Checklist of Things to Do in my 20’s & 30’s

The following is a list of things I must do (if I haven’t already) in my 20’s or 30’s:

1) Eat healthy foods – This is actually a change that has happened to me already, and I am so grateful for it. I actually want to eat healthy meals (almost) all of the time because, unlike in my adolescence and younger 20’s, I do not want to feel gross after a meal… ever! I think twice about what I’m going to eat before I eat it. I am not saying I never treat myself to cake, a burger, pizza or fish and chips… I most certainly do, but in moderation and I dread the after effects of eating this stuff. This is one way I know I’m growing up.

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Must eat less full Irish breakfasts, as much as I adore them!

2) Drink less alcohol – This is another change that has already happened to me and happened to me at a younger age than most people. I have absolutely no desire to ever get drunk again and I mean that 100%. I never want to get drunk again. I didn’t start drinking until the age of 22, but spent that year of my life very much enjoying alcohol. I simply cannot imagine drinking that much these days and I now limit myself to 2 drinks on a night out. At age 27 (nearly 28), a night out for me now is much different than a night out when I was 22. My ideal night out now is a nice meal with a glass of wine followed by a cocktail and in bed by 11 p.m. (at the latest)!

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3) Settle in a home – This is how I know I am really growing up, because I didn’t even feel this way 6-8 months ago. I still do not have a desire to buy a home, but I want to rent a home. I want to settle in a place I can call my own. Six to eight months ago, the idea of settling down in one place was the most awful sounding thing in the world. I am quite tired of not knowing where I’ll be living after my lease ends and I want to be able to buy things for my home (like kitchen gadgets, my favourite!) without thinking twice about possibly transporting them across the Atlantic Ocean. I also really want to live in a house, not an apartment. I am the lightest sleeper in the world and am tired of constantly worrying what noises I’ll hear from my neighbours.

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It would be nice to have a permanent home for me and all of my stuff!

4) Apply for my dream job – I will be completing my Master’s degree at the end of this summer (how did time fly so fast?!) and will therefore be qualified to work as a guidance counsellor. I am so excited at the prospect of finally having a career and one that I really think I am going to love. I never thought this would happen to me! It’s definitely one of the most exciting things about becoming an adult.

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Time to be a professional!

5) Think about and plan for retirement – I will be honest and admit, this is something that crosses my mind fairly often lately, but I have done nothing about it. I have not had a stable enough job as of yet and certainly have not had a job that pays me enough to save anything (with the exception of the money I saved for my round the world trip). I am very close to being qualified to work in my field (a career! Me?!) and when I finally do, planning for retirement will begin. 40% of millennials don’t have current plans for retirement… that’s a pretty scary statistic! It’s a major goal of mine to no longer be part of that statistic, I’d rather be with the 60%!

6) Travel the world – I’ve done it once and thought once I completed a round the world trip, that might satisfy my wanderlust for such a big trip, but instead, it did the opposite… I want to go on endless round the world trips!! I want to keep going. At the top of my list: Japan, New Zealand & Mexico. I also want to see more of my country (the U.S.), especially the National Parks! Really, I just want to travel more often.

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7) Manage my finances – Ugh, this is definitely one of the biggest downsides of adulthood, but it has to be done. Since I am getting ready to finish my Master’s degree and just finished Exit Counselling for my loans, paying off my student loans crosses my mind a lot. It is a terrifying, daunting thing that constantly makes me wonder if doing this Master’s was worth it, but then I remember, without it, I would not be able to work in my field. I am very blessed to not have any loans from my undergraduate degree.

Personal Capital has a great Wealth Management Tool, which can assist you in managing your finances and planning for retirement!

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8) Become best friends with my parents – I am happy to say this has already happened to me and we’ve always been close, but me moving abroad brought us even closer. At my age now, I can say that I really and truly appreciate everything my parents have done for me, and I think it’s very important to reach that stage.

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9) Rekindle my interest in fitness – Something I have achieved in the past but not currently. The stress of my Master’s degree (and let’s face it, life in general) has caused me to stop going to the gym when in reality, I know it would only help relieve stress. I used to love going to the gym and need to find that motivation again.

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10) Achieve happiness – I think the trick to this is achieving everything else on the list first, then true happiness will follow (and will hopefully accompany me on the journey).

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How expensive is Iceland (in summer)?

I returned from my incredible road trip around Iceland last Sunday. I am going to be posting many blog posts about this trip, but first up is expense.

Iceland in summer is expensive. Very expensive. It’s easily the most I’ve ever spent in a 10 day period. Having said that, I spent a lot less than I thought I would. Let me break it down for you (all prices are in USD, and I travelled with 3 other people):

ACCOMMODATION   =   $690 total (average of $69 per night)

You can definitely find accommodation for cheaper than we did – hostels do exist in most of the country, but I simply cannot stay in dorm rooms anymore. Since I knew we would be having very long days, I wanted nice places for us to relax and sleep at the end of the day. We mostly booked Airbnb apartments, but we also had a couple guesthouses, which we booked on booking.com. I will detail some of my favourite places we stayed in future blog posts. I spent 10 nights in Iceland, 2 of which were on my own (single rooms), 2 of which there were 3 of us and 6 of which there were 4 of us splitting the cost. I spent a total of $690 on accommodation for myself.

Our gorgeous accommodation in Höfn, Iceland

Our gorgeous accommodation in Höfn, Iceland

FOOD    =   $186

We went grocery shopping once and got supplies for the 4 of us and we spent $83.92 ($20.98 per person). We got things such as: granola & protein bars, pasta & sauce, rice, chick peas, toilet paper, bananas, apples, fig newtons. This lasted us our whole trip! We were very proud of ourselves.

Side note: the smallest pack of TP we could find consisted of 9 rolls – we never opened it! I had tissues with me and nature only called twice when we weren’t near a toilet.

We ate a LOT of hot dogs. They are truly delicious, and at $3 – $4 per hot dog, they are by far the cheapest food option in the country. We also ate a lot of petrol station pre-made sandwiches (tuna!) and they were quite nice. If you’re road tripping around Iceland, the N1 petrol station will quickly become your favourite. After only a couple days, it felt like home!

My love for N1 knows no bounds

My love for N1 knows no bounds

We ate out more than I thought we would, but never anywhere even slightly fancy (way too expensive!). I ate at Subway 3 times and we ate meals out such as: noodles, burritos, pitas and burgers.

I bought Skyr (an Icelandic dairy product that is supposedly cheese but tastes very similar to Greek yogurt) every day.

CAR   =   $1,420.49 ($355.12 per person)

We had the car for 7 days. This price included a GPS, Internet-to-go, as well as the best insurance we could buy (gravel insurance, sand & ash insurance, etc.). There were many times on the gravel roads that we were very thankful we purchased good insurance!

PETROL   =   $205 ($51.25 per person)

Our car (a brand new luxury Opel Insignia – thank you Sixt!) got excellent gas mileage. We fully expected to pay MUCH more than we did for fuel, especially considering the fact that we drove an impressive 2,100 miles!! P1130113 ACTIVITIES  =   $437.85

Whale watching: $68

Katla SuperJeep tour: $178

Inside the Volcano: $291.85 (but I redeemed $100 from rewards on my credit card)

I will be detailing these wonderful adventures in future posts.

EXTRA TRANSPORT (Taxi, Bus)   =   $76.50

MISC  =   $90

I went to Vodafone and bought a SIM card and we bought a car charger for all of our devices. I also bought postcards & stamps which were CRAZY expensive! ($13.76 for 4 stamps and 7 postcards) – etc., etc.

= bringing the grand total to $1,856.47 (minus flights)!

In summary, we travelled around Iceland mostly on a budget, except for accommodation. It is possible to go to Iceland without a fortune! This took lots of planning, but can be done.

Is anyone else planning to go to Iceland any time soon?

In case any of you are wondering what I spent on my flights:

FLIGHTS    = €215 (Euro)

I flew WOW Air (a budget Icelandic airline) from Dublin and got a very good deal. I booked it at the end of March for €125 round-trip. Of course, since WOW is the most strict airline I’ve ever flown (much more strict than Ryanair), I did end up paying a lot extra for luggage – €90 extra to be exact. This was partially my fault and was avoidable for the most part. When I booked my flight, I paid the additional €28 to have a heavier carry-on bag (since they only give you 7kg for free) – because at the time, I planned on travelling carry-on only. As time passed, I realised I wanted to bring a daypack and since I (very sadly) do not have the handy Tortuga daypack yet (it REALLY would have come in handy on this trip!), I needed to check my handy dandy Tortuga V2 in order to carry my daypack on the plane. They are very strict and only allow 1 bag on the plane with no option to purchase a personal item to carry on. Oh well, you live and you learn.

Side note: The currency in Iceland is the króna and cash isn’t needed in most places. They accept credit cards just about everywhere – even for a small purchase such as a hot dog. The only places I had to pay cash were a couple guesthouses and one of my tour guides.