alls soon 😉

Lili May 5, 2014 - 12:37 pm
I was reading your old posts and suddenly… How time flies !
Happy birthday 😀

Brenna Holeman May 6, 2014 - 12:23 am

Oh. My. GOD!!! 22! Wow. I always forget how long I’ve been blogging, ha ha. Thank you for sharing this with me, it put a huge smile on my face!

Helen May 5, 2014 - 1:01 pm

Happy Birthday you lovely lady! Hope you have a wonderful day!!!!

Looking forward to following your next adventures! xxx

Brenna Holeman May 6, 2014 - 12:23 am

Thank you so much, Helen! The day was wonderful. Can’t wait to see you soon. xxxx

Katie @ Domestiphobia May 5, 2014 - 1:11 pm

Happy birthday, Brenna! I love that last shot. It looks like you’re eyeballin’ the binoculars — a little foreshadowing of what’s to come. 😉

Brenna Holeman May 6, 2014 - 12:25 am

Ha ha well spotted! Thanks a lot, Katie.

Jonathan May 5, 2014 - 8:58 pm

I think you are the first person I’ve known to share my birthday!!!
Your plans for the year look amazing and I hope you keep blogging.
Happy Birthday 🙂 x

Brenna Holeman May 6, 2014 - 12:26 am

Happy Birthday to you, too! I actually know six other people with my birthday, it seems to be a popular one in my circles. Thanks for the well wishes!

Emeline Guerrini May 5, 2014 - 10:22 pm

Happy birthday Brenna!
Keep on living an happy, joyful and positive life! it brings light to the world!
lots of love on your special day!

Brenna Holeman May 6, 2014 - 12:24 am

Thank you so much, Emeline! I had a great day, I hope it’s an indication of the year to come.

Jacquie May 6, 2014 - 9:39 pm

Happiest of Birthdays to you, Miss Brenna! My online travel inspiration 🙂

It gives me confidence and motivation when I hear that people were much happier in their late 20s than their early 20s. I’m turning 27 in July and recently I’ve felt much more in control of my life, and less like an angsty girl with no sense of direction. It feels SO good, and lessens the blow of turning another year older.

Brenna Holeman May 7, 2014 - 1:05 am

Thank you so much, Jacquie! Enjoy your late 20s, they were the best years of my life to date.

Marcela Navarro May 7, 2014 - 4:33 pm

Hi Brenna,
Reading your blog, especially this one, makes me realice that, when you do what you love, amazing things happen!
To the next adventure! 🙂

Brenna Holeman May 8, 2014 - 12:30 am

That’s a great comment! Thanks a lot, Marcela.

Olivia May 8, 2014 - 12:41 pm

Happy Birthday! Looking forward to your posts about dating in London, maybe I can live vicariously through you since I have a boyfriend in London 😉

Which part of London do you live in?

Brenna Holeman May 8, 2014 - 3:12 pm

Trust me, with some of the stories I have, you wouldn’t want to live vicariously through me. 😉

I live in East London! Thanks for the birthday wishes…

Victoria May 9, 2014 - 1:37 pm

beautiful! i hope my 30th rings in the same way 🙂

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