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!


Monica is the founder and editor of The Travel Hack. She began the blog in 2009 when she left the UK to travel around Asia and Australia for two years. She's now a full time blogger and has travelled around the world in search of affordable luxury travel experiences.Monica lives in Wales with her growing family and now also blogs about travelling with young children!

SHOWHIDE Comments (43)
  1. 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?

    1. 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!

    1. 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!

  2. 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!!

  3. 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!

    1. 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!

  4. Hi!

    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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

    1. 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!

  7. – 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 🙂

  8. 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

  9. 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! 🙂


  10. 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!

  11. 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)

  12. 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!

  13. 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


  14. 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!)


  15. 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!

  16. 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

  17. 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


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