How does age change travel in your 30s versus travel in your 20s?
So, the big question remains, what is the difference between travel in your 30s versus travel in your 20s? Well, I have been thinking about this a lot lately since I am now well into my third decade of life (Geez. Time flies when you’re having fun). When I am alone in my room, I reflect upon my journey through life and how I have changed and grown as a person. And while it’s hard to identify exactly how I have changed, I know something has happened because my behaviors are no longer the same. To put it simply, a lot of the crap I did in my 20s, I would NEVER do in my 30s. Somehow, it just doesn’t feel right anymore. And some of the crazy things I did just don’t seem that cute anymore (Maybe they never were and I was just in denial. Lol).
Now, I don’t want it to sound like I haven’t had ANY fun since I turned 30. I mean, once you hit the BIG 3-0, fun isn’t magically against some mystical, thirty year old code of conduct. No, no, no!! I have a ton of fun. Maybe just a different kind of fun. And that’s okay because I still have an adventurous spirit and want to do cool things like (I swear, I am not some old hag, with 10 cats, who watches Golden Girls reruns, in a moo moo. Side note, I actually love the Golden Girls. Don’t Judge!) Volcano Boarding and Cage Diving with Great White Sharks (That’s the iron clad proof that I’m not THAT old).
I actually turned thirty about two years ago, (OMG, 30 is the BEST decade so please don’t be scared of it. I am in a much better headspace now than I ever was in my 20s. And if you are terrified, that’s normal because I was too.) and have contemplated the effect of age on how I view and experience the world around me. And no, I don’t mean the loss of teeth (Hello tapioca pudding for dinner), range of motion (Hello titanium hip replacement and hover round scooter) and mental capacity (Thank you Sven the handsome mail assistant nurse. I will take the sponge bath now). I mean those things will come, and they kind of freak me out, if I’m totally honest, but I am referring to the psychic change and inevitable maturation that spontaneously occurs as you bridge the gap between your 20s and 30s.
I mean, I feel like we all declare, “I’m never going to change!” But in spite of our best efforts, we change mentally, whether we like it or not (and physically too unfortunately. Botox? Botox anyone?). As a result, the travel experiences and situations that satisfied me in my 20s, no longer seem like a good fit in my 30s. I mean, if I’m brutally honest, there are a lot of things that I just wouldn’t do in my 30s, that I thought were “AMAZING” and the “BEST TIME EVER” in my 20s. Now, I sometimes look back and wonder, “What the hell was I thinking?” or, “Geez. Thank God I survived. ”
And that’s the exact moment that it hits you; you’re not the same person that you were in your 20s. Something has changed, but it’s hard to put your finger on exactly what. It’s like a gust of wind. You feel it and know it’s there, but you just can’t see it. Well, here is a list, that demonstrates, some of the ways in which both me and my travel style have changed, as I leave the insanity of my 20s behind and embrace the wisdom of my 30s (Hopefully you’re wiser at this age. of course sometimes I seriously wonder about this, like when I pillage my entire savings account because I NEED to go on another trip. I should obviously be mature and save money for retirement. But that’s so boring!!! lol)
Travel in Your 30s versus Travel in Your 20s : The LIST
So long Party Life Style
What happened? Bars used to be so cool and staying out all night used to be so much fun. I used to love
waking up, more than slightly hung over, regaling everyone with stories of the people I hooked up with and the crazy things I did the night before, like make out with some random guy while on the line to get pizza. It was hilarious!
Now, bars are loud, drinks are expensive, people seem obnoxious and drunk, and I’m tired. I just want to watch some television and go to bed early, so that I can get a good start on my sightseeing itinerary for the next day. I now live by the phrase, “Nothing good happens after midnight”.
I REFUSE to sleep in hostel dorm rooms (and am kind of over the hostel scene in general)
What happened? Hostels used to be a fun and easy way to meet people. It was like one giant sleepover and if you were lucky, you could find a guy to share a bed with (wink, wink). In the past, I would only stay at hostels because they were cheap and just a great party scene.
Fast forward 10 years and the story is totally different. Now, the people seem loud and obnoxious and drunk all the time. And they all seem kind of annoying and young, so I’d rather rent a private room where I don’t have to listen to people snore or fight or have sex all night (or all 3 at once). On top of that, was everyone always this dirty? I mean, I am scared to not wear flip flops to the bathroom because I don;t want to get foot fungus. And eww, there is a used condom on the floor. Someone get me out of here and into the peace and quiet of my own room.
Sleep is NOT optional
In my twenties, my life motto was, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”. And it was largely true. I could stay out all night and wake up the next morning, ready to conquer the latest city I was visiting. I truly believed that sleep was for losers who just couldn’t hack being tired.
Now, I need sleep. I mean, if I don’t sleep, not only do I look like the corpse bride, but I am grumpy and just feel like total crap. I will be tired and miserable and not enjoy a thing, so I actually HAVE to get a good night’s rest. I mean, I actually slept in and skipped Versailles in Paris because I was just tired (I just was like ehh, I will come back and see it). That would NEVER have happened in my 20s. In my 20s, I would have done anything to see everything a city had to offer. But in my 30s, the quality of my travel experience is much more important than the quantity. So, I’d rather relax and enjoy myself than force myself to “push through” and visit a site in a state of total exhaustion.
You’re Body Starts to Hurt
I actually remember the EXACT moment that this happened to me, because the experience of having an achey body was just so foreign. I was visiting La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, and bent down to get a better angle for a picture. Well, when I tried to stand back up, my knees screamed in agony from the pain. I almost freaked out because I had no idea what was going on. I literally thought that I was going to need a knee replacement or that I had some crazy sort of cancer that was destroying my body.
I mean, it my 20s, I would save money by just continuously walking throughout a city for some insane amount of time, like 12 hours straight. It was almost like a challenge, to see how far I could walk and how much of the city I could see (It felt like Iron Man Travel).
Now I know that my body can get pretty stiff, so I need to take breaks when walking through a city. I also need to stretch my legs to relieve any pain that may develop in my knees (My body can now actually get stiff and sore. Who knew?). I basically just have to take care of myself and remember that my body can only take so much physical abuse before it will yell at me to stop (And it yells in the language of pain).
I like being alone
In my 20s, I traveled alone, but not by choice. I really just didn’t have anyone to travel with me, and rather than missing out on an opportunity to travel, i just went alone. But I HATED being alone and would literally talk to anyone and everyone who spoke English. It was almost like I would go up to anyone and be like, “Hi. Please be my friend. I hate being alone and need your company.” I had an internal homing beacon for people who spoke English and would literally swoop in on them as soon as they got their first, “Hi” out.
Now, I hate crowds, want a private room, and would rather go in the off season to avoid all the tourists. And I swear, I’m not totally anti-social, it’s just that I’m picky about who I spend time with. This is because in my 30s, I like myself a whole lot more and would rather spend time alone than with someone I don’t really like. I am actually content alone and not bombarded by a series of self-deprecating thoughts that leave me feeling inferior to everyone around me.
I compare myself to other people A LOT less
Look, it still happens. I can still be envious of others and wish I had an awesome husband or a beautiful house (I am still human and not some self-confidence guru). But, it was way worse in my 20s. I always found myself thinking that if only I had what someone else had, then I would FINALLY be happy (or if only I was skinnier. BIGGEST lie I told myself). And because of such comparisons, I always felt less than other people and never felt good about myself.
Now, I care a lot less about what other people do or have or think about me because frankly, it has nothing to do with me and is none of my business. Their lives are their own, and I just want them to be happy and love themselves as much as I love them. And the best part of all? I can actually be genuinely HAPPY for people’s successes and not just totally jealous.
I have also come to realize that my life choices are my own. I can’t blame anyone else for how my life turned out because I’m a grownup now and need to take responsibility for my own life (Trust me, it gets pretty lame when you keep blaming your parents for all your life mistakes). I don’t have the house and husband because those are the choices that I made. An that’s fine by me. I love travel and adventure and know in my heart, that I would not be content doing the same thing, over and over again, for the rest of life. So, I choose this lifestyle and can appreciate the freedom and independence that being a single woman offers me.
Comfort is more important than being cheap
In my 20s, I would do anything to save some money. It was like a challenge, and I wanted to see how much I could do for as little money as possible. Now, saving money isn’t the most important thing to me since I have a full time job and actually enjoy treating myself to nice things (I’m not a baller with a private jet, but I will spend a little extra money on a nice spa experience). To my way of thinking, I would rather enjoy my vacation and create memories of a life time, than save a few bucks and feel like my vacation is something that needs to be endured.
Travel friends are no longer my, “BEST FRIENDS FOREVER”
When I was in my 20s, any person I met on vacation was gonna be my Best Friend Forever! I mean, we met while traveling and only knew each other for a day, so obviously we were gonna stay in touch, go on a million vacations together, and end up being each other’s bridesmaids when we got married. I had this vision that I would just collect all these amazing friends all over the world and would have someone to visit in every country I traveled to. It would be SOO amazing!
Now, I realize that this is a fantasy. Most of the people you meet while traveling are great, but the reality is that more than likel
y, after the trip, you will NEVER talk to them again (There are exceptions of course. I’m not a totally jaded old woman. LoL). It’s not that you don’t like them, it’s just that you guys have totally different lives and therefore, don’t have too much in common, besides traveling to the same place at the same time. You now try and accept these people for what they are, which is temporary companions that help you feel less alone while traveling abroad.
You actually watch what you eat
Remember those days when you could eat a pint of ice cream, a slice of cake, 2 slices of pizza, and a bowl of macaroni and cheese and wake up the next day, feeling fine and not having gained a pound? Well, those days are long gone for me now that I am in my 30s. And yeah, this is the only life change that is kind of depressing, but good because now I actually want to eat right and treat my body well.
I now recognize that for my body function at it’s best, I cannot eat like this. I need to watch what I eat and try and exercise because the reality is, the better I take care of myself, the longer my body will last and serve me well, And besides, even if I did eat like that, my body would make me pay. I would feel so bloated and my stomach would hurt so bad, that it would take away all the joy of eating and totally not be worth it (Besides, no one wants to walk around in a bikini while sporting a food baby).
You ALWAYS wear suntan lotion (and a hat and sunglasses and do they have an umbrella you can hide under?)
Yeah, Melanoma and wrinkles are real, so I am no longer all about baking in the sun. I don;t need a golden brown tan anymore because I’d rather look like Casper the ghost and protect my skin from UV damage. And if having pasty white, glow in the dark skin means a healthy complexion, then so be it. Besides, they invented spray tan for a reason right?
LASTLY, (and this one is my favorite) you look at pictures of your younger self and realize that you were younger and prettier and thinner than you ever thought possible
I have been there. I have looked at pictures of myself from my 20s, when I thought I was revolting and morbidly obese, and have been amazed at how young and beautiful I actually looked. I was shocked that i was so nasty to myself and that I held myself to such an unattainably, high standard.
And that was such an amazing experience because I finally realized that I don’t have to be so hard on myself all the time. I mean, somewhere along the line, I thought that being mean to myself would make me strive to be better. But, that kind of negativity actually just made me feel like crap about myself and made me hate myself even more.
So, I have since learned to appreciate and accept myself for who I am today. Yes, I have flaws, but those flaws help me grow and help me show other people that it’s okay not to be perfect because we are all just human. We are all just muddling through life, trying to do the best that we can with each day that we’re given. Because of this attitude, I have developed an incredible amount of compassion, love, and tolerance for not only the flaws in myself but for the flaws in all the people around me; a mentality that, today, makes my life a much more peaceful existence.