You Should Travel Before 30. And After 30, Too.

Great piece on Thrillist right now – 15 countries you should visit before you turn 30.

I mean, it’s not GREAT great. It’s just a list of photos, a 90-second stroke-fest of wanderlusting and panting, meant to get your mind off work and more onto the screensaver on your work computer. But it taps into a timeless travel idea – that there are just some things you need to do, some things you need to see, before you hit a certain age.

30 is that age. Or at least, it’s meant to mean that age. Like 40 is over the hill and 60 is your greatest hits era and 80 is basically death or die trying, 30 is the age you turn adult – you’re not a kid anymore, you can’t do kid things anymore.

This is of course not really true. There are adults well into their IHOP years who still have the wonderment, fascination, enthusiasm and motivation of children and teenagers. And there are children who are born older – like they were placed in the crib with Jimmy Stewart’s stammer, taking over Dad’s business and saving the town from Mr. Potter’s palms instead of traveling the world and experiencing youth.

But it is true, there are just some things you may be willing to do in your Twenties that you’ll be exhausted by after them. Staying in a hostel, for example, is something you do with a college mentality – it’s basically a dorm, and even then with a lot less privacy and vanity. Another example – you’ll never lose your love for getting loose and having fun, but you may lose your patience with the hangovers it brings.

Your tastes change, with hospitality or nightlife or cuisine, as do your standards for all of them.

Blowing it out across the hills and wharfs in Cinque Terre, Italy… climbing Kilimanjaro or Machu Picchu… budget-wandering through chaotic, populated, HOT India… partying through sleep at Colombia’s carnival… touring Thailand and Vietnam in nothing but one tank-top… all-inclusive Spring Break debauchery in Mexico… losing your generation in Paris… getting away from any whiff of a beaten path in Haiti and planting your friend group’s flag there… smoke pot and stay at the Flying Pig in Amsterdam… Belize, China, Kosovo, and Israel if you’re Jewish and can get a free trip…

All of these are in Thrillist‘s dream journal. And they’re all good ideas. A few of them, I’ve even done. And I’d recommend.

But I’d recommend doing them after 30, too. I’d recommend doing them after 25, too – since for many, you’re going to change much more between 20 and 25 than you will between 25 and 30.

Maybe you won’t smoke pot or crash at a party hostel in Amsterdam, or maybe you will, but then you’ll have more time to walk around and sip coffee in one of the most beautiful canal-infested cities in the world.

Maybe you’ll bring more clothes to Thailand and Vietnam, and maybe you’ll take trains and planes instead of sweaty buses, and maybe you’ll stay in a 5-Star hotel for $30 a night instead of a hostel for $12 a night… and really, wouldn’t that be great? To pay very little for a lot of luxury? To discover an incredible, waiting corner of the world?

There’s great food in Mexico, not just great daiquiris. A walk through Paris never tires. And let’s not treat Haiti like a victim you should only visit to collect a passport stamp.

Travel yesterday, travel today, and travel tomorrow. To the same places, to new places. Just go, and go again. And like with The Empire Strikes Back, I’m sure you’ll find a new nugget the 42nd time you see it.

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