30 Countries Before 30: Where I’ve been thus far

In less than 2 months I will be 30, it’s no longer daunting but quite exciting. Two years ago I put together a 30B430 bucketlist which I am nowhere near completing but excited nonetheless. Whilst the bucketlist is not all travel, half is about travel to my favourite cities. The other half is experiences I would love to encounter before I am 30.

Looking back 2 years is not really enough time but then again it is when you look at my travel challenge. I managed to travel at least once a month to somewhere abroad. I participated in the #take12trips travel challenge where you visited 12 cities/countries in 12 months. In the last two years I have seen more countries and cities compared to 28 years before that. It’s amazing what one can do with the right opportunities and mindset. I am not rich by any means but I endeavor to visit 30 Countries Before 30. The idea I got from a fellow blogger and excited to share where I have been in the last 29+ years.

30 Countries Before 30: Where I’ve been thus farย 

Turning 30 is a big deal and dependent on how you look at it, it can be terrifying or very gratifying. I for one I am looking forward to it and thankful to the lord for bringing me this far. It is why I have chosen to share my travels of the last 29+ years in chronological order.

1. Zambia ๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฒ – Motherland

Born and raised in the Copperbelt, one of the 9 provinces of Zambia. I am the first of three with a large extended family scattered all over the country. With such a large family we visited practically all provinces except Northern. Zambia to those who don’t know is a landlocked country in Southern Africa NOT SOUTH AFRICA. It gained its independence from colonial Britain in 1964, October 24th. The main mineral is copper and staple food is Nshima {akabwali}.

30 Countries Before 30

2. United Kingdom ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง { England, Wales, Scotland + Northern Ireland – not yet been}

In December 2004 we emigrated to the United Kingdom for a better education and life in general. Remainder of my teens and all of my twenties I have lived in the UK. It is a second but current home which has afforded me so much. I have visited almost all the countries that make United Kingdom except Northern Ireland.

3. Germany ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช { Dusseldorf, Munich, Hamburg & Berlin}

It’s surreal to think I have just returned from Berlin. A country as a kid only knew of from the Atlas maps and geography books or the globe and nothing more. Fast forward many years and it’s barely 2+ hours from me and very much within reach. I have loved every city I have visited in Germany and glad to have finally been to Berlin.

Related: Hamburg Weekend Getaway

4. Spain ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ { Costa de sol in Malaga}

Malaga is very close to my heart, not only is it similar to my surname it’s also the first vacation abroad with my ex. I loved it there, it was such an experience which I won’t be forgetting any time fast. The weather was overbearing but perfect for the beach, soaking in the sun and enjoying the breeze.

5. Lithuania ๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡น {Kaunas, Kedainiai, Vilnius}

God knows I loved every visit to this beautiful country and that’s all I will say. Definitely worth a visit for those who have Eastern Europe in their plans.

6. Malawi ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ผ {Lilongwe, Blantyre}

Not sure if I can claim it as motherland but my mother is from their and grandmother lives there. I remember my first visit in 2012, it was definitely an epic experience especially with all the family. Though I am told I had been before I don’t remember it as I was a kid then.

7. South Korea ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท {Seoul}

The first international country I visited immediately after becoming a dual citizen of United Kingdom and Zambia. It was my first 16+ hours solo flight where I would discover I am more capable than I originally thought. The experience of visiting South Korea was second to none at that point.

8. Belgium ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ช {Brussels}

Brussels was the first city in Europe I ever took a solo trip in. It was definitely an experience I still relive today and glad I went. I have been two more times since and I still can’t get enough.

9. United States ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ {New York}

This was a business trip which I included a couple of days to see New York City especially times square and Central Park. I inadvertently saw Trump towers but missed out of the Empire State Building.

10. Slovenia ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฎ {Ljubljana, Bled, Primostek}

Ljubljana marked the first solo trip as part of my #take12trips travel challenge. It would define me more than Brussels and ignite the traveling fire spirit in me.

reasons you should explore slovenia

11. Czech Republic ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฟ {Prague, Brno}

Prague would mark the first trip of many in 2016. It opened doors inside me that I didn’t know were closed or even existed. Whilst Prague was not a solo trip it taught me so much with that I embarked on 2016 with zealousness.

12. Austria ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡น {Vienna}

I had planned to spend 4-days in Brno only to find you can tour the entire city in half a day. With that I had 3-days to burn so I chose to visit Vienna with it only being 2 hours away. Again a very terrifying experience not knowing what you’re doing but exhilarating when you go with the flow.

13. Slovakia ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฐ {Bratislava}

The remainder day from my 4-day tour of Brno I opted to spend it in Bratislava. The city is a mere 2 hours by train from Czech Republic’s Brno city.

Bratislava

14. The Netherlands ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ {Amsterdam}

A city I have long dreamed to visit one day and even promised a friend who resides there. It was a dream come true to both visit the city and see my friend. Next visit I plan will be all about the Ann Franklin Museum.

30 Countries Before 30: Half-way Point.

15. Poland ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฑ {Warsaw}

Was never on any list of mine but when you’ve got friends everywhere its paramount to visit. Though it was blooming freezing when I visited it was the best decision as a solo traveler. I am still encapsulated by the old town of Warsaw and fascinated by the power of the polish people in rebuilding the city.

16. Norway ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ด {Oslo, Rygge}

I fell in love with a Norwegian on TV and wanted to go see for myself. As South Korean TV has taught me, what you see on TV is not replicated in real life. Boy did I make the right decision, every dude I saw was a freaking viking in his own right. Though the name of the bar escapes I know exactly where it is to find my vikings.

explore the heart of paris

17. France ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท {Paris + Disneyland, Nice}

For the longest time I had wanted to visit Disneyland Paris like crazy. Paris I had wanted to visit but held off because I thought I would go with my love. But that didn’t happen and I learnt a lesson of never putting your life on hold for someone else. If you could see me when I arrived in Disneyland Paris you wouldn’t believe a 28yo was there. Not that there is anything wrong with adults visit but wow, I was a kid again. Paris the city I loved big time but enjoyed it more the second time round more than first.

18. Ireland ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช {Dublin}

Irish ๐Ÿ€ coffee or whiskey anyone? No, hoe about a baby Guinness shot? All these were new to me and boy did I fall in love or what. I would return to this awesome city because of that and the lovely people not for the weather.

Copenhagen

19. Denmark ๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฐ {Copenhagen}

Your visit to Scandinavia wouldn’t be complete without the a dip into the Danish city of Copenhagen. Whilst they were short on viking looking men but made up in every other way. This is a city after my own heart.

20. South Africa ๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฆ {Johannesburg, Pretoria}

Though the aim was to visit my family residing on Johannesburg I did get a chance to see other parts of South Africa. Next time I go I want to see Cape Town and maybe the safari too.

21. Italy {Milan, Venice}

The visit to Venice was epic, though we were in Milan and stayed in Milan we hardly ventured out. I am excited to book a couple more Italian cities like Florence and Rome.

Monte Carlo

22. Monaco {Monte Carlo}

It was an impromptu decision to visit Monaco whilst I was in the south of France but best one ever. I was able to explore the majority of this tiny country in half a day and it was truly epic. Definitely want to go back but this time to watch formula one.

23. Hungary {Budapest}

Who wouldn’t love to visit Budapest? I know I would go back in a heartbeat if I ever got a chance to see it again. Every thing is as good as you hear especially at night cruising on the Danube or spending all day in a thermal bath.

24. Cyprus {Limassol, Nicosia, Paphos, Larnaca}

I have always been intrigued by this small island in the Mediterranean sea not only by the weather but foods too. When I finally did get a chance to visit I try to explore it all in space of 4-days.

Larnaca

25. Sweden {Stockholm}

I love Swedish people, not only do they have awesome DJ’s they practice Hygge like the Danish. I love that they take time out of their day to just sit and enjoy life, taking a moment to appreciate it all.

30 Countries Before 30: Excluded countries

I have chosen to exclude the following countries because most were airport layovers or I spent less than 3 hours. It would have been easier to add them but where is the fun in that?

  1. Fukuoka, Japan – I had a 14-hour layover and because the airport is not 24 hours I had to book a hotel. I didn’t really get to explore the city, I just had my food, looked for a minute and went to sleep.
  2. Shanghai, China – I had a 3-hour layover and did not set foot outside the airport.
  3. Nairobi, Kenya – flights with Kenyan Airways you always have a layover at Kenyatta international airport. All the times I have used the airway on route to Zambia I am not set foot outside the airport.
  4. Dubai, United Arab Emirates – again same thing as Kenyan Airways, not set foot outside the airport no matter the length of layover.
  5. D.R.C Congo – Zambia borders with Congo and I have visited the no-man’s lands and set foot in Congo but only for a minute.

I am not even going to say technically I have visited 30 countries already because I actually haven’t. As a wanderlust traveler, I am looking forward to visiting 5 more countries in the next 9 weeks. Wish me luck as I will need it.

For those who are 30 or will soon be 30, have you done {or started} this type of challenge {self}? How are you progressing?

 

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  • Hi Miranda,

    What an exciting journey! 30 countries. OMG! It should be a good experience to you. Travelling through various countries, different cultures and food habits. Really a dream journey.

  • OhNikka

    This list is so amazing!! You inspire me to make a list like this!

  • polarbelle

    That’s an amazing accomplishment this far, keep it up! I’ve always wanted to visit Ireland and the UK.

  • Stephanie

    wow that is amazing! well done on travelling so much, creating so many memories

  • Wow you only have 5 more places before you compete your list! Amazing and I have always wanted to go to Seoul!

  • Holly H

    Wow! What a travel history you have – will have to seek any Berlin blog posts you’ve written as I’m thinking of taking a trip there in September!

  • Baby Isabella

    You are very lucky even if you didn’t get near your target. We’d like to visit more of The States and would love to explore Japan! Maybe one day…

  • Love You Wedding

    Oh you are so lucky to be able to do this. I have not traveled as extensively as you. I wish I did when I was younger. Anyway, I’ve been to the places I dreamed of when I was a little girl, so in a way, I feel sort of “accomplished.”

  • Rebecca Swenor

    Wow this is indeed a wonderful challenge to yourself before you turn 30. You are so lucky to have traveled all these places. Thanks for shairng your amazing achievement.

  • Great idea for a challenge. I have a phobia of flying but maybe I could do something where I visit all the counties of the UK…

  • Never tried a challenge like this. Don’t think I could manage to do this now. Maybe when the kids are older. Been to most of the cities here though. New York is next on my list.

  • David E

    I’m impressed. I wish I had been able to travel this much when I was younger. There is something amazing about experiencing everything with fresh eyes. And like you I would have loved to have gone to Paris Disneyland. I really hope to some day.

  • Alison Rost

    Wow! What a great adventure you had! I wish I can also have a list like this.

  • Kara

    Wow, you have done really well so far and what an incredible list of places you have been

    • Thank you Kara, it’s been truly incredible thus far

  • You have quite the list accumulated! That’s amazing – so many people dream of traveling but you’re totally going for it! I loved Spain when I visited – we went to the Salvador Dali museum and it was incredibly interesting.

    • Thank you, I made a conscience decision to ensure I traveled as much as I can whilst I am still capable.

  • TheNewClassy

    i guess it is safe to say that you are well traveled! I thought that I had been to a lot of places, but my list of countries pales in comparison to yours.

    • Aww thanks lol ๐Ÿ˜‚

  • Chloe

    You have been to some truly beautiful places! I’d love to visit Zambia one day, it looks stunning!

    • It’s such a beautiful place and I know I am biased but it’s epic

  • chubskulit

    Oh wow, way to go ! I think it is wonderful that you set that goal.

  • Wow, that is an incredible list. Not traveling has been a major regret of mine, but we are almost empty nesters, so there is hope for us yet.

    • Awww bless and I hope after the kids have flown the nest you can start

  • Nickolai Kinny

    That’s great going! Which of these remains your favourite place?

    • Paris and Monaco are my top favourites at the moment

  • Lauren Porter

    Wow that’s an impressive list in such a short space of time! x

    • Thank you Lauren, it truly is short when it comes to execution

  • Wow good luck doing 5 more countries in the next 9 weeks where are you going to go and what are you going to do I wonder.

    • Thank you Sarah, I have two destinations already planned and 2 more in the pipeline so just stuck on one!

  • Mars

    Fantastic list. I hope I could got to Spain and a lot in Europe before hitting 30. I’m going to Seoul late this year. I’m so excited. Yay!

    • Oh how nice, I am still debating between Seoul and Johannesburg. I have been to both at least once (three times in Seoul). So will see

  • This is really incredible. I’ve been to two countries before 30 – USA and Canada. Yikes.
    I want to see Europe next. So many places to see!

    • I am yet to explore Canada and USA I barely scratched the surface

  • You’ve been to a lot of amazing places! I have been to several of these–growing up my mother was in the military so we were in Europe most of the time. Germany, Italy, Belgium..and we were able to travel, which was a blast!

    • Aww sounds awesome, we didn’t travel outside the country when I was young but did travel enough within

  • Candy Kage

    Wow you are doing pretty darn good with all your travels before the age of thirty. You really didn’t get to see the U.S. have to come back and really see this big country.

    • I couldn’t agree more, I definitely need to come visit the USA properly

  • I love this idea! I will be 30 next year ๐Ÿ™ and would love to try out a modified version of this!

    • You should definitely get on board and think of things you want to do and are achievable

  • I was looking forward to our feature already! But i guess I can wait nine weeks and I hope it works out.

    I def can’t do 30 countries before 30, but I’ve interviewed two of my friends who have on my blog. So exciting and you can read them below.

    http://www.kacheetee.com/blog/2017/3/21/30-countries-before-30-ruchika-patel
    http://www.kacheetee.com/blog/2017/1/21/30countriesbefore30-kemi-onabanjo

    http://www.KacheeTee.com

    • Awww thanks Kachee, it’s been exciting and can not wait to do the other 5.

  • Alli Smith

    I’m so impressed! I love the idea of 30 Countries Before 30! It’s amazing what you have accomplished in the last two years. I also like that your reasoning as to why you didn’t include the countries where you had a 3-hour or less layover. Congrats to you!

    • Thank you Alli, I have had a blast so far and excited to visit more than 5 countries in my life time ๐Ÿ™‚