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Travelling to 30 Countries Before 30 – Check!

With my thirties looming, I wanted to bid a proper farewell to the last year in my twenties. So, Ragun and I decided to jump into my thirties, with a bang by submerging ourselves in seven new countries over the span of a month.

Let me start by stating, getting older does not bother me in the slightest – it’s just something I never cared about. However, I do care a whole lot about growth, change, and developing into a better human being. I care about being honest; I care about being real; I care about being me and free. I never wanted to be that person that fit someone else’s vision of who to be or how to act, but I struggled with finding my voice.

Last year, I decided I was going to be in my 30th country on my 30th birthday and real talk – I didn’t realize the year I was about to have. All this traveling isn’t a classic case of manifestation as these changes in my life took place once I hit pause on all the background noise and started to focus on myself.

Woman facing a sea and green field with back to the camera
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Transitioning to thirty

This year is my breakthrough year. I coined the term ‘breakthrough‘ in lieu of my breakdown. I made the conscious effort to journal, meditate, see a therapist, open up about my childhood trauma, practice using the word ‘no’ on numerous occasions, set boundaries and mentally coach myself from repeating negative patterns.

That’s why my transition to 30 is big for me. I hit a snag that mentally drained me. I was becoming my own worst enemy instead of the best friend that I deserved. So, I decided to put in work to get myself to a better place, because the truth of the matter is only I can help myself.

Woman facing a statue with her nose to the statues face
Siem Reap, Cambodia
loving thyself

We all deserve to celebrate our wins, whether small or big. Ask yourself, what are you doing to celebrate yourself? I admit, I often forget to celebrate myself. For most of my life I put my mental well-being on a back burner in order to please others. I cannot stress enough, the importance of loving yourself and appreciating all that you do, day in and day out.

Self-love and being selfish are not the same thing and if you’re working on loving yourself – let me tell yah, no matter what Jane, Dick, and Harry have to say– it aint selfish, honey. If someone does question your level of self-love tell them, “k, bye”. More unsolicited advice: you are by no means required to explain yourself to others. Period.

Woman standing in front of a blue and red temple structure with stairs in the outdoors.
Beijing, China
my breakthrough moments this year
  1. I no longer need the lights on when I sleep alone at night, and I stopped waking up in a panic every couple hours –THIS right here is huge for me. HUGE
  2. I started to love myself. REALLY love myself – to the point that I would choose me over everyone else, unbothered if it upset others.
  3. I prioritized meditation and journaling in my life. Not only does it help realign my thoughts, feelings, and emotions – it helps replace the inconsistencies that I feed my mind when I am feeling ways that put me in bad spaces.
  4. I sought out a therapist that helped me talk about all of the things I side-stepped and pretended was okay when it was completely terrifying and taking a significant toll on me.  
  5. If I felt some type of way about anything, I spoke up about it. Those are my feelings, and that’s validation enough.
  6. I cut down on gossip majorly, and it opened up doors to deeper and more meaningful conversations (can I get an AMEN?).
  7. I opened up to my family about parts of trauma I experienced and stopped hiding in shame as if they were my burdens to carry. I still have ways to go, but it’s a start.
  8. Your girl made it to seven new countries this summer (Greece, Israel, Jordan, Hungary, Austria, Czech Republic, Croatia); with the best guy in the world aka husband aka Ragun aka the other half of Wander is Calling.
Woman standing with hands near her hat standing in front of three stone pyramids in a desert
Cairo, Egypt

What I learned this year was to love myself so ferociously that everyone else’s opinion became irrelevant and by doing so, I began to feel less lonely and accepting of all that I am. Placing expectations on others to help and heal isn’t what will you bring you happiness and joy. Only you can do that for yourself. Work on yourself and all else will fall into place – I know it sounds like I’m repeating numerous online quotes, but those quotes know a thing or two.

All you need is love

Be there for the people you love. Mental health matters is not just an Instagram hashtag, it’s real life. Check up on people when they say they need space, be there with an open heart and a judgment-free mindset. You don’t know the struggles someone is internalizing when holding onto years of trauma and quite frankly, you never will. No amount of comparison to your life will help you understand this. It’s uneasy, and it’s hard.

Woman facing the inside of a lit mosque wearing a black tank top.
Istanbul, Turkey

I am grateful to the loved ones that consistently ask me if I am okay, the ones that want to discuss my therapy sessions, and to that one cousin with those Skype calls – you are a complete blessing. I didn’t realize how badly I needed help until I found it. I am thankful for the beautiful people I have in my life that constantly make an effort to check in on me and tell me if I am not doing the same.

I’d like to make a few honorable mentions – Jay Shetty, Lewis Howes, and Brene Brown have a wealth of knowledge about self-growth and love – I breathe this into my life as much as possible.  I would highly recommend you listen to them and reflect on what they have to offer, that’s where I found a lot of my growth. 

Now, to end of my rendition of thirty on thirty, here’s something my favorite travel blogger once said, “Growth is almost never pretty and looks a lot like falling off a cliff and building wings on the way down.” – Thank you, Gloria Atanamo (the blog abroad).

COUNTRIES VISITED – THIRTY BY THIRTY
1. Germany
2. Sri-Lanka
3. India
4. Luxembourg
5. Belgium
6. United Kingdom
7. Canada
8. United States
9. Dominican Republic
10. France
11. Switzerland
12. Italy
13. Netherlands
14. United Arab Emirates
15. Thailand
16. Vietnam
17. Cambodia
18. Mexico
19. Turkey
20. Russia
21.Egypt
22. Spain
23. China
24. Greece
25. Israel
26. Jordan
27. Hungary
28. Austria
29. Czech Republic
30. Croatia
Woman wearing a blue scarf, white shirt and blue pants, standing in front of ancient ruins built into a mountain in the desert
Petra, Jordan

***

Travel is therapy. Each of the above countries hold a special value, a moment, a thought or a feeling in my life, that I would not have experienced had I not taken the plunge of investing in them. Explore the world unknown and spend money on things that bring you life experiences – it’ll be well worth it.

Leave a Reply

24 comments

  1. I absolutely love reading Ilakkiya and Ragun’s adventures. Such an amazing couple with a passion for travel and you can really see that passion through their posts. Keep it up!

    1. Woo, thank you for your kind words! We love what we do and are happy to hear, you enjoy our adventures, as much as us 🙂

  2. This is a great read! It’s nice to see that you are working on yourself and not holding back. Looking forward to reading more of your posts in the future!

    1. Thank you, we appreciate you taking the time to read our posts and support us!

  3. Technically your prob at more than 30 with UAE. If you travelled around the Emirates, technically they different countries.
    LOL
    But God Damm, 30 countries before 30 is a big feat.

    1. We thought the same thing but when we looked it up, we realized that UAE is a country that holds numerous city-states – similar to the USA, but not as many states. Hhahaa, to be honest, it was a very young start so, a lot of credit would go back to my parents for giving me such travel fever. Thank you 🙂

  4. Nice read!

    1. Thank you 🙂

  5. This is amazing guys! It’s so inspiring that you’ve managed to see 30 different countries by the time you turned 30! I’m 26 and am stuck on 8 haha. Keep doing what you’re doing – I absolutely love reading your blogs 🙂

    1. I love this, so inspiring and reflective. It’s amazing that you’ve done so many countries in such little time and more amazing to hear about your emotional journey, makes me more reflective of mine 🙂

      1. Thank you, it took a lot of work and I am still putting in work but seeing the changes makes a world of a difference. I’ve had a lot of help from loved ones along the way! Aww, glad to hear that. Reflecting is one of my favorite ways to pass time.

    2. Thank you so much! Sometimes you just have to go with your gut and do it, book that trip, move to that country, learn a different language, etc. We are so privileged to experience travel.

  6. Wow you’ve been to such a huge range of countries guys! It’s actually so cool!

    Most bloggers tend to just showcase only their best moments – It’s so inspiring to see someone open up about their struggles and how they overcome it. Keep the amazing content coming guys!!

    1. Thank you – we pride ourselves in travel! Aww, we appreciate the feedback. We just want to keep it real – life is not only about remembering the good moments but also embracing the good with the bad.

  7. Love the post! Great reflection and insight in to your 30s. Wishing you a fabulous year ahead full of self love, breakthroughs AND breakdowns and just a well round memorable year!

    1. What a year! Who knew transitioning into thirty would be so powerful? Not, this girl. Thank you for your love and support, always.

  8. Great read!

    1. Thank you 🙂

  9. My favourite blog post on here yet! I am more reflective of your travels by getting to know the humans behind the posts and this was beautifully insightful and personable. You two are truly inspiring! Looking forward to the next read =)

    1. Thank you, so happy to hear that you enjoyed this post. Helps us determine what types of posts will be better for us in the future and how to showcase the real us. We’re grateful for your love and support!

  10. Awesome travel destinations.

    1. Thank you! Some were by choice and some sorta just happened 🙂

  11. This blog is exquisite in my view – for the meaningful message conveyed, in that we should all remember to appreciate and make the most of the lives we’ve been blessed with, the people who are a part of it and to a larger extent, the beauty and depth of this world we get to be live in; which shouldn’t be taken for granted.

    Thank you for creating powerful content like this guys which is always an inspiration to . Keep finding and living joyful lives despite the adversities that come our way.

    Love you both, from a huge fan 🙂

    1. Thank you for such a lovely comment! We love your view on what we put out into this blog post. I tried to be as raw as possible by still allowing myself to keep some things for myself. We all struggle but this is a reminder that there are better days ahead if you’re willing to put in work. Screaming the loudest isn’t the best way to get your point across – finding a balance and being real to yourself is what will.

      Love and thanks for your support!
      xxx