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26 Things to Do Before Turning 26

26 things to do before turning 26

Niagara Falls

Today I turn 25. Someone asked me if I’m having a quarter-life crisis. I replied that my whole life is a quarter-life crisis. Somehow these posts have become my most successful, so I’m glad that readers can relate to setting goals for each year. In the past year, I crossed off eight of my 25 items. I have not yet spent my birthday somewhere fabulous (#1), as I’m working, but have already booked a trip in a few months when I have time to celebrate fully. I ran a race every month for a year (#5), went to Bonnaroo and camped (#9), secured a number of press trips (#11), launched my Southern blog (#12), met more readers in real life (#20) like Andrea in Charlotte, learned to market and network myself (#21) and have booked another sailing trip (#23).

I visited 2 new countries (#4) instead of 3 (Portugal and Austria) and more or less learned grown up tasks (#16), but still not changing a tire or driving stick shift. I re-designed my blog myself (#18) instead of paying someone to do it.

Some items are repeats in an effort to follow through and others are stolen from my Life List. I’ve made this list to steer me towards a happier, healthier, more productive year. Blog-related and career-related goals are in bold. Life-related goals are in italics. Travel-related goals are in red.

26 things to do before turning 26

Rooftop hammock at Capital View Hostel, DC

Before I turn 26, here are the things I’d like to accomplish:

1. Earn at least $500 per month, or a majority of my income, from freelance writing. I currently earn around $200 per month from writing, completely separate from this blog and mostly from my work on Her Packing List.

2. Speak about my travels at an event or conference. Every time I attend one, I think I could come up with something to get people excited to travel. If you’d like to hire me to speak on a college campus or at an event, leave a comment or send me an email!

3. Turn my dry month into a yearly event. It’s good to clean out your system every now and then.

4. Go to therapy. This may be an odd thing to add to my list, but just as I need to maintain physical health, I need to work on my mental health that has been neglected for a very long time, particularly my anxiety.

5. Get my advanced scuba diving certification in Asia. It’s a rollover from last year, but I think I can pull it off this year.

6. Return to Australia. I think about it every day and miss my friends.

7. Create e-books to help others plan their own trips, working holidays and postgrad adventures.

8. Scuba dive in three different destinations.

9. Drink less. I’m not 21 anymore.

10. Monetize This Is My South through partnerships, advertising and other means.

26 things to do before turning 26

Scuba Diving in Key Largo, Florida

11. Foster working relationships with brands and destinations that I’m passionate about.

12. Have a strong group of contributors to This Is My South. If you’re interested, let me know!

13. Make time for at least one family vacation.

14. Vary my freelance writing outlets outside of just travel. I started doing this last year with work for Sweet Lemon Magazine, but would like to expand even further.

15. Visit at least four new countries.

16. Become more video savvy through YouTube videos for both of my sites, as well as on Instagram and Vine.

17. Get a pixie cut. I’ve thought about getting a Carey Mulligan style cut for ages.

18. Reach 1,000 Facebook fans on Caroline in the City and 150 on This Is My South.

19. Organize regular travel meetups here in Atlanta that can continue on even when I’m off traveling. 

20. Take a cooking class. I love cooking, but would love to learn even more dishes to add to my repertoire. 

26 things to do before turning 26

The Crazy B*tches of TBEX Toronto

21. Sign up for a half marathonI’ve had this on my list for a while and most of my friends have done it. I just have to bite the bullet and go for it.

22. Continue to travel more overland. These days I do as much as I can to avoid the price and hassle of flying, namely driving all the way through Florida and taking a bus to Canada. This year I would like to continue this theme of slow travel.

23. Volunteer at least once, ideally with the elephants or back in the small town I worked in Thailand three years ago.

24. Become a less picky eater. Eat more vegetables. Try new things.

25. Use my expertise from writing for HPL to pack carry on only as much as possible.

26. Make the next quarter of a century as exciting as this one! 

Thank you all for following along for the 24th year of my life. I hope you’ll continue to see what’s in store for me in the 25th.

13 Responses to 26 Things to Do Before Turning 26

  1. Heather July 8, 2013 at 9:45 am #

    Happy birthday! :-) Hope you enjoy another year of goal setting and pursuing those goals!! I’m a big fan of writing things out that you want, and I need to create another list for myself.

  2. Katka July 8, 2013 at 10:03 am #

    Wooooo happy birthday Caroline! Your goals sound awesome and I wish you the best!

  3. Siz July 8, 2013 at 10:41 am #

    You may not have changed your tire, BUT you did get handled without Joe!! That is a step towards changing it yourself! haha.. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

  4. Scotti July 8, 2013 at 11:23 am #

    Happy happy birthday! I always enjoy reading your yearly goals, makes me feel motivated!

    Looooooove you!

  5. Christine July 8, 2013 at 5:34 pm #

    i think the goal needs to be RUN a half marathon, not just sign up for one!

  6. Ashley July 8, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

    Happy Birthday! Such a great list. Chiang Mai and Provence were both amazing for cooking classes. Make sure you sign up and train for the half marathon…I made that mistake and learned the hard way. Apparently only run/walking 6 miles before a half is a poor life choice.

    Have a lovely day!!

  7. Monica July 9, 2013 at 5:41 am #

    Happy birthday!! Wow, it sounds like you’ve got a lot planned for the next year! Good luck and I hope you manage to complete it all :)

  8. Naomi July 9, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    Happy (belated) birthday! Your 25 before 25 post has inspired me to do the same for my birthday so come August I’ll have plenty to get doing! Excited to see how they all pan out!

    • Naomi July 9, 2013 at 10:25 am #

      And 26 before 26 post I mean!

  9. Alouise July 9, 2013 at 5:55 pm #

    Belated Happy Birthday. I love the idea of setting goals like these on your birthday, and setting travel and non-travel goals. I’m turning 29 in a couple weeks – I might have to start thinking about the 30 things I want to do before I’m 30.

  10. Amanda July 12, 2013 at 3:13 pm #

    Happy belated birthday! These all sound like great goals, and I hope you’re able to achieve them all!

  11. This Battered Suitcase July 14, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

    This is an awesome list! My next birthday is 30, and my 29th already happened in May, but I may post something like this myself. I love making these sorts of lists with goals, even if I know I will only accomplish a few of them.

    Good luck with everything – I have a feeling you will be able to cross off a lot of these by 26!


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