When I turned 27 at the end of 2018, I decided to make a ’30 Before 30′ list to make the most of the end of my 20s. COVID-19, however, had other ideas. I still managed to accomplish some of the items on my list but, when I crossed 30s threshold, I decided to make a ’40 Before 40′ list instead. I am truly excited for whatever journey lies ahead for me. To make the most of my time on this planet, these 40 entires will help me make the next decade a great one.
A big motivation for me to take the time to think about what I wanted from the remainder of my 20s was the fact that I spent a large portion of my 20s battle with my mental health – which although was important to face, was certainly not always fun. Managing our mental health is a lifelong project but, thankfully, I am in a much better place right now and I am determined to live my life to the full. I have a great support system around me, both family and friends. I am truly lucky to have my wonderful, supportive, long-suffering boyfriend who is always on my side and cheering me on. Plus, he is up for any adventure, so together I think we will be able to make the below dreams come true!
My 40 Before 40 Ideas:
1) Go Whale Watching!
2) Climb Scafell Pike!
3) Graduate my degree! (FINALLY!)
When I first put this list together (early 2019), I was approaching the end of my second module. This meant that I was almost a third of the way through my degree. I am studying with The Open University and my degree is a BA (Hons) Environmental Studies. The plan is to use the remaining years of study to increase my practical experience and get the most out of my, slightly late, foray into higher education!
2023 Update: I am currently about halfway through my fifth module – which means I am on the final stretch! I am really proud of myself for doing well so far, and continuing throughout the pandemic! I am working really hard to expand my environmental knowledge and get the absolute most out of my Environmental Studies degree. I have about 1.5 modules left to complete, running October through to June every year, so I am currently working towards finishing my final module during the Summer of 2024 – I believe!? That doesn’t seem too far off, but I am excited with what else I can achieve during that time.
4) Learn to scuba dive!
5) Become a science communicator!
I have been blogging on-and-off since about 2014. I first started documenting my life and struggles with my mental health in a blog called ‘Girl In London, Seeking A Life’. Then when I started to gain an interest in conservation I started up ‘Small World, Big Cause’ in 2017. This was a place where I documented my journey of learning about the world around me, as I made the transition from actor and receptionist to conservation professional. As this part of my life gained momentum, I refocused the site and it became ‘The Curious Environmentalist’ in 2020. Since then I have gained my first role in science communications by working as Junior Aquarist at my local aquarium, where I delivered public talks and tours about marine life and conservation. Now, as of the very end of 2022/start of 2023, have started as Communications Officer at a global plant conservation charity – which is a huge step for me and incredibly exciting! In addition, I have a side business of a science communications company which is going to be the home of a few upcoming projects, including video content and podcasts. It definitely keeps me busy, but I am feel like I am onto something good. I feel confident in describing myself as a science communicator now, which a few years ago felt like a far-off dream.
6) Trek the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu!
This was always on my dad’s bucket-list, but unfortunately due to health reasons, it is unlikely he will ever get to achieve this dream. Me and my sister vowed that we would do it on his behalf and share every detail of it with him, so that he can experience it in some way. This is probably one of the most important items on my list, and something that means a lot to both myself and my family.
And, in Summer 2019, we did it! Me, my boyfriend, my sister and my brother-in-law successfully trekked and camped for 4 days and completed the Inca Trail. We arrived at The Sun Gate to watch the sunrise over Machu Picchu; we saw hummingbirds, wild jungle turkeys, orchids, rain, sun, mist, steep drops, lots of steps, sweat, tears, a little bit of vomit, but also, smiles. It was exhausting but incredible. It was the hardest physical challenge that I have ever had to do in my entire life! I am not ashamed to say that I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my wonderful boyfriend – he was amazing! Through tears, altitude sickness, rain and panic over heights, he was there helping me along and never doubting that I would make it to the end. This is a huge thing for me to be able to tick off my list. It was an incredible experience that I am so happy that I have been able to do, but equally happy to not have to do again!!! My advice for anyone who wants to trek the Inca Trail, and see Machu Picchu, is that you should 100% do it but do not underestimate it. It was so much more challenging than anyone prepared me for!!
7) Go skinny dipping!
8) Complete a 30 days of yoga challenge!
9) Climb Snowdon!
10) Learn to knit!
11) Visit Costa Rica!
12) Treat myself to a full body massage!
It’s important to take some time out and treat yourself – I am quite ambitious and sometimes I can forget to take time off and relax. I’d never had a professional massage (occasionally, I can convince my boyfriend to give me a back rub – but really he does enough already!). So, whilst I was travelling with my boyfriend in late 2019, we met up with a mutual friend of ours in Chang Mai, Thailand. We then preceeded to take full advantage of the massages that are on offer there! Not my boyfriend’s cup of tea, so whilst he sought out a beer, me and the gorgeous Heather, went for a bit of a pamper. There are great massage parlours that are set up to help support female ex-convicts to build better, independent lives for themselves. A great cause and so we treated ourselves to a traditional Thai massage – which was really incredible! We were bent over into all sorts of shapes but, by the end of it, we felt amazing! Great massage ladies! I recommend taking the time to pamper yourselves whenever you can!
13) Run 5km in 30 minutes!
14) Go on a solo holiday!
15) Stand on top of Ben Nevis!
16) Visit a Michelin Star restaurant!
17) Learn conversational German!
18) Showcase my poetry efforts!
19) Create a SciComm showreel!
20) Visit The Louvre Museum in Paris!
21) Start my own business!
The truth is that during my 20s I experienced periods of regular panic attacks when in full-time work. However, when the fog clears, I am ambitious, and I am determined to take control of my life. I have always had big plans and I would love to be able to work for myself full-time one day. In January 2019, I left my job as Philanthropy Manager at NSPCC and started my own business called RedKite Assist. This was a business that offered remote business assistance and allowed me to work freelance for different small businesses and websites etc. I offered services such as social media management, email marketing, content writing etc. It was a steep learning curve but I successfully navigated my way through 3 years in business whilst travelling and surviving a global pandemic.
Now, as we stare down the start of 2023, RedKite Assist has morphed into New Knowings Media – which is more focused on science communications and will hopefully help me develop the skills I want for my career goals. Onwards and upwards! 🙂
22) Make my own flavoured gin/alcohol!
23) Learn basic coding!
24) Write a book!
25) Learn to use a sewing machine!
26) Visit Ireland & hike up Carrauntoohil!
27) Go on a jet ski!
28) Visit Canada!
29) Try kickboxing!
30) Visit Germany! (again!)
31) Get a pet!
32) Get a Master’s Degree!
33) Start public speaking!
34) Walk the Camino de Santiago.
35) Learn Digital Art!
36) Grow our own veg/herbs!
37) Learn basic BSL!
38) Learn an instrument!
39) Launch ‘The Curious Environmentalist’ Podcast!
It has been a LONG time in the making, but finally in December 2022, I have released the trailer for the first season of my upcoming podcast. Lots of editing to be done to complete the series but the first bit is out there and I am so exciting to start sharing the episodes I have recorded in 2023. Listen now:
40) Buy our own home!
We have rented for a long time and it is annoying and expensive. We don’t earn huge amounts, but we have been saving hard to buy a place of our own. And… in December 2021 – WE DID IT! We had the sale go through on a lovely little flat by the sea and we have been busy putting our stamp on it ever since. It was very stressful getting the sale across the finish line but it has made such a difference to our lives to have somewhere stable to call home.
Although the pandemic slowed me down slightly, I still managed to achieve a lot in my 20s and I am proud of the foundation I have ready to build upon in my 30s. Life is for living.