Friday, April 28, 2017

30 Before 30

I've been missing blogging again lately. There's been so many posts that I've wanted to write over the last few months. Here's to hoping they someday see the light of day, but until then, here's a random post.

I'm about a month away from turning 30. Entering a new decade of my life. Hal turned 30 six months ago, so for the last six months I've felt like I was already 30 too. Well, it's now finally hitting me as we're starting to plan my birthday trip that I'm actually turning 30 in a month.

Remember a few years ago when I did two posts about 30 things to do before turning 30? Well, since I'm turning 30 in a month I thought it was time for an update. You can see the old posts here. All the new ones I'm updating have pictures and are highlighted in blue. I've also updated a few of the old ones.

1. Jump off somethingWhether it be a tree by the river next to your childhood home or bungee jumping from the Victoria Falls Bridge in Zimbabwe.
-I will forever love this photo of Hal and I jumping off of Angkor Wat in 2011.

2. See one of the Seven Wonders of the WorldThis is a tough one, because at 30, well, you still have the bank account of a 29-year-old. The good news here is that it doesn't necessarily have to be one of the originals—go for the Golden Gate Bridge (modern world), the Grand Canyon (natural wonder), or the Mayan ruins in the Yucat√°n Peninsula (USA Today new wonder).
-The Great Wall of China, Or Angkor Wat. I want to see more!

3. Party in Las Vegas: No person should exit their 20s without doing something they regret in Sin City. The place was basically built for us.
- While I've never partied in Vegas, and I don't have any desire to at this point, I'm going to say I have essentially done this one. New Years Eve in the Gulf of Thailand was just as crazy as anything you can get yourself into in Vegas. We probably got away with more than you can do in Vegas thanks to Cambodia's lax laws.

4. Take a vacation that isn't Spring BreakYou had your opportunity to drink beer upside down and insist you don't need sunscreen while in college.
-I feel like we've fulfilled this one this in 2012 by going to ScotlandChina, and Vietnam. Too bad we can't travel like that always.

5. Attend at least one large celebration: Mardi Gras, Full Moon Party, Easter Mass—I don't care, as long as you have to throw elbows to get to the bar, or the alter.
-New Years Eve 2015 Hal and I did Time Square with some amazingly wonderful Peace Corps friends. We snuck our way to the heart of Times Square for a hot minute, and then finally settled into our spot for where we waited for another 5 hours for the ball to drop.

6. Hit up a nude beach: If for no other reason, use the time to look around and remind yourself of how young you actually are.
-I have yet to do this one...

7. Spend several days with only what will fit in a backpackIf you can brush your teeth with river water and comb your hair with a tree branch, you can most certainly figure out how to stop turning all of your white clothes pink.
-Having nothing in the Peace Corps makes you pro at living out of a backpack. Both Hal and I only took a backpack to China for a week. We each also only took one normal school backpack for three weeks in Asia in 2016. 

8. Swim in the oceanThis is a must.
-I agree, this is a must! I've been lucky to swim in the Gulf of Thailand, the Pacific ocean, and now the Atlantic ocean and Indian oceans.

9. Sleep somewhere where you have to light a fire to stay warmKudos if you can do so without matches.
-When we went camping in Yellowstone the first night and day it was snowing. It was so cold that no one wanted to leave the fire.

10. Do some sort of adrenaline sportRaft a Class V rapid, mountain bike Whistler in the summer, surf a wave larger than your torso—meaning: do something that scares you.
-I've been white water rafting in Jackson Hole, but never all class V rapids. This may seem silly to some, but I was terrified to ride on the back of Hal's motorcycle for the first time. It's definitely an adrenaline rush every time I put on that helmet and hop on the back. 
11. Hit up one of the Caribbean islands: There are thousands to choose from. You'll most likely visit more than one in your lifetime, get a good jump on it in your 20s.
-We were so lucky to go to the Dominican Republic for our honeymoon!

12. Take one ultimate road tripIt can be with buddies, it can be camping, it can be on Route 66, Route 1, or the Blue Ridge Parkway. Double points if you have a reliable car to get there.
-For my graduation present we drove from Utah to LA, up to San Fran, into Oregon and then back through Nevada and into Utah. It was such a blast!

13. Go somewhere alone: At 30 you should be confident and worldly enough to wake up in a foreign country and know how to get yourself home.
- When I was younger the idea of traveling alone was very scary. I've traveled quite a few times by myself now, mainly for work. Here I am in Miami.

14. Take a train somewhereThere are no hidden innuendos here. It's just nice to have the patience and maturity to sit still and watch the world go by.
-My first time on a legit train was in China from Bejing to the city of Xian.

15. Go to a music festivalHit up one of the big ones (Coachella, Bonnaroo, Glastonbury) and spend the weekend listening to good music, dancing, and having random song lyrics make you contemplate what you're doing with your life.
- During the college days I went to Warped Tour a few times. Since I'm not sure if any of those pictures still exist, enjoy this picture of baby Sam waiting in line to see HelloGoodbye, who I also saw at Warped Tour where I stalked them until they signed my CD.

16. Have one iconic Americana experienceThink Dollywood, Graceland, and Branson.
-I've never been to any of these places, and literally didn't know what Branson was until I saw it on an episode of the Simpsons. Guess there's still time to make it over to one of them.

17. Go to at least one of the Smithsonian museumsThe world's "largest museum and research complex" includes 19 museums, galleries, and parks—the majority of which are free.
- Moving to DC really helped this one. We've been to most of the Smithsonian museums out here, but we still have a few more to visit. Just this week we went to the wonderful Yayoi Kusama exhibit at the Hirshhorn Museum, which is as Smithsonian Museum. You get two pictures for this one, because it was that cool.

18. Summit a mountain: I'm not talking Everest, but you should by now have stood on a mountain peak high enough that you're worried about getting back down.
- July 4, 2015, Here I am on top of Old Rag Mountain in Shenandoah National Park.

19. Be able to name your top five dream vacationsIt's OK if one of them is "home."
- 1. Iceland 2. Eastern Europe 3. Scuba diving at Grand Cayman 4. Hiking Machu Picchu 5. A giant road trip over all of the U.S.

20. See a game at a classic ballpark: If Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, or Joe Dimaggio hasn't played in it, it doesn't count.
-I've only been to a National's game, but those are pretty darn fun.

21. Visit a neighbor to our north or south: There's a hall pass to be had for out of the continent, but by 30 you should have crossed at least one landlocked border.
-September 2016. For our 8th anniversary Hal and I finally made it to Canada. Here we are at Niagra Falls and we spent the weekend in Toronto.

22. Do something so adventurous that it requires a doctor's visitWhether it requires a series of preventative vaccines before or a cast/splint/cream after, the goal here is that the adventure at hand was so extreme that you need to seek the advice of a trained professional.
-I'm gonna say the many doctors appointments I needed to pass the medical requirements to qualify to join the Peace Corps count. Especially since I caught Dengue Fever while in Cambodia.

23. Save pennies to go somewhere you really want to goIt doesn't have to be extravagant, but you should have to work for it.
-We saved our pennies to pay for out Scotland trip, which was the trip I had been dreaming of since I was a teenager. We went in 2012.

24. Go to New York CityEat a slice of pizza, stand in the middle of Times Square, and ride the Subway to somewhere, anywhere. This trip is made even better if you can't afford a decent hotel and book a hostel instead.
-New York was my favorite part of my honeymoon. We've been lucky to go back quite a few time since moving to DC.

25. Sleep under the stars: In your backyard, in a tent on safari in Kenya, or in the camping pit of an organized event—be extra proud if your experience was made significantly more successful by a can of bug spray.
-I've definitely slept in the backyard under the stars, or in my sleeping bag while camping. I miss the mountain stars out west.

26. Eat an iconic city meal: Options include a cheesesteak in Philly, clam chowder in Boston, deep-dish pizza in Chicago, crabs in Baltimore, gumbo in New Orleans, BBQ in Memphis, and a beer in Milwaukee.
A post shared by Sam Morgan (@samnhalblog) on

- I finally did it. I don't eat cheese or steak and I'm not supposed to eat bread, but I tried that dang philly cheesesteak in Philly in March 2017.

27. Know all of the best places to take tourists in your home cityPhilly's LOVE Park may be just a point of congestion to locals, but trust me, your mother will love it.
-I could probably still play tour guide to Salt Lake, but we've definitely been a tour guide many many times here in DC.

28. Have one close encounter with a wild animalIf this means you don a wetsuit and slip into a tank with dolphins, so be it. But let's aim for something in the wild if at all possible.
-When we went to Yellowstone for my birthday back in 2010 we were charged by an elk in our campsite and a bear came running at our van, chasing after someone. He stopped on the side of the road, stood up with his claws in the air and then he turned around and walked back into the forest.

29. Parachute out of something that is working perfectly fine, for no legitimate reasonThe obvious choose here is an airplane, but I'll accept others as long as they're moving.
-I have yet to do this one, but it's definitely on my bucket list.

30. Know a dance well enough that you could keep up with the localsTango with Argentinians, Salsa with Cubans, Kathak in India, do a jig with the Irish, or line dance in Kansas.
- We Khmer danced like we were born to do it. We've since Khmer danced a few times at Khmer New Year celebrations here in the US.


Torrie said...

I'm seriously impressed with how much you've been able to do before 30! Especially all the places you've been! I can only imagine what adventures lie ahead in your next decade :)

Rachel said...

You have had so many adventures!! Parachuting out of anything is 100% NOT on any list I'd ever make, haha!

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