I turned 30 last month; a lot has changed in the past 10 years! Here’s the TL; DR of the longer intro I’m not going to write: I turned 30; here are some ways that I’ve changed and some things that I’ve learned along the way about travel, sexuality, introversion, and wisdom teeth.

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Travel: Everything and Nothing

It’s hard to summarize the importance of travel in this past decade, because it’s been such an integral part of life. The World has been the place where I worked, studied, lived, was closeted, came out, was overwhelmingly shy, became more confident and open, and had moments of immense pride, shame, and learning. Those moments were impacted by people I knew and met and collaborated with in many different cities and countries.

Travel has been everything, but at the same time it’s been nothing because it’s so deeply ingrained in how I live and who I am. In some ways I’ve stayed true to my early twenties self, when I wanted the bubble I lived in to keep expanding. That said, I’m ecstatic about having a new home base. Victoria feels like home. I know I may be in and out and may move on eventually, but I’m putting down roots here and I love it.

In my thirties I want to…

Do more besides acknowledge my privilege, especially as it relates to travel! It’s time to think critically about ethical travel, whose perspectives and stories I read before visiting a place, the importance of words when writing about travel, and how to navigate the power imbalance that exists so often in travel (as a white Westerner). Most of these goals are inspired directly by this stimulating, practical piece.

Sexuality: Come out, come out, wherever you are!

This pretty much defines the past decade for me – I wrote about it in detail last winter. From dating my first boyfriend at 20 to realizing I wasn’t straight to coming out to becoming my queer self, basically the past ten years were consumed by my transformation from shy larva caterpillar thing to supergay butterfly/metaphor-maker extraordinaire. I’ve floated in and out of closets, and I’m not always entirely out, but better out than in Shrek always says, and I have to agree. (I promise I’ve written about this more eloquently.)

Coming out is everything. It opened the door to real conversations and real relationships and communication. Life just keeps getting gayer and gayer! Unlike travel though, my sexuality isn’t seamlessly integrated into my core identity just yet. It’s something I’m proud of, but I still feel nervous and exhausted coming out in certain situations (even when safety is not an issue).

In my thirties I want to…

Continue to integrate my sexuality/queer perspective into different aspects of my life, and feel comfortable expressing who I am. Learn more about gender diversity, and become a better ally to gender non-confirming folks and youth.

Introversion: Embrace it

I used to see introversion as a setback, but now I think it’s (mostly) wonderful. You can totally navigate an extroverted world (or a more extrovert-friendly situation) with your introvert superpowers. (It’s just a little bit tiring.) Moving to different cities in my twenties taught me some good strategies, but it’s also been nice to travel to some places that just feel more comfortable to be an introvert.

In my thirties I want to…

Just keep trying to give fewer f*cks! Strike a balance between FOMO and respecting my personal social energy limits. So far, so good. Being a yes person was a successful strategy for meeting new people, but now that I have a reliable social circle I have to make sure that I’m a ‘no’ person sometimes too (give me all the downtime plzzz).

Wisdom teeth: An extra nugget of wisdom

Just… maybe don’t wait until you’re on the edge of thirty to get your wisdom teeth removed unless you absolutely have to. If you are young (in the dental world), with spongy mouth bones (and dental insurance), go forth, to the dentist! Rid yourself of your wisdom! But if you’re old (in the dental world), like me, holy crap ow ow it hurts so much for so long, don’t do it.

In my thirties…

If my teeth are bothering me, sucks to be my mouth. Bring on the dental issues. They are staying put.

 

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