Birthdays are a time to reflect. Especially the milestone ones. As I approach my 21st birthday in February, it is time to think about what I want to achieve in life and the universe. For most of us young people (and I assume most people in general) life just kind of happens. You kind of fumble and stumble down pathways and, as they say, “life happens when you’re busy making other plans”.
But for this birthday milestone I think I may stop fumbling and stumbling for a bit and actually set a goal (lol wut). The dictionary says that a goal is “the object of a person’s ambition or effort” which sounds pretty good. I think I have ambition, and I’m definitely putting in the effort… however, what is the object?
Goals can be pretty effective in establishing a vision and stick to it. So instead of vaguely pursuing travel and Travel Textbook with no clear goal, I have decided to set one. Hopefully by setting this mission, the rest will follow organically.
100 by 25
And by that I mean 100 different countries visited by the age of 25. When I turn 21 I will have visited 56 amazing nations and created memories to last a lifetime. Hopefully setting this goal will encourage me to get out of my comfort zone and visit travel destinations that aren’t so ‘generic’ or ‘safe’. Maybe places I wouldn’t have visited without setting this mission. I wonder if I can actually achieve this, and it excites me to think about it.
The first part is 100: There are 196 countries in the world and half of that is 98. 98 seems like an okay number, there’s a streak of OCD in my soul that makes 100 seem so much more satisfying. Not to mention that 100 means achieving entry into the Travelers’ Century Club.
The second part is 25: 25 seems like a good age. It’s a quarter of a century and half way to 50 (oh my gosh), but mostly I have chosen this age because it will all coincide with an important milestone. I will have just finished my medical degree (hopefully lol) so that will be a good time to recollect.
So what is the nitty gritty?
Over the next four years I want to challenge myself and see more of the world. Despite this vision, there is still the need to get a degree and get a job, so I’ll be pursuing that too.
I have 3 years left in my medical degree and intend taking a year off to travel at some point. This may be a year of intermission during the degree or take a year off after I finish. So this will at least free me up with a year. Plus each university year there is around 2.5 months of holidays, and although I won’t travel through all of this, I would love to go on some shorter trips during this time. So when you add up 3 years of degree plus one year of travel then BAM I’m 25. It’ll go quickly, I’m sure.
Where do you get the money from?
This is a question that I get all the time. Speaking about money always makes me feel awkward but it does help to provide some perspective and insight. I actually answer this question on my FAQ page — go and check it out!
Won’t you just be passing through countries without experiencing with them?
100 by 25 means that I have 44 new countries to experience over 4 years. This is ambitious and may not happen. And the thing is, I don’t want to do it if it subtracts from the quality of how I usually travel. Normally I like to at least spend a couple of weeks in a country checking it out from a variety of angles. With the time allocated and the number of places to visit, it averages out to be 2.5-3 weeks in each country. Give or take, and obviously this will change dramatically depending on the place.
But again, if it seems like this mission changes the way travel feels for me or feels rushed, I will adjust the goal.
With an anticipated year off to completely pursue travel in the future, this also helps to pad out some time to properly explore.
But country counting sucks?
Well, not necessarily. “Country counting” sucks when you do it the wrong way. When you pass through the airport in a country you can’t really say you’ve been there, or even spending a couple of days in one city is questionable. I also have a problem with people who do this. However, as athletes know which games they have won, and authors know how many books they’ve written, and collectors of handbags know how many Louis Vuitton’s they have, a traveller may keep track of how many countries they have visited. It’s not a competitive thing. It’s just knowing how many places you’ve been to. If you consider yourself a “traveller” then you take pride in where you’ve been (I mean that’s why you consider yourself a traveller), and whether you choose to keep track of which countries this has involved shouldn’t be anyone’s issue except your own.
Getting to travel is a privilege and it can be a hard slog to be able to afford to do this. I personally don’t think there is anything wrong with being excited by the things you have done and the places you’ve seen. Some people just choose to spend their money in different ways than other people and display their journeys in different ways – and that is totally okay.
I’m working on an article on this at the moment so stay tuned.
So, all in all…
I am amazingly excited to put a name to my goal and actually see if I can do it. 100 By 25 is totally ambitious and crazy and ridiculous but that makes me all the more excited. It will push me to visit places I may not have otherwise considered going to, and the possibility for out-of-this-world adventures is endless.
Setting this goal gives the blog a more definitive direction, helps with branding and provides a better “storyline” to follow. So hopefully, it is a good decision for Travel Textbook as well as for my own personal growth.
So let’s get started and see what adventures 2017 and beyond have in store!