30 Before 30: A Bucket List for That Looming Birthday

I knew a guy – back in good ol’ Grand Rapids, MI – who enjoyed repeating that all women are irrelevant after 30, because newer, hotter girls will be entering the “market”. (This is the same person that told me that anyone who weighs more than 110 pounds is disgusting).

That guy sucks, clearly, but I still have complicated feelings about turning 30. Aside from youth-fetishization being shoved down my throat by the media and many around me, it just feels WEIRD to be entering another decade.

I thought I’d have 3 kids and be a doctor by now (oh, 16-year-old-me, you were SO off on what we’d want). 

Stephanie Kempker Edri of JoyAndJourney.com in Puebla, Mexico
current-me laughing at 16-year-old-me’s naivety

Instead, I’ve been living abroad for 6 years and even the IDEA of kids is nowhere in sight. I’m in the final stretches of my master’s, but I’m definitely no MD (though a PhD could be in my future).

At the same time, I am proud of my accomplishments, and this life that I’ve built. I’ve visited 36 countries in this decade, the vast majority of them in the past 6 years, the vast majority of them solo.

Isabela Island of the Galapagos Islands
Pondering life on a trip in the Galapagos Islands

With this looming birthday, there are a few things I wanted to have figured out by the time I enter my next decade. Get my ducks in a row, so to speak. Like, establishing a solid daily yoga practice, a solid daily meditation practice, an uplifting morning routine, a relaxing nighttime routine, and a better understanding of myself, for the purpose of starting out my next decade on the right foot.

I also want to let go of some things: self-doubt, negative self-talk, and a few nagging health concerns (I’m constantly worried about skin cancer moles). The best way to go about this, I reasoned, was to address my worries head-on, and to establish new, healthier self habits.

Walking in Merida Stephanie Kempker Edri
Walking into this new decade, feeling GOOD

I’ve been keeping this bucket list, quietly, secretly. I never had ANY intention of publishing it because, well, it’s pretty lame and low-key.

I decided to share this with you, because, why not? Not all bucket lists need to be big and showy and fancy. Let’s be real: making sure you get your teeth cleaned is something super important yet super easy to put off, especially when you’re living abroad and navigating the health/dental care system isn’t as familiar as it would be at home.

Without further ado…

Before 30 Boring-Ass Bucket List:

  1. Visit the dentist for a checkup (for my first teeth cleaning in years!)
  2. Finally, get my first-ever full body mole check, because those skin cancer worries are real.
  3. Color my hair blue – I’ve never colored/dyed/highlighted any part of my hair before and blue is my favorite color. So, why not?
  4. Invest in my first stock – any stock I like – as a way of dipping my toe in the world of investing.
  5. Take a painting class. I want to connect/reconnect with my artistic side.
  6. Take a pottery class. ^Ditto.
  7. Learn how to really meditate.
  8. Try tarot.
  9. Figure out a signature style that feels comfortable and expresses my personality.
  10. See an Ayurvedic doctor or try Ayurvedic eating.
  11. Propagate succulents. I love plants, I’ve always loved plants. And succulents are just so cute!
  12. Try belly dancing.
  13. Hold my own Shabbat (as part of a bigger quest to learn more about husband’s culture).
  14. Work on my Spanish.
  15. Rediscover myself as a fit person and find a fitness practice I actually enjoy.
  16. Solidify my daily yoga practice, because I just feel better when I do yoga every day.
  17. Get a Fitbit. I love to walk and am secretly ridiculously competitive. 
  18. Learn about skincare – get some serums?
  19. Dry brush.
  20. See more of my extended family.
  21. Try SUP yoga.
  22. Have an energy healing.
  23. Get over my fears and do a temezcal.
  24. Go on a yoga retreat.
  25. Get an IUD (take control of sexual health, quit birth control, balance hormones).
  26. Get more serious about mental health (including regularly seeing my therapist).
  27. Prioritize relationships (especially friendships, which I used to majorly neglect).
  28. Have more parties (less of the heavy boozing and more of the dinner variety) because they give me SO much joy.
  29. Finalize my residency in Mexico.
  30. Get my driver’s license (again).

Do you have a “Before 30” checklist? What would it include?


A short vacation in Thailand turned into a life abroad with a canceled ticket home. Nearly a decade later and after living in Bangkok, Rio de Janeiro, Puebla, and Puerto Vallarta, Steph is on to her next adventure and living back in beautiful, cosmopolitan Mexico City. She is living, traveling, and working (both as an expat therapist and an international health insurance representative) around the world to find the beautiful, inspirational, and interesting while sharing it with you!

Find me on: Web | Instagram | Facebook


  1. December 14, 2018 / 2:06 pm

    That’s an interesting list, Steph. It does look achievable but I know how difficult it is to get those simple things done. I make lists, plans and then stop pursuing my goals all the time. But, a yoga retreat tops my list!

  2. Juana Robinson
    December 14, 2018 / 4:45 pm

    Very Nice Post !

  3. April 23, 2019 / 9:28 am

    Just found this post! I love the idea of 30 Before 30 – I did a whole series about it on my blog. 🙂

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