Repeat after me: Just Go.
Have you ever gone somewhere and never really experienced it? It seems to be the story of my life. I feel like I’ve been to New York, Philadelphia, San Antonia, the Bahamas and so many other places without actually experiencing it. Despite living just about an hour from New York City, I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never walked across the Brooklyn Bridge or even experienced a true New York City roof top bar.
What’s worse is that I’ve barely experienced all my hometown has to offer or the surrounding towns. The town I live in has 13 parks and walkways including a nature preserve filled with bird watching and I’ve only been to about three of those parks. Three!!! That’s pathetic. Plus, I live within a short drive of Princeton and rarely take advantage of it, other than when I teach my Zumba class at the university.
I want to see and do more. Can you blame me? I follow blogs such as The Thought Card, Thirty 30 Courtney, One Girl One World. Of course, I’d have the travel bug. Add the fact that I’ve been traveling internationally since I was about 4 years old, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. Unfortunately once you grow up and start paying for travel yourself its not as easy to leave the country.
Though I love traveling I’ve really only visited the same places multiple times including Trinidad, Bahamas, and Baltimore. And what’s worse is I rarely did anything new when I went to those places. It was always the same old thing.
Having realized I’ve seen so much of the world and barely experienced any of it, I’ve decided that I’d do my very own 30 before 30 list. From now until my 31st Birthday, July 2019, I’m challenging myself to visit 30 different cities and truly allow myself to experience them.
While it sounds crazy, recognize “cities” is the operative word there. When I’m on a mission to be debt free, it’s not exactly realistic to travel to 30 countries in a year. That’s why I’m doing this challenge my way. Who said travel, exploration and vacation can only be to far away destinations that require hours of air and drive time and overnight stays? It doesn’t have to be! My 30/30 list only requires that I visit 30 cities and truly experience them. How will I do that? To truly experience each city on my list I’ve decided I need to eat some where notable in the city, do an activity in the city, and take in some culture in the city. Culture can range from visiting a museum, to taking a guided tour or even strolling down Main street. It may not be the most glamorous, or exciting but I figure it will certainly be interesting as I truly experience cities in a way I never have before.
A few of the cities on my list include:
- Princeton, NJ
- Montclair, NJ
- Atlantic City
- Hamilton, NJ
- Freehold, NJ
- New York City
- New Hope, PA
- Red Bank, NJ
- Asbury Park
- Washington D.C.
- Las Vegas
- Ocean City
- New Brunswick, NJ
- Niagara Falls
- Lambertville, NJ
To most people reading this list, it’s probably rather boring; especially since there’s so many Jersey towns on the list. But what can I say? I’m a Jersey girl on a budget, trying to experience as much as I can. And to be honest, I’ve actually been to most of the places on this list on multiple occasions. But like I said before, I didn’t really experience them. As much as I loved going to dinner at a friend’s house, it didn’t really allow me to see much of the city. And though these are all relatively small towns they all have a lot to offer. For example, Princeton is home to the university and Albert Einstein tours while Asbury Park features the historical Stone Pony where Springstein got his start.
I’m still working on my full list of thirty places but I’m sure I’ll think of others soon enough. My list of fairly “local” places to visit allows me to stick to my budget goals so I can pay off debt faster, and allow me to fill my need to explore.
To those who of you who are approaching 30 rather rapidly, and still feel like you have yet to see the world, know that you still have time left. Even if thirty is only a few months or weeks away for you, there are still corners of your world that you can explore. I think people are so focused on traveling the entirety of the world that they forget that where they live is still part of it. And chances are they haven’t looked at where they live through a traveler’s eyes as yet. To that note, I suggest you do what I will. Think of the all the places you’ve been to before but never EXPERIENCED and challenge yourself to experience it. Take a walk in a nice park, take photos of the architecture and characteristics you never noticed before, and go to the quaint diner everyone is always talking about it.
Have you been to the places on my list and suggestion on something I should do? Are you not truly experiencing places you see often? Have you thought about making a 30 before 30 list.
TERRIfic Quip: Fill your life with adventures?