In a few short weeks, I'll no longer fall into the 20-something category.
I still haven't wrapped my head around the fact that I'm turning 30 this year. I remember when my parents were in their thirties, and they seemed so old. Truth is, I don't feel old at all. In fact, I feel better than ever.
I'm finally at a point where I know myself inside and out. I'm assertive and confident in my abilities. I have a beautiful home and a sweet husband whom I adore. I've also had plenty of unique life experiences to make me feel like I've truly lived. Several of these life-changing events were trips I've taken.
Before turning 30, I think there are three very important trips every woman should take:
The trip with her father. Most girls don't know their dads as well as their mothers. They've bonded with their moms from a young age through breastfeeding - and moms are still the primary childcare providers in most American families. That's why I believe it's especially important for a young woman to go on a trip alone with her father. It's the perfect chance for a girl to get to know her dad on a deeper level.
My dad sponsored my high school's choir trip to England when I was 15. Traveling across the world with him gave me a new perspective on my dad: I learned he was incredibly patient, as he had to share a room with a rambunctious 15-year old boy for over a week. I also learned he was more knowledgeable about history than most encyclopedias; he made an excellent tour guide as we spent eight fascinating hours together at the Tower of London.
The solo trip outside of her comfort zone. I have jetted from my hometown of Rapid City, S.D., to Dallas, Seattle, San Francisco, Milwaukee and Philadelphia for photo shoots as a part-time model. I fly by myself, locate my hotels by myself, and meet with representatives from modeling agencies that I've never laid eyes on before. I also work with new makeup artists, hair stylists and photographers - most with larger-than-life personalities.
The second I step onto the set of a photo shoot, I'm finally in my zone - leaping, dancing, laughing, smiling, frowning - as the camera snap, snap, snaps. I do all of this while navigating completely new cities. I've learned to have faith and confidence in my ability to care for myself, while simultaneously enjoying new adventures. Before I leave for a trip, I'm generally nervous - but when that plane takes off, I feel grateful for the new journey I'm about to embark on. I know I will be a changed woman for it.
The trip with the man she suspects is "the one." Before tying the knot with a man, it's essential to travel with him. Being together 24/7 in unfamiliar environments, facing unexpected challenges, and experiencing new adventures are ideal ways to see how you'll solve conflicts together.
After road-tripping to Montana with my husband David last summer, and realizing how seamlessly we traveled together, I was ready to take our relationship status from serious to engaged. I knew that if we could survive the long car ride and cramped hotel quarters without killing each other, we could handle most anything. Not only did we survive, we thrived. It was a positive omen for the lifelong trip we'll be taking together as a married couple.