My #30before30 Challenge


First of all, I’d like to say a very happy 30th birthday to my gorgeous guy, Sam, who turned 30 last week! Happy birthday Sam, I have a feeling it’s going to be a good year 🙂

It was a lovely week of celebrations and it got me thinking about my own 30th birthday and the things I’d like to accomplish before I hit this milestone.

I’m sure you’re already familiar with the 30 before 30 challenge. It’s where you write a list of 30 things you’d like to do before you’re 30 and you challenge yourself to get them all done.

It’s not that I think 30 is ‘old’ or there’s anything I can’t do once I reach 30 (except wearing denim cut-offs that expose the bottom of bum cheeks, you shouldn’t do that once you reach 30). It’s more about having goals and the motivation to do things, rather than saying, ‘I’d like to do this one day….’ and that day never comes.

I’m 27 so I have a while to go but this means I can make my #30before30 list really, really epic.


I’d like to say a massive thank you to each and everyone of you who has helped me to put together my 30 before 30 list. I asked for some ideas and inspiration on Facebook and Twitter and you sent over so many suggestions! It was hard to whittle it down but here are 30 things I’d like to do before I turn 30…

#30before30 challenge


  1. See the Northern Lights
  2. Learn to ski
  3. Take a road trip around the coast of Wales
  4. Go camping in Scotland
  5. Stay in a castle
  6. Go in a hot air balloon
  7. Learn to paddle board
  8. Stay in a water hut (one like this in the Maldives)
  9. Stay in an igloo
  10. Have an outdoor cinema in my garden
  11. Visit Norway and sit on Trolltunga ledge
  12. Go back to Dubrovnik
  13. Learn to cook the best Thai red curry from scratch
  14. Start vlogging (argh, this scares me!)
  15. Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  16. Run a half marathon somewhere other than in the UK
  17. Take a yoga holiday somewhere really exotic
  18. Get back in shape (like I was when I was 20!)
  19. Do a photoshoot with a professional photographer
  20. Complete a 365 photography project
  21. Create a yearlong scrap book
  22. Finish decorating my house
  23. Find the perfect jeans
  24. Get my hair chopped short
  25. Take 5 online courses to learn something new
  26. Have an adventure in a campervan
  27. Knit something cool and actually wear it
  28. Run every day for one month
  29. Spend a fortune with a personal shopper
  30. Make someone’s dream come true


And if you fancy taking the 30 before 30 challenge too (or 30 before 40, 50, 60 or even 70) please do join in and share your list!

  1. Elle Croft 7 years ago

    Oooh, fun!
    Firstly, I think you’re wrong…those denim cutoffs that expose your butt should never be worn by anyone at any age! 😉
    Um. What to add? You’ve already seen and done so much, but how about learning a new language? Or buying an outrageously, irresponsibly expensive designer bag or pair of shoes?

    • TheTravelHack 7 years ago

      Ha, oh I’m sure you could pull off the shorts Elle 😉

      I did think about learning a new language but I think it can be really difficult unless you spend A LOT of time in a country where they speak that language.

      I could be tempted by the outrageously expensive bag!

      • Elle Croft 7 years ago

        Lol. No one wants to see that!
        Yeah, you can’t become fluent without lots of time spent in that country, but a few phrases is easy enough 🙂

  2. Have you seen Ayers Rock and walked around it? It’s one of the most incredible sights I’ve seen. One of mine was go on Safari which I’m doing in March, but I guess you’ve probably done that?
    Lots of love,

    SilverSpoon London

    • TheTravelHack 7 years ago

      Yes, I went to South Africa a couple of years ago. It was amazing and I’d love to do it again. I feel like everything on the list should be something new.
      I haven’t been to Ayers Rock. Hmmm, maybe that should get on the list!

  3. Laura 7 years ago

    What a fun idea! I think I need to make one of these. I would add the Great Barrier Reef if you haven’t been there already…it’s first on my list!

    • TheTravelHack 7 years ago

      Yes, I spent an amazing week scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef. It was incredible – definitely worth the top spot on your list.

  4. Sarah Shumate 7 years ago

    Too funny – the thing I was going to recommend is your #1! We are headed to Abisko National Park in three weeks to try to see them ourselves! It’s going to be freezing in Swedish Lapland that time of year, but if we see the lights, it’ll be totally worth losing a few toes! 🙂 Good luck on your list!!

    • TheTravelHack 7 years ago

      Abisko National Park looks beautiful, I hope you have a great time! I’ll keep my fingers crossed you see them and don’t lose too many toes in the process 😉

  5. Erin 7 years ago

    I love this idea! I’m going to turn 40 in a year and a half so maybe I should do a 40before40? That’s not a lot of time. Some things that would be on my list are to start a travel blog, spend time at an ashram learning how to meditate, and learning how to speak Spanish in Barcelona. I really enjoy reading your blog!

    • TheTravelHack 7 years ago

      I’d really like to go to an ashram too and I’m really intrigued by meditation. Good luck if you do 40before40 and you should definitely start a travel blog, such a good way to document your adventures!

  6. Kristi 7 years ago

    Definitely, learn to surf in Costa Rica (or Bali). Both surf havens!

  7. Jim Coll 7 years ago


    Greetings from Finland. Some Finnish ideas for your 30 before 30 list:

    -Have a traditional sauna in Finland (in the winter with ice swimming or in the summer with a birch whisk or vasta/vihta in Finnish).

    -Have a special sauna, e.g. ice sauna, smoke sauna, sauna bus, malt sauna…

    -Stay overnight in a snow hotel.

    -Take part in bear watching.

    -Kiss a moose in Hirvikartano, Himos.

    -Watch the Northern Lights in a glass igloo.

    -Take part in river floating or floating on ice.

    -Fly in a wind tunnel.

    -Take part in swamp soccer world championships or swamp volley world championships – or wife carrying world championships.

    -Meet Santa Claus or the Moomins.

    -See the midnight sun.

    -Take part in an icebreaker tour, a reindeer race or a reindeer safari.

    -Take a hot-air balloon flight over the snowy landscape in Lapland.

    -Gold panning.

    -Take part in air guitar world championships or an ice skating marathon.

    -Stay overnight in a lighthouse.

    -See the Kvarken archipelago.

    • TheTravelHack 7 years ago

      Wow, I want to add every single thing onto my list!
      It’s official, visit Finland is on the list. Thanks so much for your comment Jim!

  8. Rob 7 years ago

    Brilliant idea, I’d have to do 30 before 50, still got plenty of time – not!
    Can’t really add to the list other than to say if you’re doing the Wales coast do it on foot. The Wales coast path is over 800 miles of rambling heaven and there’s no better way to see it.

    • TheTravelHack 7 years ago

      That’s a good plan Rob!
      Good luck with your 30 before 50 🙂

  9. Margaret 7 years ago

    Ride a mechanical bull

  10. Dayna 7 years ago

    We have a 100 Things List (that we only just finished filling out). Feel free to steal a couple ideas 🙂

  11. Naomi 7 years ago

    The half marathon abroad is one I can get behind, I did the Course du Soleil Nice-Monaco and it was a beautiful run and it was gorgeous sunshine but not too hot ie. perfect running conditions! I’ve also weirdly wanted to do an Ironman triathlon abroad but I think that’s a very, very ambitious goal!

    Suggestions-wise I have to say I’m absolutely stumped but I’ll get my thinking cap on!

    • TheTravelHack 7 years ago

      That sounds like the perfect place to do a half marathon! Very tempted.
      I was all signed up to do a half marathon in Austria but then I got pregnant and had to back out – can’t say I was really that disappointed but I do feel like it’s something I should have a go at again!

  12. – stay in a Ryokan in Kyoto
    – learn to surf in Bali
    – make the ‘walk of love’ in Cinque Terre (‘passeggiata dell’amore’)
    – write a book (an ebook counts too)
    – visit Rome (or Florence, Naples, Venice, Sicily… yeah, somewhere beautiful in Italy)
    – visit New Zealand
    – skydive or do some paragliding
    – learn a new language 🙂

    • TheTravelHack 7 years ago

      I want to do them all! Especially visit Kyoto, Italy and New Zealand…

  13. Rachel Kershaw 7 years ago

    Some great things on your list and I’m guessing the reason for so many gaps is because you’ve done so much already, I didn’t even go on a plane till I was 21 so I could probably come up with a list of one hundred! But from my limited travel experience I can highly recommend driving a vintage fiat 500 around Florence, going on a canal boat in England, skiing off a mountain in Bulgaria, learning to surf (I’ve done it in Tynemouth but I’m guessing Australia would be better!), a traditional hammam in Marrakech and clubbing in Ibiza

  14. Love your list so far! Can’t wait to follow along on all your adventures! Here’s a few more ideas: visit Kakadu national park in Australia, Denali national park in Alaska, bring your new little one on his/her first trip abroad, work or volunteer at an agriturismo in Italy, spend a night on a private island, let Sam take you on a trip where the destination is a surprise til you’re on your way!

    Now you’ve got me thinking, too! 🙂


  15. Grace 7 years ago

    Visit all seven continents (or as many as you can)!
    Write a book
    Donate to charity
    Make someone’s day
    Go on a road trip
    Camp at a festival

    Oh, so many things! Looking forward to seeing what you do!

  16. Jill 7 years ago

    This is an awesome idea! Some things that are on my personal to-do list:
    -cage dive with great white sharks or snorkel with whale sharks
    -attend Holi in India
    -attend Hogmanay in Edinburgh
    -do a gorilla trek in Virunga National Park
    -take a dance class in every city I travel to
    And one you might consider, if you haven’t done it yet—teach your little one how to ride a horse on a working ranch (I’ve been to ranches in Canada, USA, and Uruguay)

  17. Jayne 7 years ago

    I’m going to second a couple of the suggestions – like visiting Ayres Rock and staying at an Ashram (have done the first and really want to do the second.)

    After reading Vicky’s recent post I also want to dress up as a Geisha now – that could be a fun one to try!

  18. Tracey 7 years ago

    I turn 30 in 9 months and now I’m thinking how many things can I accomplish by then…
    I think you should add Namibia to your list:
    – see the biggest canyon in the Africa
    – see where the ocean meets the sand dunes
    – quad bike and sand board down the desert dunes
    – visit the oldest desert in the world
    – see the wild horses and elephants in the desert


  19. Gemma @ Fleeting Planet 7 years ago

    I think lists like this are a great idea, and a deadline helps to focus the mind so I’m sure you’ll complete it.

    As for new suggestions, what about doing something that scares you? (Apart from vlogging!)


  20. I am surprised no one said it so I’ll say it:
    – make out with Ryan Gosling (or any hottie of your choice)

    Come on girl, if you don’t do it before you’re 30… :DDD

  21. Angela 7 years ago

    I love your list! I just created a bucket list on my website. You are welcome to use any of my ideas if you are interested:

  22. Laura 7 years ago

    Hey Monica, I’ve seen this around a lot recently and it’s awesome you wanna do it, especially with a baby on the way! There’s so many great suggestions here already but my other ideas are…
    – do a temple stay in Japan or Korea
    – Complete a vipassana meditation course
    – Ride a scooter/ride a scooter somewhere (if you haven’t already?)
    – Bake green tea cookies
    – Go to the Boryeong mudfest in South Korea (I lived in South Korea for a year…)
    – Complete a food challenge
    – Climb a mountain
    – Try SUP – stand-up paddle board yoga
    – And I recently read you can have a beer spa in Pilsen, Czech Republic??
    Hopefully these help!

  23. Jess Rayner 7 years ago

    You should definitely come to Australia and do a few things here. Have you been to Fraser Island? It’s the biggest sand island in the World (I think) and it’s AMAZING.

    Also, love your blog. First time here and it wont be my last!

    Jess xxx
    Mismatched Knitwear

    • TheTravelHack 7 years ago

      Thanks Jess.
      Yea, I spent 18 months travelling around Australia (before I was blogging properly) and I LOVE Fraser Island. Maybe I should go back and capture it all on camera.

  24. I share some of mine for this year, hope you like it 🙂
    – Go to NY for work (it means I can spend night out with my colleagues in cool places that otherwise I will never know)
    – Come back to Japan and buy lots of kawaii stuff and make-up
    – Learn how to do the perfect macaron, so I can stop buying them in super expensive bakeries
    – Try again fake lashes and go out for a crazy, fun night with my best friends


    • TheTravelHack 7 years ago

      Good luck with yours Sonia!
      I think Japan is going to make it onto my list too.

  25. Cliff 7 years ago

    Swim with dolphins in Melbourne’s bay and graffiti a wall down our wonderful lane ways. 🙂 Hope to see you in Melbourne sometime.

    • TheTravelHack 7 years ago

      I do LOVE Melbourne and I was on a backpacker’s budget last time I visited so it would be nice to go back and see it properly!

  26. Seeing a glacier in Patagonia is something you won’t regret Monica – it totally blew me away so maybe that could make your shortlist?!

  27. […] And just like that, I’d ticked off a major experience from my bucket list. […]

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