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.
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.
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.
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.
21. Sign up for a half marathon. I’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.