Traveling young is important because it shapes your worldview. When you travel young, you realize who you are and what you believe in before it’s time to make the big-kid decisions (career, marriage, and all that scary stuff) that will impact the rest of your life.
If you were to visit each of these places before turning 30, you would be pretty darn well in touch with yourself and pretty equipped to take on real, adult existence.
Check out — and check off! — our ultimate soul-searching bucket list.
30. Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert, Namibia
Larger-than-life red sand dunes will make you feel, well, smaller than life. In a good way.
29. Tiger’s Nest Monastery in Bhutan
Padmasambhava, known as the “Second Buddha,” meditated in this cliff-top carve-out for three years, three months, three weeks, three days and three hours. Close your eyes for three minutes, and inspiration will find you, too.
28. Jellyfish Lake in Palau
Swimming through thousands of golden jellies without a sting leaves you feeling half awestruck, half invincible.
26. Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, California
It’s just a day hike, but it’s a strenuous one at that. When you summit, you’ll know what it’s like to stand on the top of California.
25. The Songkran Festival in Chiang Mai, Thailand
In a display of national unity, pretty much everybody in Thailand has a wild water fight to celebrate the new year.
23. The Washington Monument observation deck in Washington, D.C.
Sure our country is defunct sometimes, but it gave you the freedom to be.
22. The Rhino Charge in Nairobi, Kenya
Every year, extreme drivers embark on a 10-hour, off-road race through the savannah to fundraise for animal conservation.
20. Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia
The world’s largest salt flat is miles of flat, zen, abandoned bliss.
16. La Closerie des Lilas in Paris, France
Picasso, Cezanne and Apollinaire used to chat at this fancy café. So did Hemingway– you can still sit at his favorite bar stool.
14. Nowhere, Spain
Each year, attendees at the desert festival design their own society based on “creative freedom.”
13. Bernauer Strasse in Berlin, Germany
When the Berlin Wall first made one side of this residential street part of Soviet East Berlin, people died trying to jump out their windows to a free neighborhood on the other side. It’s an odd and important contrast to modern Berlin’s hipster-filled streets.
12. Plaza Mayor in Madrid, Spain
Spending downtime outdoors is a weird concept to Americans. Madrid’s social hub will change your opinion real fast.
11. Macau Tower in China
The second-highest bungee jump in the world starts 760 feet above China’s version of Las Vegas.
10. Drake Passage, Antarctica
Get a penguin’s eye view of our Earth’s very bottom before you start working your way to the top.
7. The Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague, Czech Republic
Stacks of graves are layered over each other, so nobody knows exactly how many people are — or who exactly is — buried here. That’s intense.
6. Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Last year, literal millions of people turned up for what might be the biggest party on Earth.
5. Havana, Cuba
Get a glimpse of what happens when a culture hits the pause button.
4. Hitachi Seaside Park, Japan
These zany, Seuss-like fields will reintroduce you to your zany little kid self.
3. Zurriola Beach in San Sebastian, Spain
Surfers in this small city get amped about riding the same waves, on the same beach, every single day. And they never ask for anything more.
1. Mount Fitz Roy in Patagonia, Chile
At the top, you’ll treasure the view of towering, unspoiled glaciers– and the pride of knowing you climbed there.
The Huffington Post