Local Experiences 2: My 30 by 30 List

When I was 24, a friend told me about 30 by 30 lists, and I decided that I was going to do it. The idea was to set 30 goals to accomplish by the time I turned 30, starting at my 25th birthday. The problem was that I’m not a goal-setter and I turned out to be incapable of creating 30 goals that were realistic for a five year span. Before I even reached 30 goals, I realized that my list should be for my entire lifetime, not just the next five years.

I decided to change things around a little bit. Maybe 30 separate goals weren’t really working out for me, but what if I made lists of 30? I could create a list, get to 30, then create another list. This turned out to be a better choice and I started out with the goal of going to 30 new restaurants within an hour of my home. When I turned 25, I had lived in my current area for about four years, so even though I had been to a lot of restaurants in those four years, there were still tons I hadn’t been to. Greg and I prefer going to different restaurants rather than getting stuck in the rut of going to the same one or two places over and over, so this seemed like a good goal.

It worked out so well! It took just over a year to complete, and writing this makes me think I should do it again now. I liked it because there were times when we probably would have gone to a repeat location but instead, we went somewhere new. The restaurants covered a big range too, from nicer restaurants to basically fast food. The type of restaurant didn’t matter. All that mattered was that I had never been there. 

After the restaurant list, I decided to visit 30 new cities. At first, I counted any city that was new to me, but I ended up deleting all of the cities that were in Ohio because I far exceeded 30 when I stayed with a family in Spain for a month, traveling all over the Basque Country plus a couple of other regions.


I mentioned in my first local experiences post that I really value finding new things to do in my own area. I think it captures the spirit of travel, even if it doesn’t mean going very far from home. Try the restaurant list or create your own list of 30. Just find something that will push you to try new things!

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