30 Things I Did Before I Turned 30

It’s my birthday today!

I saw a post with this same title awhile back and at first I thought, why would someone write a post like this? I’ve done a lot in 30 years and writing just 30 of those things down doesn’t seem fair to everything else I can’t write down or can’t remember, taking my first step was a big accomplishment I’m sure, but I can’t for the life of me remember it. 85 Halloween Old Family PhotosA few weeks back though, I was sitting with a student, who is just a year younger than myself, and we were talking about accomplishments. I thought it was an easy enough question. Tell me five of your accomplishments. He said he had none. I was taken aback and thought maybe he didn’t know what accomplishments were. I tried to explain and he said again that he had none in his 29 years of life thus far. I thought that was rather depressing and through more conversation we realized we have very different perspectives on accomplishments and our perspectives really affect how we view life and how we live.

I thought graduating from high school and university definitely counted as accomplishments, he said those were expectations.

Sure, they were expectations for me too, but once I actually graduated they felt like accomplishments because I had put so much work, tears and sweat into them. I think waking up and dragging myself out of bed sometimes is an accomplishment, we all have those days, don’t we? He was more of the mindset that if he had so many accomplishments already, he wouldn’t have anything else to live for, he would have accomplished everything already.

I, on the other hand, feel that I can accomplish something everyday, be it small or large and if I don’t accomplish something in a week, then I’m doing something wrong, but again, the accomplishment can be as small as cleaning our house, don’t we all feel so much better in a clean house?

With that in mind, here are 30 things, mostly the larger of them, that I’m proud I set out to do, did and I feel accomplished having done so because no matter what they are, they made me who I am today. Here’s to turning 30.

Climbed the Great Wall of China in the middle of winter.

Climbed the Great Wall of China in the middle of winter.

  1. Learned how to set off on my own and be confident in myself and my abilities.
  2. Saw the Taj Mahal.
  3. Climbed the Great Wall of China.
  4. Bungee jumped in Korea.
  5. Visited Angkor Wat and ate duck tongue in Cambodia.
  6. Went up the Eiffel Tower, visited the Louvre, the Castle of Versailles and Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France.
  7. Sunbathed topless on Southbeach in Miami, Florida… and also on the rocky beaches of southern France and both times got the worst sunburns a girl could want.
  8. Got 7 tattoos.
  9. Drove from Dayton, Ohio to San Francisco, California and only stopped for a few hours in Denver, Colorado to sleep. We stopped at my aunt’s and cousins’ house at 3 in the morning and I hadn’t warned them I’d be coming through at all, because I didn’t know I would be. It’s still a story we tell today.
    Garden of the Gods, Colorado

    Garden of the Gods, Colorado

    Hallie at the Taj Mahal, Agra, India

    Taj Mahal, Agra, India

  10. Learned that no matter how far I go, my family, the whole bunch of them, will be behind me and that is why I can travel and do what I do.
  11. Busan, Korea: Traditional Wedding Ceremony, HanbokGot married twice… to the same man. Our first wedding ceremony was a traditional Korean ceremony in Busan, Korea and our second was a fairly traditional American one in Dayton, Ohio. I say it was fairly traditional because there was a white dress and toasts and all that jazz but our ceremony consisted of prayers from Buddhism, Christianity, Native Indian and Muslim books, to wit, as well as a reading of a Dr. Seuss story.Dayton, Ohio: Hallie & Jae-oo American Wedding Ceremony
  12. Ate the best roe stuffed chicken at a yatai in Fukuoka, Japan with my husband.
  13. Spent four weeks traveling through Vietnam from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City and learned a lot from the people we met about forgiveness.
  14. Snowboarded in the Rockies with my family.
  15. Pokhara, Nepal

    Stuck with no ride in Nepal, our rafting guide took us into his home for the night and showed us true hospitality.

    Went rafting in Nepal after which we were stuck by the side of the road and had to sleep with some locals for a night before we could catch a bus to another city. They showed us the true meaning of hospitality. They were some of the nicest people in the world.

  16. Made my own perfume in France.
  17. Graduated from Ohio University.
  18. Visited Sleeping Beauty’s real castle, Neuschwanstein Castle, in Germany.
  19. Learned to say ‘no’, when I don’t want to do something or when I should not be expected to do something or demanded to do something, without explanation. I think too many people are afraid to use this word or to let people down, but sometimes it’s use is important to the self.
  20. Saw the Statue of Liberty and enjoyed the views from the top of the Empire State Building in NYC and ate some of the best meatballs and pizza I’ve ever had.The Statue of Liberty
  21. Stayed with an Austrian family in Steyr, Austria and ate the simplest and nicest breakfast of salmon and baguettes with them in the morning.
  22. Listened to the Vienna Boys Choir in Vienna.
  23. Rode on top of a bus for 6 hours in Nepal and made it safely to our destination.
  24. Saw the Sydney Opera House from a boat.

    Sydney, Australia: Hallie & Jae-oo and the Sydney Opera House

    Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Australia

  25. Had an amazing childhood with forts in backyards and mud pies in sand pits and the best sisters and cousins to build and make them with a girl could ask for.
  26. Went to a rodeo in Texas.
  27. Traveled to Germany, France, Monaco, India, Nepal, Austria, the Czech Republic, Korea, Japan, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Australia.

    Railay, Thailand

    Railay, Thailand

  28. Ate deep dish pizza in Chicago.
  29. Learned about the importance of learning history so that we are not doomed to repeat it at the Dachau Concentration Camp in Germany.
  30. Learned the importance of saying “I’m sorry” and never going to sleep angry.

There is still so much to see and so much to do and plenty of learning ahead, but I am pretty happy with what I’ve done so far. Here’s to 30 more years of travel, fun, lessons and love.

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