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  • Jen Williams

My #30by30 Bucket List!

Updated: Dec 3, 2019

Like a lot of other instagrammers and travel bloggers, I have set myself travel goals. As well as hoping to visit all seven continents during my lifetime, I’ve hopped on the #30by30 bandwagon, with the aim of visiting 30 countries by the age of 30. As I have already visited 21 countries (including stopovers, mind you) and still have four and a half years to go, I don’t think this is too unreasonable!


I’m planning to work on some non-list-based articles after this week, as a familiar pattern is starting to appear on my blog! I do love a good list though, so this week I’m counting down the countries I hope, and think I can reasonably expect to, make it into my first thirty.


A HUGE thank you to all of the wonderful travellers, bloggers, instagrammers, and photographers who allowed me to include their work in this article! I have added links to their respective profiles wherever possible - make sure you go and show them some appreciation and give them a follow!


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IRELAND

Places of interest: Dublin

It makes sense to start my list with Ireland, as my trip is already booked! I will be visiting my 22nd country in August to see the Foo Fighters for the first time and spend a couple of days exploring the city! While there are plenty of other amazing places in Ireland I would like to see, this trip is just a quick one, and I can’t wait to explore this iconic city everyone seems to love! I adore this shot by @kellyprincewright from her time in Dublin earlier this year - her insta is full of gorgeous street shots! As well as central Dublin, I’m also hoping I can squeeze in a visit to Trinity College Library for some serious library goals!



LATVIA

Places of interest: Riga

I have never been to Latvia, but I have had a soft spot for the country since I heard their Eurovision Song Contest entry in 1998. Strange fact, I know, but it was the first Eurovision I was allowed to stay up and watch, and it is a cracking song - I have had a thing with Latvia ever since!


Over the last few months I have been falling in love with Riga, its gorgeous capital city, and I’m really keen to take a quick solo trip over there, which I’m semi-planning on doing during the summer. Ideally, I’d add in a trip to Tallinn for a couple of days as well, but I don’t think I’m going to have time unfortunately. I’d love to just spend a couple of days exploring Riga's old town and some of its other main attractions! How beautiful is this shot by @helenabradbury, looking over Riga’s old town and its fairytale-like buildings?! Helena has a stunning gallery full of colourful portraits from her travels, so make sure you take a look!



UZBEKISTAN

Places of interest: Tashkent, Khiva, Bukhara, Samarkand, Registan

Within the last six months or so, it seems like everyone and their brother has been flocking to the “Stans”, at least from what I can see on Instagram! Uzbekistan has been one country in particular that I’ve been intrigued by – it has the most incredible mosques and mausoleums and is relatively untouched by tourism (for now). I would love to visit the gorgeous Itchan Kala in Khiva, Ark Citadel in Bukhara, and Registan in Samarkand, not to mention the stunning metro system in Tashkent! There’s a relatively good chance that I might get to visit this amazing country later this year, which would be incredible, and so Uzbekistan holds a strong third spot on my #30by30 list!


I have featured two of my favourite shots from Bukhara by @always.joa and @lostwithjess, who both take incredible photos, so make sure you go and check out their takes on Uzbekistan!




TURKEY

Places of interest: Istanbul, Göreme/Cappadocia, Pamukkale, Ephesus, Side

Next on my list is a country I am lowkey obsessed with. Up until about a year ago I had very little interest in this country, but I didn’t know what I was missing! My Instagram-generated love for Turkey unsurprisingly started with Göreme and Cappadocia – aka the world’s most grammable location! I really struggle to believe it’s real, and I think it’s at the top of my bucket list to visit – possibly my ideal honeymoon destination, whenever the time for that may be. @mstfatyfn and @yunusstug have plenty of truly incredible shots of Cappadocia between them - honestly how can it be real?




Since then I’ve looked more into other areas of the country, such as the amazing thermal pools in Pamukkale, and the ancient cities in Ephesus and Side, but Istanbul now stands out to me as a city I have to visit. If I end up visiting Uzbekistan this year, I will need to make a stopover in Istanbul, so *technically* I can then check it off my list! Of course, I would much rather afford myself time to explore and visit all its incredible monuments – the Hagia Sophia is my #1 must-see for when I finally make it to Istanbul! Another gorgeous shot from @lostwithjess should explain why! Thank you again to @yunusstug for a beautiful overview of Istanbul as well!




MONTENEGRO

Places of interest: Kotor, Budva, Perast

A little country that has been on my mind for the last few years is Montenegro, which I nearly visited two years ago during a trip to Croatia (we decided between a day trip to Mostar in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kotor in Montenegro – Mostar won in this case). Kotor, Budva and Perast are the three places I would most like to visit, with their amazing views over the Bay of Kotor, and an old town to explore. If I can squeeze in a long weekend trip later this year, I might end up in Montenegro! @juju.lovee is very honest in her post that her calves suffered significantly while in Kotor, but I truly think its beauty might be worth it!



AUSTRIA

Places of interest: Vienna, Halstatt, Salzburg, Innsbruck

My next #30by30 potential is a country I considered visiting last summer but ended up in Switzerland instead (and you can check out my Swiss highlights HERE!). Since last spring I have been completely enamoured with Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, with their adorable towns and stunning landscapes, and so much diversity within them. As I have already stepped foot in Switzerland and Germany, Austria occupies one of the top spots on my bucket list.


The cities of Vienna and Salzburg are two important destinations for me, although there’s probably an endless list of Austrian towns and cities I would enjoy. I absolutely love this shot by @lauraamy.t overlooking Vienna from St Stephen’s Cathedral - such an iconic view! I would love to visit the stunning town of Hallstatt too, which overlooks Hallstatter See, on the road between Salzburg and Graz. The Chinese felt compelled to construct a replica of Hallstatt in Guangdong province, so it must have something going for it!



JORDAN

Places of interest: Petra, Amman, Wadi Rum, Jerash

Next up is another insta-famous bucket list location, and somewhere that would definitely take me out of my comfort zone. Along with my new intrigue by the “Stans” and central Asia, the Middle East has also become somewhere I want to learn more about. Jordan is one of the countries I’d especially like to visit, and one I think could be relatively feasible, especially if I travel with a tour.


Of course, Petra is my #1 Jordanian destination, and one of my ultimate bucket list items, but the Wadi Rum desert and Jerash are also on my list, and a lot of the tours I have looked at travel to these spots as well. It would be cool to experience Amman as well, although I can’t say I know too much about it at the moment. These shots by @ammar.alatoout and @thirdeyetraveller are truly magical - Petra and Wadi Rum seem practically other-worldly!




EGYPT

Places of interest: Cairo, Giza, Luxor, Alexandria, Dahab

Egypt is another country in the Middle East/north Africa I’ve become interested in lately. Ever since we studied it in year three (i.e. age 8), I’ve thought ancient Egyptian history is amazing, but never had much of a desire to visit the country, mostly due to its renowned political disturbance. Shots such as these by @wishbonesnwanderlust and @life_of_ck really pique my interest in learning more about Egypt’s fascinating history, though!




I’m trying to be more open minded about the world, and not rely solely on my potentially-misinformed preconceptions, and I have heard lots of amazing things about Egypt. There are a number of tours I like the look of, some including Jordan as well, which I would love to squeeze in within the next year, although it’ll probably be a good 18 months before I actually have the time. There are so many gorgeous temples and pyramids and cities I would love to see, and a felucca cruise down the Nile would be absolutely magical!


MYANMAR

Places of interest: Bagan, Inle Lake, Yangon

Finally on this list – but by no means the least important – is Myanmar, which I have been in love with for the best part of a year now. As tourism is still a developing sector in the country, you aren’t faced with the same daunting and overwhelming crowds as in other parts of Asia, such as Thailand or some cities in Vietnam. From what I have seen, Myanmar is *stunning*. It has so many temples and pagodas I am dying to visit and explore; Bagan alone has over 2,000! There’s even a chance to see hot air balloons in this part of Myanmar as well – what more could you want? It only took a few shots like this one by @adventureholix for me to fall in love with this place from afar! As well as Bagan, Mandalay, Yangon, and Inle Lake are some other spots I’d love to see.



While I have visited 21 countries, my definition of “visiting” so far includes stopovers. I figure any country I have stood in counts! Of course, spending a couple of hours in an airport terminal, or getting off a coach for a quick McDonald’s breakfast, doesn’t constitute a real visit, so I have two bonus countries to make up for Hong Kong and the Netherlands, which I haven’t yet seen much of!


BONUS COUNTRY: LUXEMBOURG

Luxembourg is a country I’ve had my eye on for about a year now. When I started my job, I worried about never having time to travel, so looked into places in Europe I could visit in a weekend. A tiny country, only an hour’s flight from home, is Luxembourg! With castles, an old town, and plenty of historic buildings, I would love to spend a charming couple of days in this tiny place! I think this shot by @littlekhanswanderlust really captures the vibe of Luxembourg from the Casemates du Bock!



BONUS COUNTRY: BELGIUM

Belgium is another country I could reach in a matter of hours, and looks absolutely beautiful! There are so many gorgeous towns and cities I’ve heard so much about, but never made the effort to visit - Brugge, Ghent, and Brussels are among the cities I’d most like to visit! Surely these shots by @yannik_gartner and @danflyingsolo make you want to visit too!




Are you working towards a #30by30 goal? Which countries are on your list to visit next? Drop me a comment!


Thank you so much for reading my #30by30 wishlist – I’m super excited to see how many of these countries actually make into my first thirty, and I hope I hit that number in the next few years! Feel free to like / comment / share my article – it would mean the world to me – and subscribe to my mailing list if you’d like to be informed when I publish something new!


Don’t forget to say hi to the amazing creators who helped illustrate this article, they are all wonderful! I extend the biggest thanks to @kellyprincewright, @helenabradbury, @always.joa, @lostwithjess, @mstfatyfn, @yunusstug, @juju.lovee, @lauraamy.t, @ammar.alatoout, @thirdeyetraveller, @wishbonesnwanderlust, @life_of_ck, @adventureholix, @littlekhanswanderlust, @yannik_gaertner, and @danflyingsolo for allowing me to share their work!



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