Do you have a travel goal?

I do.

It started in my twenties.  At that time, I've only been to 4 countries.  First 2 are countries I lived in, which is Philippines and UAE.  Singapore which is a country I've transited through at some point in my life, and there's Hong Kong (China) which I've been to when I was 5 for a holiday!  You see, those are not exactly legit or something to consider. Hong Kong maybe, but that's a lifetime ago!

24 and unstable.
Broke and adventurous.
It was lust at first sight.
Hence the wanderlust has officially began.
I get highs from stepping out of an airport and inhaling the scent of unfamiliar.
The exciting adventure that awaits.
Getting lost and enjoying it.
Discovering the world and discovering myself.
And don't even get me started on food!
Embracing other people's culture.

I love every bit of it, except airport formalities and the actual flying hours.  When my heart is pounding while waiting to reunite with my luggage.  That, even after so many years - doesn't change one bit for me.  I'm just constantly paranoid that I'm going to lose my things.  All the shopping and all the effort exerted on my handpicked splurges, unique pieces or unreal bargains.

With my new found joy and sense of discovery, I set my travel goal.
I wanted to match my age with the number of countries I've visited.
So that at some point, I just need to visit one new country each year.
And spend more time thoroughly discovering it.
I made a plan to visit 3 new countries every year avoiding repetitions in order to achieve my goal.  With this plan, I'll be traveling for a total of 10 years.  And at 34, will reach my goal.
34 countries to celebrate my 34th birthday.

That plan didn't work.  I couldn't avoid repeating countries at all cost.
After all, I have family living abroad.  I have my family in Netherlands and my husband's family in Germany.  Lucky for us, they're just in between borders.  Which makes a huge difference and saved us a lot of time.  Our families lived 3 hours drive away from each other.  Which meant, we just need to visit once and manage to see both instead of having to visit them separately.

6 months after I set this goal, we have arranged a 3 weeks adventure covering 7 countries.
2 days before this trip, I found out I was pregnant with my first child.
Did I let that news change our plan? Of course not!
We went to celebrate and enjoy our holiday even more.

That child is Karsten, he's now 7 and has been to 24 countries.
Raising a child and keeping a job didn't stop nor slow me down from trying to achieve my goal.
I guess when you really want something, there's just nothing that can stop you.
And of course it helps a lot when your family supports your dream.

I traveled, and then traveled a little more.
By myself, with my husband, with one child, with the entire family.
And we all traveled a little more.
By air, by land and by sea.
In sickness and in good health.
With or without motion sickness tablets while on a cruise.
We did it!

Six years and 2 kids later.
After 1 or 2 bad hostels.
One too many long train rides.
Flight delays and less than satisfactory airline food.
 I managed to achieve this goal.  Four years earlier than my timeline.
Adventures and misadventures.
It was nothing but fun!

What's a girl got to do?  Set a new goal after having completed the first one.
Time to level up.
40 @ 40
I don't know how I managed to make this happen.
But two and half years later, I somehow managed to achieve this target.

Here I am at 32, thinking of what to do next.  I'll be turning 33 in a couple of months.
I think I wanna take things slow.
I don't even really feel like making any travel goals anymore.
But I think I should continue so I have something to work on.
And something to look forward to and reward myself with.

What I want to do for now is to visit all the Schengen Member States.
I have been to most and I have 8 more to go as per the current list of 26 official countries.
Unless the membership changes, and it is bound to.
I'm setting to visit one each year.
So that's 8 countries and 8 years to go before I turn 40.

And in between this new goal, I have every single intention to squeeze in South America!
That is my dream destination.  It's just so far and I really don't like long flights.
The only long flight I accept to take is a 17 hours flight to New Zealand to see my baby bro.
Where in I get to have my breakfast, lunch, dinner, 2 x snacks and naps in between and I'm still in the plane waiting to land!  Now that, is just crazy long!  To have all meals of the day served in one flight.

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