It’s my 25th birthday this week. Firstly, can we take a moment to dwell on the fact that I’m not quite sure how that happened because my heart keeps telling me I’m 18 years old and have just waved goodbye to my family as I passed through the departure gates at Heathrow for my first ever travel adventure around the world: Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and the USA.
It’s because the years fly by in the bat of an eyelid – that, and the fact that I love writing lists – that I’ve decided to plan out my 25th year to make the most of it. I’ve got a hell of a lot I want to accomplish in my life, so here it is – my 25 things in my 25th year:
I’ve already spent 3 weeks travelling around Morocco from Chefchaouen’s blue streets to Fez’s maze of souks, Essaouria’s seaside charm and the Sahara Desert’s hot beauty. One thing I missed though was the High Alas Mountains. I’m taking a trip at the end of June to stay in traditional Berber-style accommodation and trek around the stunning scenery.
I have so far visited Johannesburg, Cape Town and wound down the Garden Route in South Africa and I absolutely loved it. Everything from the weather, the outdoor activities, the friendly people and the views was amazing. I want to go back and travel around the countries surrounding Lake Victoria. I’ve been dreaming of a trip in Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania finishing in Zanzibar with some beach time. Even if I only manage to visit one of these places in my 25th year I’ll be delighted.
Dervla Murphy is an 80-year-old travel writer and undeniable legend. She cycled from Ireland to India in the 60’s, and to this day continues to travel around the world. On her site she describes herself as passionate about politics, conservation, bicycling and beer. I want to read her books and find out more about the epic life she’s lead.
Ok so truth is, I could have got this when I was in Thailand a couple of years ago and I totally chickened out which is both uncool and uninspiring. Sorry about that guys. I will not be thwarted a second time around! Alright, I’m a little afraid of deep water, and fish, but you know what’s worse than both those combined? FOMO. Plus, my brother’s got his, so now I’ve got to!
I spent Easter weekend learning to dive on the Kenyan coast.
I live in one of the best cities in the world but I won’t be here forever. I want to make sure I make the most of London doing both the touristy things, seeing museums and art galleries, and uncovering hidden gems. I want to explore more of east London and take a trip to Stoke Newington so keep checking in as I document my trips around town!
On the topic of London being an awesome place to live, this is high up on my to-do list: Morning Glory. Talk about starting your day in style: at this event you join a load of other (crazy) ravers at 6am for a morning workout/ rave before your day’s work. Hell yeah!
On my last morning in London, I woke at 6am and met my gorgeous friend Jenny Cusack for a morning of raving. It was one of the happiest mornings of my life, dancing away and just enjoying the moment, knowing it would be a while before I was back in London.
I have always wanted to do this! This one in the southern Amazon region of Tambopata in Peru will do me just fine thanks.
Ok this is a bit of a cheat because I actually did this just before I turned 25…. I wanted to welcome in the day from the 40th floor of the Heron Tower in London at about 4am whilst eating waffles. It was just that after a fun night out in Shoreditch… poshest munchies ever.
Ireland is my next-door neighbour and I’ve never popped in! I love Irish folk music and I’m even singing for an Irish band in June, so I think it’s high time I head over to scale the craggy mountains and find a traditional Irish pub and pull up a chair as a band play the Beggarman Jig.
In 2013 I joined an expedition with 2041 to the coldest, windiest continent on earth: Antarctica. As part of my ongoing commitment to support 2041’s mission to save Antarctica in the year 2041 when the treaty currently protecting it is up for review, I’m going to continue speaking in schools to students about my experience and encouraging them to take this extraordinary opportunity themselves to help save Antarctica.
Helping to protect Antarctica isn’t just an aim for my 25h year but something I will support for the rest of my life. You can read my interview with Rob Swan, the first man to walk to both poles and leader of the 2041 expeditions to Antarctica here.
I absolutely love animals. I want to spend more time with them in my 25th year! I dream of seeing the mountain gorillas in Rwanda and the wildebeest migration through Tanzania. I’ve been on safari in South Africa and it was the most wonderful experience. I hope to accomplish one of these activities whilst I’m 25.
I’ve seen a leopard strolling past in the Masai Mara, trailed a giraffe in the dead of night in Tsavo National Park and spent an hour of my life metres from a pride of lions and their cubs in Nairobi National Park. Kenya, you are incredible.
Whilst in Antarctica, I wrote myself a postcard. It took 9 months to get back to me and when it landed on my doorstep it was amazing to recall the exact feelings I’d had in that moment in time, sitting in a zodiac boat, struggling to hang on to my pen through my gloves, the sun blazing down on icebergs making the sea sparkle. I don’t quite know what or where yet, but in my 25th year I’m going to stop in the middle of doing something extraordinary and capture exactly how it feels then and there.
I’ve written on a scrap of paper on the shores of Lake Naivasha with hippos wallowing in the shallow waters nearby, written from a camp in the Nairobi National Park amid 28,000 acres of wildlife, sat on the sandy beaches of the Kenyan coast and written for this site. That’s not to mention blogging from cafes and hilltops in Edinburgh, London, New York, Morocco and Devon.
It won’t be the first time I’ve been, but you can never exhaust the Edinburgh Fringe. I want to go back this summer to spend time in beautiful Scotland laughing at comedy, admiring quirky street performers and discovering new talents for myself. I want to sit in George Square with a beer in one hand and the other draped around my best friends with music in our ears and fairy lights hanging overhead.
Having a second language is high up on my priority list. My very basic German and pretty elementary standard French are not gonna cut it! I’m super keen to keep learning my second language, even if I’m not totally fluent by the end of my 25th year using audiotapes. Bon.
I’ve crossed this out not because I’m now fluent in French (or I would be writing in the language…) but I’ve realised learning a language is not something I’m going to do in one year – it’s something I’m going to keep working on and practising in every country I go to!
You know what I love? Finding things to make my life easier. I am addicted to finding the best, smartest, shortest, simplest solution and trying to cram as much into my life as possible. Wasted time is one of my biggest pet hates. There are some super useful apps out there to make travel easier, smarter and help us get more organised, so I’m making it my mission to check out the best ones and, of course, report back to you!
My blog is all about destination suggestions and hotel reviews, so I’d like to create eBook destination guides that my readers can download to their laptop, tablet or iPhone and take with them on their journeys! Watch this space…
In the last couple of months, my blogging has taken off and I think it’s safe to say I’m now pretty addicted to my site. I would love to be recognised among my amazing blogging peers for my site.
I’ve been to New York before and spent time discovering the key things to do for tourists on a weekend break in the city: check out my destination guide to the concrete jungle. Now I want to discover the bits only locals know about – where to live, where to do Sunday brunch with friends. This July I’m heading back and I’m going to find some lesser known gems in the big apple.
In my relatively short time on earth I’ve travelled pretty extensively. In my 25th year I want to experience what it’s like to live and breathe another culture and country. When I get there (wherever there may be), I want to visit at least a few places I’ve never even heard of.
I love how empowering blogging is. Being able to publish your own content and create something for yourself… makes me wonder what writers did before the web. I’d also like to get (at least) one of my travel articles published in a magazine or paper this year and I’m working hard to make it happen.
I’ve had lots of my writing published this year. Check out my website for the full portfolio!
Not counting music festivals, I haven’t been camping since I was a child on a damp and soggy farm somewhere in Cumbria to be honest; I thought it was pretty shit. Still, ever the optimist, I want to try camping out again and see if my far wiser 25-year-old self could get into it!
Canada’s epic outdoors is calling me. I’d love to discover its mountains, wildlife, adventure activities and culture. From quaint Quebec to scenic Vancouver I plan to take a trip in my 25th year and explore Canada.
My 25th birthday, National Vegetarian Week and a bank holiday all in one week? Best week ever! I’m on a mission to find the best veggie food in London and around the globe to show people that meat free can be healthy, delicious and a great lifestyle choice. So if you have any suggestions please let me know! In an effort to encourage more people of the veggie way of life, I’ll be promoting #meatfreemonday on Twitter with a yummy new recipe each week so tune on in folks.
A London café full of cats! Genuinely some people’s worst nightmare. Not me though, the name ‘Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium’ and impressive oversubscribed waiting list are enough to entice me alone, and then they added CUTE KITTENS to the mix. Genius!
We went, we saw. We had an afternoon of meowing, cuddles and tea. Need I say more?
25. PLAY TRAVEL ROULETTE
For someone who likes writing lists, is extremely organised and derives a large amount of pleasure from just getting excited about future adventures last minute travel probably sounds like my worst nightmare. But I actually kinda love the thrill of spontaneity. The epic feeling of one day being at your desk or in your house, and the next being on a balcony in Buenos Aires or a café in Paris. Sometime this year, I’m going to give myself one day to book a last minute trip and see where I end up.