25 things to do before I turn 25

This quote is commonly attributed to Mark Twain, but its source is actually unknown.
This quote is commonly attributed to Mark Twain, but its source is actually unknown.

Today is my 23rd birthday (don’t worry, I wrote this post ahead of time, and I’m off doing something fun with my day) and this seemed like as good a time as any to announce my latest project, which is:

25 things to do before I turn 25

(I know, I’m a baby, and you can’t believe you’ve been taking my travel advice.)

I’m a list-maker by nature, and I always enjoy reading other people’s lists of things to do before [insert upcoming birthday here] so I decided to make my own. I’m not a big fan of “bucket lists” because, as I’ve mentioned before, I think people should take chances and try new things sooner rather than later, and bucket lists seem to imply something you’ll get to someday, eventually, when you have time. If you’re a bucket list person, that’s cool, but here’s my list of what I hope to accomplish, big and small, over the course of the next two years.

  1. Watch the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean: Starting the list with an easy one — my mom’s house in Rhode Island is 10 minutes from the beach.
  2. Hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail: At least 25 miles… is Never-Backpacked-Before-Emma being too ambitious?
  3. Visit at least 5 new US states and 3 new countries: In total I will have visited 25 states and 25 countries. Are you noticing a theme here?! (South Carolina 5/12/13)
  4. Drink chai in India: Do I need to explain this one?
  5. Eat pad thai in Thailand: I backpacked Europe last Fall in part because I didn’t feel ready for Southeast Asia. Solo travel there would have kicked my ass.
  6. Sleep on a beach in Thailand: But friends, I’m feeling ready for Southeast Asia.
  7. Get paid for a travel article: Then I’ll be able to refer to blogging as my job.
  8. Get paid for any sort of writing: Then I’ll be able to refer to myself as a “writer,” and my 8-year old self will be incredibly proud of me. (Completed: 5/2/13)
  9. Participate in NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month encourages people to write 50,000 words during November. I want to be one of the people that this challenge nearly kills.
  10. Go scubadiving: Ideally, I want to get scuba certified, but I would settle for some sort of one-time guided experience too. Mostly, I want to hang out with fish or seals or sea turtles!
  11. Learn to sail: My dad always tried to teach me, but I never really tried to learn.
  12. Visit Jackson Hole, WY: Specifically, visit a dude ranch that my father worked on when he was in his early twenties.
  13. Get a tattoo: Sorry, Mom.
  14. Learn a third language: I’d like to be conversational in a language other than English or Spanish. Technically Catalan is my third language, but I don’t get to use that one much…
  15. Get closer to a glacier than I did in Iceland: 

    So excited!
    So excited! So far away!
  16. Visit my friend in the PeaceCorps in Senegal: This has to be completed before Christmas 2014 when her term is up.
  17. Film and edit a travel video: I did some filming in Hawai’i, but editing is hard so it might be a while before you see the fruits of my labor. It could take up to 2 years to grow, like a pineapple.
  18. Purchase and learn to use a DSLR camera: I want to be able to focus my own photos.
  19. Take E to Barcelona: Barcelona is one of my favorite cities in the world. My boyfriend, E, is one of my favorite people in the world. A match made in heaven? I think yes.
  20. Be an extra in a television show or movie: Some of these tasks are more challenging than others…
  21. Learn how to cook meat: I know this one sounds silly, but, you guys, I’m a really good eater, but I’m not much of a cook.
  22. Eat vegan for a month: This may sound contradictory to the previous bullet, and that’s because it totally is.
  23. Grow an herb garden: Growing one’s own food is immensely satisfying, but I don’t see myself with a full-fledged garden anytime soon, so I’m sticking with potted plants for now.
  24. Housesit: Preferably somewhere abroad, but if anyone in New England is planning a vacation soon, I’ll gladly look after your pets/houseplants/children you don’t want to take with you. (I actually do have experience with kids, just fyi.)
  25. Host a couchsurfer: I’ve done a bit of couchsurfing, and I’m eager to give back by sharing my home with someone else. Guess that means I need to find a home…

What do you hope to accomplish in the next two years? At the risk of sounding self-centered, is there anything else you think I should do before I turn 25?

Emma Holliday is well-traveled. After 5 years in Boston, she and her husband upended their lives to move to Berlin where she is currently writing a (funny) book about travel and grief and attempting to learn German.


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