On my 25th birthday, I embarked on a big birthday trip where I visited five cities in two weeks and kicked off what would become my annual birthday tradition of ringing in a new year in a new destination. Since then I’ve been fortunate enough to ring in my birthday in places like Jamaica, Italy and the Galapagos while having life changing experiences in the process. How do I do it? I make it a priority. Why? Because life is short damnit.
Although I now work in the travel industry, I make sure that these trips are personal vacation time and I spend most of my year saving up for it. I started a Travel Savings account and have money from my paycheques each month go into this account. After spending the past five years ringing in my birthday in a new destination, I’ve learned a few lessons along the way both about myself and the world.
With that my dear friends, I’ve come up with a few great reasons why YOU should travel for your birthday too! Take notes.
1. It’s Easier to Get the Time off Work
Planning ahead with your boss and colleagues that you have a birthday trip coming up allows others to work around your schedule (and for you to plan your projects around it). And let’s be honest, a boss, colleague, or client that gives you a hard time for wanting to go away to celebrate, is probably an asshole (especially if it’s a big milestone like turning 30 or 40). Generally speaking, asking for the time off work is the easy part.
2. Experiences are Way Better than Possessions
Whether you travel solo, with a loved one, or your best friend, the experiences you will create on your birthday trip will be ones to last a lifetime. If have a destination in mind you’d like to travel to, let your friends and family know in advance and ask if they would be willing to contribute in any way towards your trip. Most people would be more than happy to support you (and it saves them time having to search for that perfect present for you). You could ask for gift cards to travel agencies like Flight Centre, or ask people to surprise you with a tour or activity in destination.
3. You Meet Awesome People
When you travel, you are leaving your comfort zone and thus encouraged to be a little bit more social than you normally are at home. All it takes is telling a bartender or tour guide that it’s your birthday, and you’ve got your first ice breaker. When you first meet people on your travels, the number one question is usually ‘what brings you here?’ and as soon as you say that you’re taking a birthday trip, it immediately opens up the floodgates for a series of other questions (and most likely free drinks). #yourewelcome
4. You’re Allowed to be Selfish
If there’s one day you’re allowed to be a little selfish, it’s your birthday. This is after all a day to celebrate the birth of YOU and the awesome person that you are, so embrace it! If you want to spend your birthday at the beach, or eating your way through a new city, then you damn well deserve that right. This is the one time of the year that YOU can decide what to eat or what activities to do, and nobody can hold it against you.
5. You’ll Learn to Appreciate New Cultures
If there’s one thing worth discovering, it’s how a culture celebrates life. By putting yourself in a new situation and celebrating the local way, you’ll have a more authentic experience in destination and no doubt feel the love around you. It’s amazing how loved a complete stranger can make you feel when they sing happy birthday to you in their language.
Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for me to ring in my next birthday in Nicaragua.