A few years ago, a friend of mine had a wonderful plan to visit 50 new places before her 50th birthday. As my milestone birthday is approaching next year, I was inspired by her idea, but with a different twist. Given all the traveling I do as an expat, I know how hard it is to visit 50 new places in a 12 month window, so I decided to expand on her idea by having new experiences not just locations.
If there is one thing making an international move has taught me, it’s that life is so much richer when you are pushing yourself outside your comfort zone. And true to the nature of why I started this blog, you don’t have to have big, grand events to experience change. Sometimes that simple “unexpected” moment can bring about the same result.
So, for the next year, I’m going out on a limb and saying yes to lots of new stuff. I want to try things I’ve always been interested in. I want to make myself uncomfortable by taking a leap of faith into an activity or place that is not in my normal wheelhouse. I want to take advantage of all the wonderful things that are available to me by living in the world’s greatest city.
I’m going to track it all here, so join me as I ring in a new decade with #50for50!
- Evensong at Westminster Abbey: I’ve always heard about these services, but had never been to one. It’s a great way to see the beautiful cathedrals of Europe without the massive crowds. (1 of 50)
- Bellydancing at a Lebanese restaurant: This one was completely outside of my comfort zone! I promise you, that is laughter in the photo to the right, not tears. But it was a really good reminder so early into this process that sometimes you can have a lot of fun putting yourself out there. (2 of 50)
- Knitting class: Chunky yarn arm knitting class has been completed and a lovely blue throw blanket is now in my possession. Maybe not a regular activity, but am wondering if I can apply what I learned to regular knitting. Hmmm… (3 of 50)
- MacGyvering my way through Thanksgiving: When renting a townhouse that doesn’t have a can opener, you need to get creative cooking Thanksgiving dishes. I channeled my inner MacGyver and chiseled open four cans of green beans for Christian’s favorite Thanksgiving dish. Good to know I can be resourceful when I need to be! (4 of 50)
- Dinner at an igloo along the Thames: The tables are hard to come by, but we managed to secure a table for 8 to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Pretty, cozy and private for lots of loud American laughter by the Thames. (5 of 50)
- New Country – Wales: This was a kicker. Had to turn around and go home after only being in the country for 20 minutes, but we got a picture of the welcome sign, set foot on soil and bought a coffee, so in my book in counts! (6 of 50)
- Morocco: The trip to Morocco was so special on many levels. The warmth and hospitality just enveloped us and I’m finding the more I stretch myself in visiting new places so different to my own, the more fulfilled I feel. This one ticked many new experience boxes, so here we go –
- New Country (7 of 50)
- New Continent (8 of 50)
- Riding a mule up the Atlas Mountains (9 of 50)
- Hot Air Balloon ride at sunrise (10 of 50)
- Discovering new London neighborhoods: Leading the Love London tours for AWBS has me exploring London all the time. Recently it seems as if I’m learning new things about places I’ve already been, so it’s nice to get out on my own and discover some of the new neighborhoods that make London such a great city.
- Bermondsey and Maltby Street Market (11 of 50)
- Learned to Make Fresh Croissants: Bread Ahead offers an incredible array of baking and patisserie classes at it’s headquarters in Borough Market. I decided I wanted to learn how to make fresh croissants and, oh yum, it did not disappoint. Not difficult to do, it just requires patience and a bit of time. The key ingredient? French butter and lots of it! (12 of 50)
- Buying a House in Another Country: We decided we are going to be in the UK for the foreseeable future so we decided it was time to purchase property here. It is definitely a new experience buying property in another country. New process, terminology, procedures, financing – all of it! (13 of 50)