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40 Before 40: Goals to Accomplish Before My 40th Birthday

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Looking for my latest 40 Before 40 update? Read On My 32nd Birthday: A 40 Before 40 Check-In 

What do you do to celebrate your birthday?

What if it’s a ‘big’ birthday, like a new decade? The kind of decade that makes lots of women freak out about having kids and settling down and stuff like that?

If you’re me, you set new goals.

Happy birthday to me! Last week, I turned 30 years old. My 30 Before 30 challenge has officially ended, and I’m back to set new goals.

Remind me again, what was 30 Before 30?

If you missed it yesterday, I wrapped up a series of posts I started 30* months before my 30th birthday. (*It was accidentally 29 months.)

I set myself 30 goals spanning travel, business, and my personal life, and set out to achieve them all before my 30th birthday.

Some I accomplished (like swimming in the Med), and some I did not (like becoming a dual citizen in Croatia). I’m okay with the ones I didn’t accomplish; I’m thrilled about the ones I did.

Now, having crossed the threshold of my 30s, I feel like it’s time to look forward with new goals and ambitions in mind. (Yes, some include having kids!)


40 Before 40: 40 Goals before my 40th Birthday

First of all, holy crap. When I can finally ‘finish’ this series will be on my 40th birthday. That’s 10 years from now. I’ll be FORTY.

Here’s the thing though:
Time flies.
Life flies.

I set 30 goals 30 months ago and had no idea how fast my life would move. My life, my situation, my relationships, everything… EVERYTHING changed.

If you had asked me on my 20th birthday where I thought I would be at 30, I would have had no idea. I don’t want to live my 30s the same way, lost but wandering an as-yet-unknown path. I know I can’t see the future, but my 40 Before 40 Goals will help me shape at least some of the exciting things that are bound to happen in my next decade.

How will 40 Before 40 work?

Unlike my 30 Before 30 goals, I don’t plan to update you each time I achieve a goal, or even count down like I did at 5 months and 1 month before my birthday this past year.

Instead, I plan to do the following:

  1. Always do a blog post on my birthday, updating you on life and my goals. This means I am committing to continuing this blog in some capacity for the next 10 years (that’s my 40th goal!).
  2. Commit to a selection of goals each year to try and stay focused and chip away at the list throughout the 10-year project.
  3. Write stories here (or elsewhere) when one of my goals is worth sharing. Many of these goals are complex and require preparation and lots of money – I hope the stories are worth sharing. I hope you’ll share them with me.

That means if you don’t hear from me for a year, I may still be working on my goals. You can always email me and ask how they’re going. And I’ll always update you on my birthday.

Get on with it! What are my 40 Before 40 goals?

Okay, *deep breath* here are my 40 Before 40 goals:

  1. Set two feet firmly on Antarctica
  2. Scuba at the Great Barrier Reef (Australia)
  3. Visit the Taj Mahal (India)
  4. Learn to play the bagpipes
  5. See a crop circle
  6. See the Triple Crown in a single year (USA)
  7. Swim in all five Great Lakes (USA)
  8. Learn to surf
  9. Produce a byline feature in a global travel print publication
  10. Produce a cover story for a print publication
  11. Scuba between tectonic plates in Iceland
  12. Visit New Zealand
  13. Visit South Africa
  14. See the Pyramids (Egypt)
  15. Go parasailing
  16. Walk along the Camino de Santiago (Spain)
  17. Ride in a gondola in Venice (Italy)
  18. Experience ‘zero gravity’
  19. Ride in a hot air balloon in Cappadocia (Turkey)
  20. Go on an African safari
  21. Fly a transoceanic flight in first class
  22. See the cherry blossoms bloom in Japan
  23. Get my child(ren) their first passport(s)
  24. Swim with dolphins
  25. Dine at Canlis (the nicest restaurant in Seattle)
  26. Travel every calendar day of the year
  27. See the Nazca Lines (Peru)
  28. Finish writing and publish my Freelance Writing Challenge book
  29. Travel back to Jordan, stay in a Martian Dome, and properly see Petra
  30. Go ziplining in Costa Rica
  31. Join a professional association as a travel writer
  32. See a lava flow (or the Gates of Hell in Turkmenistan)
  33. Attend both my high school (2025) and college reunions (2019)
  34. Learn to throw pottery
  35. Cross the equator
  36. Fill my passport before it expires (2024!)
  37. Learn beekeeping
  38. Get my Kokopelli tattoo redrawn
  39. Introduce Mr. Valise here on the blog
  40. Write the final post in this series, on this blog on my 40th birthday.

Holy crap.

Many of these goals may not make sense to you. Many have a special meaning to me, or are an idea I’ve been harboring for a while and would finally like to try. But seriously – 40 goals? Am I crazy??

In case you were counting, there are trips to 14 countries on all 7 continents; that alone is an ambitious goal for most people in their entire lives. You know me though, I love to set goals – and I love to smash them!

One last thing I’m doing in 40 Before 40 that I didn’t do in 30 Before 30… Each year I want to set a small list of the goals to try and accomplish in the coming year. My idea is that if I chew off pieces of the list each year, eventually I’ll be close to finishing it without cramming a bunch in the last year and going bankrupt.

My40 Before 40 Goals for Year 1 (30-31 Years Old)

Here are the goals I plan to try and accomplish in the coming year. As I mentioned in one of my 30 Before 30 posts, I was unrealistic about the cost of my goals. Therefore, I’ve also included estimates of the cost to do each.

  • Learn to surf ($200) –  ✓ accomplished 8/10/17
  • Go parasailing ($250)
  • Finish writing and publish my Freelance Writing Challenge book ($20 for proofs)
  • Go zip lining in Costa Rica ($100)
  • Join a professional association as a travel writer ($330) – ✓ accomplished 7/1/17
  • Get my Kokopelli tattoo redrawn ($150)
  • Learn to throw pottery ($50) – ✓ accomplished 8/18/17

Total Year 1 Estimate: $1100

That’s not a huge amount, to be honest. It just requires dedication and focus – and reminders! I’ve already come up with a small plan to try and achieve each. Stay tuned here or on my social media channels as I share each successful goal using the hashtag #40Before40.

Okay, there you have it. Who’s ready to follow along on my 40 Before 40 journey?

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