bocas del toro panama

On Turning 30: A Birthday to Remember

Sisters on Isla Zapatilla

After turning 30, people often look back on their twenties and report that they were the years of self exploration and personal growth, for being wild and free. Many say they were the best years of their lives, and others argue life only gets better with age.

I’m only three months into my thirties, but so far I think I agree with them all.

turning 30

Overlooking the Rio Celeste in Costa Rica

My twenties were truly a decade for exploration, of myself and the world. I visited 17 countries and lived in three of them. I became more confident, more self aware, and more comfortable in my own skin. I earned an associate degree in Los Angeles, a bachelor degree in Oregon and a masters in Colorado. I was not only a student, but a teacher, too, challenging myself in some of the most trying ways, whether it was rowdy high school students in Thailand, sweet-natured university freshmen in China or their U.S. counterparts in Colorado. I’ve grown a successful blog, followed by a growing business, and I’ve had a lot of fun along the way.

turning 30

Read about my Nicaraguan volcano boarding experience here.

I hope that I’ve taught as much as I’ve learned, inspired as much as I’ve gained, and given more than I’ve taken.

Thus far, I can agree that my twenties were the best years of my short life, but I refuse to let them remain that way. Thirty is a new chapter, sure to be filled with new challenges, new rewards, new family and new friends.

I will always cherish my twenties, but I will always relish in change. 

I rang in my 30th birthday by marking my 18th and 19th countries — Costa Rica and Panama — with my sister and two of the best friends a girl could ask for. Later, I met Nicaragua (#20) and Guanajuato, Mexico alone.

With my friends, I basked in the Caribbean sun, under waterfalls and on sandy shores. We ate like queens, in our rented jungle homes, and we glamped (glamorous camping) on a private beach. We saw sloths and monkeys. We rode bikes, got massages, snorkeled/dived. We boat taxied from one island to another in Bocas del Toro, Panama, and later, I learned to surf the Pacific waves in Samara and Santa Teresa, Costa Rica. We celebrated life without a care in the world. Because for us, we will always be young and wild and free.

turning 30

Three of us are 30, and one’s not far away! We’re celebrating here in Bocas del Toro, Panama.

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