Why I Found a New Love for Travel In My 30s

When I turned 30, I had an initial period of mourning. Often symbolised as the “dreadful” age where you evaluate your whole life and realise you haven’t achieved everything you said you would, I couldn’t help but feel that 30 wasn’t an age to be happy about.

However, once I got my s*** together, I quickly realised that my 30s were about to be the best years of my life!

Turning 30 suddenly felt like a new beginning – I truly stepped into adulthood and subsequently became my best self. I am more sure of who I am and where I want to go in life.

On the travelling front, it has been the decade where life has truly begun. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to have all of your fun in your 20s; fun happens at all stages of life!

Here are five reasons why I found a new love for travel in my 30s:

My Travels Became Influenced by My Life Experiences

During my 20s, my travel itinerary consisted of waking up and turning up. Now that I’m in my 30s, “turn up” consists of keeping my eyes open past 9:00 pm on a Friday. Laugh all you want, but I’m truly ok with this!

When I think back to my travel experiences in my 20s, I have nothing but fond memories.

I was always looking for a new adventure, and I often tried to be a responsible tourist. However, I also have to admit that what drew me and my friends toward certain destinations was not always the opportunity to enrich ourselves, but rather to have fun, to dance, and to shop.

My approach to travel changed in my 30s: I found myself craving a deeper experience. Instead of cruising through a location to check off its greatest hits, I now look for the deep cuts of the destination.

As a result, I’ve become an advocate for responsible travelling. Through interacting with locals for long periods of time, I grew aware of the issues affecting their community. I have a newfound desire to be immersed in the culture, rather than fighting against my body and drinking until late – unless I’m doing it with the locals.

My days are now often spent avoiding tourist crowds. I usually roam around the destination looking for somewhere to sit and to just take it all in.

So if you think the only time you can grow during your travels is in your 20s, that’s simply not true! My 30s have provided me even more opportunities for growth. My travels may not seem like an experience that goes viral on Instagram, but my travels make me grow as a person –– this is all that matters to me.

I have extra funds

Travelling while broke has its own kind of charm, because you learn how to budget and to open yourself to new ways of living.

Having the the opportunity to treat yourself in your twenties is amazing, but most people do not have this luxury; therefore, some of us have to wait until we get a bit older with more stable jobs.

Well, welcome to your 30s:

By now, you’ll likely have a well-paying job or will have progressed in your career a bit, so you can travel without breaking the bank. Although I still travel on a budget, travelling in my 30s has given me the chance to splurge when I decide to.

As a present to myself, I went on a luxurious trip once I turned 30. For the first time in my life, I didn’t worry about expenses.

I didn’t counting my pennies. I wasn’t thinking about how I was going to be eating excessive amounts of ramen in order to make up for a certain purchase. I set a budget, but because I had money in the bank, I had the freedom to actually enjoy my time away.

The trip was amazing – I ate at restaurants without obsessing over the prices. I bought sexy leather Italian shoes. I had an in-room massage. I lived. Turns out, when we reach our 30s it’s not time to mourn.

I Understood the Fine Line between Being Adventurous and Acting a Fool

It is often claimed that people are the most adventurous in their 20s, but personally, I think that the real adventure hits you later.

I remember myself in my 20s: what passed for adventure was a series of bad decisions that are only funny now because I’ve lived to tell the tales. I wasn’t adventurous; I was reckless. This is not a reflection of everyone in his or her 20s, but this was definitely the case for me.

Now, I find myself fearless in ways I never was in my 20s:
– I travel solo – I would have been too insecure to do that earlier in life.
– I’m more open to challenging myself.
– I say “yes” more often to opportunities for growth than in the past.
– I find myself taking risks to broaden my horizons.

A perfect example is my spontaneous trip to Bangkok. Thailand was a place I would have never thought to visit before, but then I had to ask the question: why not? When I couldn’t come up with one good reason not to go, I booked my ticket and I travelled all over the country.

Although I was open to trying new things, I was thoughtful about my choices: no to street food and yes to nice hotels. I took myself on an adventure, and it was absolutely worth every moment.

I Became Comfortable Travelling Alone

Solo travel was a big transition for me when I turned 30. I always found myself having similar schedules with my group of friends in my 20s. When we were in college, we had summers off and there was always spring break. I had a never-ending list of travel buddies.

But when I entered my 30s, travelling in groups became more of a hassle.

I had to make a decision. I could either wait to find an official travel partner, or I could learn to travel by myself. As someone who travels at least 12 times a year, the answer was obvious.

I had to learn to go alone.

I took my first solo trip to Europe at 30, and it was a fulfilling experience. I had my first taste of freedom, and I never looked back! Now I solo travel at least twice a year.

Travelling alone became a joy once I recognised all the benefits that came with it. The anxiety of dining by myself quickly passed as I realised that solo women travellers are often given more attention by hotel and waitstaff.

Instead of feeling obligated to do activities and to see the sights that my travel buddy may have wanted, I was free to create an itinerary just for me.

I wandered the cities at my own pace. I found myself enjoying the simplicity of dining alone. I explored quirky sites, which I would have felt pressured to ignore if I had been travelling with another person.

The other realization that I had about solo travel is that while you may start a journey alone, it rarely stays that way. I have made friends on solo trips with whom I still keep in touch.

Travel Became a Way to Reconnect

As mentioned above, it really does become more difficult to travel in groups during your 30s. Although this may be true, you may also find that the only time to catch up with your friends is when you all travel together.

While it is ironic, you eventually realise that all of your best friends tend to be scattered across the country, and in my case, scattered across the globe. We also find ourselves in different life situations. Some of my closest friends are married, others have children, and certain friends have moved abroad.

With all of the distance and time between us, gone are the days of grabbing dinner and a movie with my best friends. Instead, I find myself seeing my closest friends once a year when we travel together. Finding the time to see eachother can be tough, but when you add a beautiful destination into the mix, it makes it all worth it. A tropical destination becomes the backdrop by which we reconnect.

Travelling in my 30s has provided me an immense wealth of opportunities to grow and to embrace the world. So, I challenge you to do the same. Celebrate 30 years of life, and travel your hearts out!

Have you experienced a similar feeling in your 30s?


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Kelley Anne is a 30-something therapist from New York who took a leap of faith, left her job, and now lives in Italy. She is the creator of the lifestyle blog “The Guide to Getting Lost.” This is a blog where she uses her own personal story, to encourage women to be brave and live the life of their dreams. Kelley uses her love of travel, food and self-care to guide women in discovering their passions.


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