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.
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.
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.
my breakthrough moments this year
- 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.
- I started to love myself. REALLY love myself – to the point that I would choose me over everyone else, unbothered if it upset others.
- 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.
- 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.
- If I felt some type of way about anything, I spoke up about it. Those are my feelings, and that’s validation enough.
- I cut down on gossip majorly, and it opened up doors to deeper and more meaningful conversations (can I get an AMEN?).
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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
6. United Kingdom
8. United States
9. Dominican Republic
14. United Arab Emirates
29. Czech Republic
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.