With the death of my 20’s fast approaching, I can't help but be thankful and reminiscent for all of the amazing adventures that my 20’s have provided me. I have had some pretty spectacular adventures and lessons learned from each journey that my twenties has provided. I have been all around the world during my 20’s and the following is my list of the top 5 trips to take before the big 3-0 sets in.
Cuba was one of my favorite travel experiences in my twenties. (I’m not the only one who thinks Cuba is a worthwhile trip, Cuba is one of the hottest topics in the popular Facebook group Girls Love Travel, a popular resource for young traveling women, as well as the Facebook group I started for both men and women to share travel resources, Globetrotters). Cuba has been completely closed off for travel for US Citizens for our generations entire lifetime. My recommendation is to visit Cuba, and visit soon before McDonalds and Starbucks come to town and make it like every place else in the world. There is no place like Cuba, the entire country has literally been frozen in time. Stepping off the plane in Havana is like stepping into a warped and dilapidated version of the 1950’s. It may be the only opportunity left on this planet to ditch cell phones and the internet. Cuba literally forces you to unplug (something our generation has never really had the ability to do), making access to wifi challenging. Additionally, Cuba opened my eyes and taught me to be grateful for what I have. When you see a simple Yankees baseball cap bring tears of joy to a child’s eyes, you can’t help but to be grateful for what you have. Cuba will change your prospective on everything.
If 30 is representation of when you are supposed to be a fully functioning adult, than Coachella must represent being a twenty-something. Coachella is whatever the polar opposite of adulting is. A weekend of Coachella is about being free, having fun listening to great music and partying way too hard in the desert. When you go, buy an overpriced VIP pass to rub elbows with every celebrity ever and have access to better bathrooms. Enjoy being a twenty-something and participate in our generations version of Woodstock, (except with much cuter clothes). Once you turn 30, festivals like Coachella won’t be nearly as much of a priority as sleep will be, so do it now while you are young and your motto is still “I’ll sleep when I’m dead!”. Just don’t be as embarrassing as I was when I tripped over Leonardo DiCaprio and landed in his lap. (An actual accident, I swear).
China is the experience of a lifetime to say the least. Going to China is the travelers equivalent of going to war. Toilets are often nasty squatty potties on the ground, almost no one speaks English, the culture and local customs are extremely different, and the food will force you to try new things. If you can handle and navigate through China, you can handle anything. Disgusting airplane bathroom? No problem, you survived China bathrooms! China is an amazing place, far different than western culture. It’s worth a trip while you are still in your 20’s.
Oregon sounded like an odd place to visit until I actually went. When I finally decided to travel to Portland, I fell in love. If you haven’t noticed it seems like 50% of the most beautiful photos on instagram have come from someplace in Oregon. There is a good reason why. Oregon is filled with lush gorges, rivers, beautiful mountains and the most incredible waterfalls. Travel to Oregon to reconnect to nature. Hike. Take instagram photos to make your friends jealous. See natural wonders like Crater Lake, Mount Hood, Smith Rock and the Columbia River Gorge. Visit Portland, eat some of the country’s best food from world renowned chefs, drink pretentious coffee and observe hipsters in their natural habitat. (And while you are there, definitely make friends with someone who works at Nike Headquarters so you can gain access to the employee store where everything is 50% off). Being outdoors is healthy and an appreciation of the outdoors is something you should possess by the time you turn 30. Oregon will help any city dweller love and appreciate nature and outdoor adventures.
Backpacking and hostels won’t be quite as easy or as appealing after you wave goodbye to your 20’s. A few years out of college and you won’t remember how to live on a shoe string budget, so it’s best to do this one now before you are too comfortable and you become accustom to all of your groceries coming from Whole Foods. Additionally, Europe offers deeply discounted rail passes as long as you are under 26 and incredible student discounts at museums. Run with the bulls in Spain, fall in love in Italy (even if its just with the food), soak up the sun on a beach in Greece. Take advantage of a summer off from college and adventure out into the unknown, it will be one of those trips that helps you define who you are and who you want to become.
These are the type of trips and adventures that will lead you to self discovery, self love and self confidence. Those are all thing’s you will need to have a strong connection with by the time you turn 30. Venture out, travel and set the foundation for the type of person you want to become. Most importantly, travel is the best education you can possibly achieve. Traveling and experiencing new cultures will cure narrow-mindedness and hatred. We need more loving openminded people in this world, so travel boldly, enjoy your twenties and expand your horizons in the process. I promise, by the time you turn 30, you will be glad you have had these experiences. Additionally, it’s trips like this that keep you from being stale and boring when you do turn 30!