#Before30BucketList: Travel Alone

(First, go to this post if you don’t know what my #Before30BucketList is. I’ll also be going back to that and noting each goal accomplished and maybe adding or editing some items, if you want to keep up but miss out on some of my posts.)

This one came about quite unexpectedly. I put it on my list but I didn’t really think I would pull it off. After all, I made this list when I turned 29 so I have to complete them all in a year. Of course, I thought inside the box when I wrote it down and imagined flying off to Guam or some shit all alone, knowing it would most likely not happen.

Then, while planning another #Before30BucketList adventure, problems arose.

My favorite author was on a book tour promoting his most recent book and he would be in my home state at the end of March.

So I made all my plans to go see him on a Tuesday. At least two other people were willing to join me on that date. Now, I had looked into it, so I knew for this specific signing, you had to purchase a ticket. I knew this, yet somehow I let it slip through my crowded brain and didn’t think to actually buy any tickets until the weekend before the event.

Of course they were sold out.

But since I had looked into it, I also knew that he was doing a signing in NYC the day before. And NYC was almost exactly the same distance from my house as the location I had planned on visiting. Coincidentally, none of the people who were available on Tuesday were available that Monday. But there was no way I was missing such an opportunity, so I decided to go alone.

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This is me, alone in my car, heading out to NYC.

I concluded that driving to New York was, in fact, traveling alone. I was driving over two hours away, and I was planning to explore some of the City and take it all in and not be bothered by other people’s agendas. It was somewhere I haven’t visited since I was 14, and it was somewhere many people traveled to from all over the world. So it counted.

(Admittedly, this wasn’t my main reason for going and I crossed three items off my list in this one trip, but when you have over 80 things to do in a year you have to conserve a little.)

I filled my tank and looked up the best (see: cheapest) parking garage and set my GPS and tuned my radio to country and left, without looking back.

The drive was enjoyable. Typically I hate driving far distances alone but I guess because I knew this was a self-adventure I took more pleasure in it. I stopped a million times to pee because I had downed two 24oz lattes before I left, but even the rest stops seemed like an experience.

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When I actually got into NYC, my father’s worst fear had me reeling with excitement: the crazy drivers. I loved it. I felt right at home. I blended in with the rest of the rat race, only I was no rat and I was not racing. While the other cars were speeding to or from work or home or meetings or appointments, I was simply partaking in the mayhem of my own free will. When someone did something unexpected, I matched the obnoxious rattling of driver’s horns with my own melodic (or maybe insane) laughter. I would have been happy having gone home after simply driving with the best.

I maneuvered my way to the parking garage quite easily for someone who had never driven in New York before — it was the walking that threw me off. I switched my phone GPS to walking mode but first it didn’t know which direction I was facing so I walked back and forth until it figured it out and told me where to go. Then wherever it told me to go was wrong so I walked back and forth again until I chose a direction and just kept walking, because I knew my destination was on 86th street somewhere. I chose correctly because I only had to walk another block.

When I arrived, I had four whole hours to kill. So I perused the book store and read a little and colored a little and people-watched a little, but my anxiety started to kick in (as it sometimes does if I stay in one place for too long) so I went outside. There I met an adorable homeless dog lying in her person’s lap. I went over and talked to them and asked if I could sit with them. The person seemed skittish at first — I think maybe he thought that if I was sitting with him I would either want some of his money or I would scare away the kind people who might be willing to help him by not looking homeless enough (although I almost always look kind of homeless).

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I started talking to him but he mumbled so I didn’t make out his name or his dog’s name, but I managed to get that he moved around a lot and the dog was a 6-year-old female (just like mine). I pet her for a while which gave his aching legs a break, then gave him a cigarette and 90% of the snacks I had brought with me (I literally had no extra money). Sometimes he was very friendly but others he gave the impression that he was uninterested in my company, so I went on my way and by the time I came back they were gone.

I watched the hodgepodge of people weave their way through one another and intersections and around grates. There were young women pushing strollers and hipsters skateboarding and old men in suits. No one seemed scared, no one seemed threatening, no one seemed angry when I did obviously-touristy things.

I wandered for a bit but never far from the bookstore, because although I was aware that I was considering this traveling alone for my list, I was also aware that the tiniest mishap could ruin my other list items. And don’t worry, there’s way more to this trip, but that’ll be explained in upcoming posts.

Honestly, the most thrilling part was driving. I watched the car lights and the building lights and the bridge lights and the waters and the highways. I had not a care in the world so I took it all in as much as I could. I wish there were a way to be the driver but also see everything around you.

For some reason my GPS took a different route home, which elated me because that meant I could see even more.

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On the way home I, again, drove as I wanted and listened to what I wanted and weaved through traffic the way I love to do, and when I got home I crawled into bed with my husband and dog and drifted off into a blissful sleep.

Companions: Music, Homeless Dog & Her Person

Cost
Gas: $30
Tolls: Courtesy of Dad
Parking: $20

Goal Total: $50

3rd Goal Accomplished
List Item #63: Travel Alone
On 3-27-2017

Bucket List Total: $124

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#Before30BucketList

Hey.

So.

I know I’ve been gone for a while. I also know that good blog posts don’t start off that way. But I’m a rule-breaker so deal with it.

Anyway, lots of stuff has been going on. I still don’t have my own working computer, which is the main reason I’ve been gone. I’m using my dad’s because I just can’t handle not writing anymore. I know I have to fill you in on the past thousand years (I got married?!), but for now we’re just going to act like there hasn’t been a giant gap and dive right in to the here and now.

I turned 29 on March 19th. Not usually a big deal. Typically, people freak out when they turn 30. But I’ve never done things typically. So I realized that I’m fine with the firsts that come with change — I’m always down to try new things; the issue I have is letting go of the lasts. Therefore, since 29 is the last year of my 20s, it’s difficult for me.

But I put that freak out to good use.

I’ve already been getting out and about and exploring and experiencing more in the past year than usual. But I decided to go big this year. First, I dubbed it my “year of experiences” — in which I would try my hardest to get out there and experience life instead of remaining uninterested and bed-ridden. Then it quickly changed to my “yes year” — meaning I would say yes to anything and everything people invited me to or even mentioned. From there, I decided there were things I wanted to do so the whole thing turned into a sort of bucket list. But a Before 30 Bucket List. Along with going with the flow and having fun experiences that come my way, there’s a list of about 80 things (and growing) that I’m trying my damnedest to accomplish by my next birthday. Which means I have until March 18th, 2018 to do a shitton of stuff.

I made this list in part by Googling those dumb articles about “30 Things to Accomplish Before you Turn 30” and incorporating some of their ideas into my own. It was a funny adventure, however, because when you think about it how many people really think to look at those lists in their late teens or early 20s? I’m guessing most people don’t really hunker down about being successful in their 30s until they’re close to 30, so some of the lists cracked me up. One of them had “Travel Alone,” “Have A Baby,” “Live Abroad,” and “Buy A House”. All on the same list. Sorry, but only superheroes can pull off all that shit in a year. I did add one of those things to my personal list, though, so it wasn’t a total loss.

I’ve already knocked out a few items, and those posts are in the works. I plan to keep you updated on all of the list shenanigans, and I’m keeping track of the random stuff that happens to come along but isn’t on the list so I can give you a wrap-up at the end of the year (MY Year, not the Calendar Year). But first I simply wanted to introduce to you the idea, and prepare you for the posts to come.

So here is my list. Many things are vague and I allow wiggle room. You’ll find out what I mean by that in upcoming posts of things I’ve achieved. In italic are my plans/ideas, so you can join me!

1. Rock Out At A Concert
2. Go To A Brewery  
3. Meet Favorite Author
4. Attend A Big Sports Event (76ers)
5. Unplug For A Full Day
6. Try A New Sport (Surfing)
7. Girls’ Getaway
8. Learn To Play An Instrument (Online course from SkillSuccess)
9. Improve Wine Knowledge (Online course from EventTrix)
10. Learn Family History (Family Tree DNA Test)
11. Learn To Gamble (Card Games Book)
12. Learn To Cook (Online course from Rouxbe)
13. Visit A New American City (Denver Sept 27th through Oct 3rd)
14. Have Portrait Taken
15. Read Classic Novel About Women, By A Woman 
16. Go Skinny Dipping
17. Throw A Dinner Party
18. Test Drive Dream Car (Velocity Driving in Philly)
19. Sing Karaoke (Clancy’s in Somers Point, NJ every Tuesday night)
20. Skydive (Tandem Skydive @ Skydive Baltimore / Tandem Skydive @ Skydive Jersey)
21. Climb A Mountain / Rock Climb (while in Denver)
22. Learn To Bartend (Online course from Bartender & Barista)
23. Scuba Dive (Discover Scuba Diving Course @ Indian Valley Scuba in PA)
24. Learn A New Language 
25. Go Camping
26. Volunteer 
27. Go Whitewater Rafting (Valley to Summit in PA)
28. Apply For Dream Job (Submit book manuscript to publishers)
29. Go Hiking (in Denver)
30. Learn Astronomy 
31. Stop Drinking Soda Altogether (Last soda on March 19th – half a soda on June 9th, half on August 3rd, half on August 6th)
32. Ride A Roller Coaster (6 Flags in Jackson, NJ)
33. Learn To Dance
34. Dive With Sharks (Cage Diving in West Palm Beach in November)
35. Start Workout Routine √
36. Get Organized
37. Stop Smoking
38. Read A History Book (Lies My Teacher Told Me by James W Loewen)
39. Learn How To Build A Computer (Online Course from International Open Academy)
40. Fire A Gun 
41. Write A Letter To Yourself Now (At 29) As If You’re 39 
42. Eat Healthier
43. Get A Passport
44. Experience Something You Dreamed Of When You Were Younger 
45. Take A How-To Class
46. Write A Book (In progress)
47. Read A Classic Book 
48. Watch A Classic Movie 
49. Make A New Family Tradition 
50. Learn A DIY Craft
51. See A Broadway Show (Cats)
52. Ride A Motorcycle
53. Go Fishing
54. Invest
55. Get A High-End Name Brand (i.e. Expensive) Bag or Pair Of Shoes 
56. Walker Stalker Con (New Jersey Dec 10th)
57. Buy A Round For The House
58. Budget
59. Visit A Famous Fictional Location (Coyote Ugly in Denver)
60. Visit A Rock Icon Location (Strawberry Fields — John Lennon Memorial @ Central Park, NYC)
61. Rent A Vacation House With Friends
62. Throw A Fundraiser
63. Travel Alone
64. Go To A Music Festival
65. Party In A Big City
66. Complete a 5k / Walk For Charity
67. Eat At A Famous Restaurant (Tavern on the Green in Central Park)
68. Eat Something Unusual
69. Watch A Meteor Shower (Aug 12th, Oct 7-8th, Oct 22nd, Nov 18th, Dec 13th, Dec 22nd)
70. Ride A Mechanical Bull (Mountain Bar @ Bally’s Casino, AC, NJ)
71. Get Lost On Purpose In An Unfamiliar Place
72. Bake A Cheesecake
73. Explore All Of Central Park
74. Go Horseback Riding 
75. March In An LGBT Pride Parade
76. Go Skiing / Snowboarding
77. Go To A Tattoo Convention (Bally’s Casino, AC, NJ Nov 3rd, 4th, 5th)
78. Bring Son To Storybook Land
79. Get A Job 
80. Zipline (while in Denver)
81. Improve Credit
82. Go Back To College
83. Go To A Rodeo (Cowtown Rodeo)
84. Get Out Of Debt 
85. Finish Sleeve
86. See Favorite Band Live (Guns N’ Roses October 8th in Philly)
87. Ride In A Hot Air Balloon (while in Denver)

So there you have it. I even bought a nifty “Bucket List Journal” so I can keep track of everything.

I know it’s a lot to take on. And I know some things are probably not going to happen. But I’m going to do my best to try to at least attempt them all within the next year. Or, technically, 11 months, 1 week, and 1 day.

Also, I have already done many things on this list throughout my life. But once you put it all down on paper and in front of you, you realize how little you do the fun things anymore and how much time has passed since your last adventure, so these are simply all the things I’d like to accomplish while I’m 29 — no more, no less.

Also also I’m not doing them in order so you’ll be seeing random numbers throughout the next 11 months, 1 week, and 1 day.

Do you have a bucket list? Do you want to do mine with me? Do you have any advice or ideas for new goals? Let ‘er rip in the comments!

(p.s. thank you for sticking with me throughout my ridiculousness.)

(p.p.s. I met Jenny Lawson aka The Bloggess but technically that happened four days before I turned 29 so it’s not part of the list, I just wanted to tell you how excited I am about it, and let you know that I’ll write about it soon.)