The Traveler Birthday: Breaching My 4th Decade

I had a big birthday, and after years of travel-love, traditional celebration just didn't seem to fit any more.

Today… I bulldozed my way in a new decade. All related anxieties about leaving my twenties and entering my thirties were worked through about 2 weeks ago- so I was able to have a pretty rad day today. And by day, I mean today and the 3 days leading up.

After spending so much time travelling, and valuing my ability to just get up and go whenever, I’ve grown to prioritize events/experiences over actual gifts. This year, a few days in advance of my birthday, my parent’s surprised me with an afternoon sail around the Nantucket Sound. I really like boats, and pleasure outings like that are typically very far beyond my [financial] means (the last time I was on a boat- it was panga, I had a 42L backpack, and I was pointed away from my favorite little island), so it was a really great gift.

Though the few days leading up were pleasant and enjoyable, the weeks prior were wracked with the inevitable panic of “what awaits me on the other side?!”

I had to do something to calm my worried mind, and focus that nervous energy into something productive. I realized that I needed to give myself a goal to pursue. I strapped on my flip-flops (no boots here, its too bloody hot), cracked my knuckles, and unleashed my #1 skill to achieve this goal.

More reading:  Amsterdam in 36 Hours

What did I do?

I got super f*@^!%g creepy.

I took a walk during my lunch hour one day and found myself in the Bay Village neighborhood of Boston…. looking at all the gorgeous homes that other 30-something could afford. Because other 30-somethings were doctors or lawyers or marketing execs or entrepa-raking-it-in all the way to the fancy brownstones. Mid my existential crisis of “I’ll never be able to afford this…” – something pretty caught my eye. The doors in the Boston brownstones are stunning, and this one had a particularly interesting number plate. I looked over both shoulders, got up close, and took a picture.


I spent the following 2.5 weeks slinking around the Boston area neighborhoods taking pictures of peoples’ doors, mailboxes, or other random interesting numbers; from 1 all the way up to my current age. So without any further hesitation, here is the final product of me getting way too close to peoples’ homes, possibly breaching some “no treaspassing” zones, and hunting down the most visually interesting specimens.

  • What has been the best travel-related gift you’ve received?
  • Are you in the 30+ club? What did you do to soothe the panic?
  • Have you ever been on the road for your birthday? What did you do?
  • Are you a part of a culture/family that has any weird or unique birthday traditions?
More reading:  5 Ways I Manage a Job & a [Travel] Blog


Posted in Inspiration, Travel, Uncategorized and tagged , .


  1. I love taking trips for my birthday. This past year I spent it in Rioja. I also love your door pictures, such a creative and cute idea.

  2. What an awesome idea! Happy 30th, hope it’s a fantastic one 🙂
    I know the “I’ll-never-be-able-to-afford-this” feeling very, very well. One day I’ll become a responsible adult… Not sure when though.

    • lol yeah, I feel like after that initial wave of “omg I’ll never have that” passed – I realized that I probably don’t actually *want* it. I’d rather spend on trips and have a cheapo apartment!

  3. Love that collage of all the numbers – such a cute way to celebrate reaching 30! It’s so hard to see other people your age more ‘successful’ but I love that success is measured in different ways – and travel experiences are worth more than any salary!

    • Thanks! And you’re right that success is measured differently. Some people consider working for someone else at a high salary success, and some consider working for themselves at a lower salary to be successful – its all so personal!

  4. What a beautiful selection of doors and postboxes! I had not though of this before, this is something I will remember and will add to my to-do birthday presents, perhaps, looking through my existing pictures! My hubby turns 40 next year, so I think it would be nice 🙂

  5. Oh, just relax, you’re traveling, doing the things you like, enjoying your time! And it has all just begun. With years, everything becomes easier if you’re pursuing your goals, you’ll see. Maybe you could line up one photo from your journeys for each and every year, and do share when you do – I’d love to see that gallery! 😉

  6. What an innovative and creative way of expressing almost all possible emotions one goes through on such a transition. I am also inching towards my big transition in a few years and I can completely identify with your emotions.
    P.S. The lovely collection of numbers on all those interesting finds are simply too good.

  7. What a wonderful way to spend the bday. Travel is a discovery every day and you made your day very creative. I loved all the pictures. What a fantastic idea

  8. This is amazing. So quirky, real and honest! I love it. Kinda lol’d at the initial idea because it’s not something I would think of but something I would do haha. Happy Belated! <3

  9. I am 33 and I am happy to have traveled a lot. However, it is funny that I never really travelled on my birthday! I know I should consider it but with my birthday being in December and around Christmas, it is just too expensive for me to go anywhere… haha :).. But yeah, I am quite inspired with this post!..

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