#30Before30 So Far

I set a fun goal for myself this year: To have traveled to at least 30 countries before I turn 30 in October. It’s a pretty arbitrary number, but I like the idea of giving myself a reason to travel to new countries and since I was already so close, why not?

I started the year with 23 total. I knew 7 in one year would be a challenge, especially considering I’ve already visited a lot of the “dense” areas like Western Europe and Southeast Asia. I had absolutely no strategy or plan in place. I was just going to wing it.

In the ultimate of #firstworldproblems, we’ve now reached the home stretch, both in terms of country count and time, so I’m trying to sort out how I can make this happen in the 3.5 months I have left before the big Three Oh. And without breaking the bank.

The map above is one I’ve been keeping since around 2009 with all of the places I’ve visited. Red flags are places I’ve visited, blue are places I visited before I was an adult (therefore usually places I’d like to re-visit as an adult), green are the trips I already have booked, and the question marks are clusters of countries that I have in the running to complete my #30Before30.

I keep my canonical list on Github, because #nerd. Right now, with Portugal, I’m in country number 26. I have a ticket to Singapore in late September that will give me 27. So now the big question: Where should I go for those last 3?

Right now these are my top contenders:

  • Add a quick trip to Bali, Indonesia to my Singapore trip.
  • Belgium and Luxembourg (I was supposed to visit in April, but the bombing happened a few days before.)
  • Croatia, Slovenia, and Hungary
  • Sweden, Finland, and Estonia
  • Mexico and Cuba
  • A few places in the Caribbean (which I’ve actually never been to)

But honestly, I’d go almost anywhere I haven’t been before, as long as it’s safe, affordable, and has decent internet connectivity. My ideal solution would be trips where I could travel a bit more slowly so I can continue working while I’m on the road. But I’d also like to visit places where I can either go with friends or meet awesome new people. Traveling alone is always a fun challenge, but I’m learning that going with other people takes me out of my comfort zone in different ways than traveling solo so it’s something I’m becoming more and more eager to do.

Here’s where you come in!

I’ve decided that instead of making the decision myself, I’m going to crowdsource this final leg of my adventure and go wherever you guys suggest. Granted I’m not really eager to go to the likes of Syria or Iraq at the moment. Or Brazil for that matter. But I like the idea of using my friends / the internet like a virtual dart thrown at a map. Now that you know what I’m looking for, and you know where I’ve already been, where should I go? I need to start booking things in the next few weeks if I’m going to cram it all in before October 8th.

Leave a comment below with your picks for my final 3 countries. I’ll take the top-suggested options and pick the winners based on a scientific combination of affordability, hassle, and whim!

I’ll be making these decisions before 4th of July weekend, so get your suggestions in now! And if you can figure out a way for me to get to Antarctica, I’d totally consider it.