I remember a time when I thought being in my 30s was old.
Heck, I remember being 17 and mocking my sister when she turned 20, so to now be on the cusp of my 40s and thinking back on the past decade is still a little surreal.
A decade ago (gosh I feel absolutely ancient typing that) I wrote a post before about 5 trips you need to take in your 20s that I’m still quite fond of and stand by. In that time since, I’ve travelled some, experienced more and learned a few things along the way. So even though my muscles ache more after long haul transits and I sadly don’t qualify for European-youth discounts anymore, I don’t see my love for travel changing anytime soon.
So with this birthday being the last year I can introduce myself as a 30-something, here’s that requisite reflection post on the last decade or so and some advice I can impart as a slightly-older traveller.
Your travel style can and will change
Just because you started off as an intrepid backpacker doesn’t mean you always have to be one if the convenience of tour packages starts to be more appealing! Or maybe you’ve always loved solo travel but find yourself getting a bit lonely nowadays and need a travel companion, that’s fine too.
I think it’s easy to get hung up on a label or an identity you’ve created for yourself and feel like you have to live up to it, but your travel style will evolve as you grow, just go with it and see what new adventures come your way. As long as it makes you happy~
Don’t skimp on what’s important to you
Hopefully in your 30s you have a bit more spending power compared to your 20s. Money may not be everything, but it can make your life a bit easier, which results in a more enjoyable experience and is something I value now that I’m older. I’m pretty unlikely to return to those budget backpacking days and shacking up in a cheap dormitory room as I’m happy to fork out a bit more for privacy and a good view these days.
It’s not about being more of a spendthrift, but knowing that some hardships just aren’t worth those pennies pinched.
Leave some room to breathe
As an Occasional Traveller, I am very much about maximising my travel time and making the most of my trips – I like booking everything in advance which is great for saving money and peace of mind on the trip, but also means pretty strict schedules. It sometimes felt like I needed another holiday to recover from the trip I just took.
These days travel planning is a more relaxed affair. I still like booking all my flights and accommodation in advance, but I’m less hung up about following an exact itinerary or maximising my day. I’m more confident that I’ll somehow find something to do while I’m on my trip even if I don’t end up venturing far from my doorstep, and that taking the time for a much-needed nap on a holiday isn’t ‘wasting time’ but making sure I’m good to keep going.
Revisit old spots for a new perspective
Last I checked, my country count is around 55 as of now, and there is still so much more of the world left to see. I’ve always wanted to go further and see more – my Career Break saw me through 35 countries in 15 months but it was a real whirlwind as well. As I think back on my memories made in those places, there is a new urge to revisit places I’ve been before and see how time has changed them, how I’ve changed and what current me thinks about these old-new places.
So there we go, my words of wisdom for now. It’s fun to write posts like these and then come back to re-read them a few years on and see how things might have changed again, or how much the same they remain. Travel has changed a lot even in just the last 10 years and who knows what’s up next with all the talk about space travel and AI and etc.
One thing that I know for sure is that I’ll always want to see new places and cultures around the world, and I hope I’ll never stop being excited by that next impending adventure ahead no matter how old I am. Hopefully this blog will still be around in the next decade for my next reflection post!