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, UK; Hot 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)?