So you've turned 30 and everyone around you has got their lives together. Your Facebook feed is inundated with images of engagement ring-laden hands, your friends are talking about *that* promotion at work that will propel their careers, and baby showers are becoming a regular weekend occurrence.
You've been told that the '30 milestone' is huge and you suddenly feel very old. Those days of being in your 20s, travelling around the world in frivolous fun, partying the night away and immediately adding anyone on Facebook you meet abroad seem like a lifetime ago.
Well, it's time to shrug all that off! Ask anyone and they will tell you that travelling in your 30s is much more rewarding. Take a leap of faith and go out of your comfort zone - it may just be the best thing you ever do!
Here are 10 reasons why travelling in your 30s is so much better than those party-fuelled days of your 20s...
1. A pearl of wisdom
Yes, you may be getting more and more cynical each day, but with that also comes a healthy dose of wisdom. By understanding the world much better and being more mature, you can truly appreciate the spectacular surroundings around you. This time, when you are stood at the peak of Glacier National Park, are you merely looking at the expansive rich tapestry that is the landscape, or truly taking it all in?
You are now old enough to fully know what fulfills you in life, so take these lessons with you and build an itinerary that will mean something to you and that isn't just about following the herd.
2. You're strong and independent
When you say you're going travelling, expect a few raised eyebrows - but by this point in life you may be ready to eschew conformity. Earlier in life, you may have felt pressure to go to university and jump onto the career ladder, but by this point you are ready to stick to your guns. And when you come back with all those stories to tell and that all-important tan, see who'll be laughing then.
3. Spend that well-earned cash
You may be wiser but none of this should detract from how adventurous you can still be. You're in a nice middle ground where you no longer have to think about how you can budget every single aspect of a trip, but not wanting to spend two weeks relaxing in five-star all-inclusive resorts in the Maldives. Join a tour of like-minded individuals, and enjoy that spending power that you've worked so hard to gain.
Money may not equate to happiness, but it allows you to tick off everything you want to do without worrying about the costs later!
4. You still have your health
People may be quick to say that you're getting older, but this couldn't be further away from the truth. You still have your health, so why not use it? Take on the extreme Colorado River rapids. Climb that ancient Alaskan glacier. It's time to be a bit selfish and make yourself a priority.
5. Relationships mean so much more
It's a cliche, but it's a true one - the older you get, the more important relationships are to you. No longer are those people you met on holiday a band of travellers merely to go out to clubs with, while all those "you simply must come and visit when we're back in the UK" comments actually have some substance to them.
Whether you find your next best friend for life, or you happen to stumble upon some romance out there, it is with these people that you are sharing some of the best moments of your life with, and that is certainly something money cannot buy.
6. You don't worry as much
There are a lot of things to worry about in your 20s, and while this certainly doesn't change as you get older (if anything those worries pile up more!), you seem to handle them much better. Before, if you couldn't be on your own, you would never have dared travel solo, but all these issues seem to drift as you get more mature. Now, everyone is in the same boat as you and you don't have to sucummb to pressure. Whether you want to dance with complete strangers until 3 in the morning, or would rather curl up in bed with a good book, that's exactly what you'll do!
7. Are you ready to take more risks?
This isn't about recklessness! Instead, you have a stronger confidence in your intuition and you can judge situations much better. You can leave awkward moments much quicker, but at the same time make calculated risks. Bring on that zip line...
8. A wider range of interests
Having lived for over 30 years on this planet, your interests will naturally be more wide-ranging than 10 years ago, so take advantage of this. Beyond the partying and drinking, you now see more in achieving a fulfilled holiday - museums, national parks, simply sitting in a cafe and soaking in the ambiance - travelling is no longer about ticking off all the sights and saying you've seen a city just because you spent 24 hours there. Don't get too obsessed about seeing everything - relax, enjoy the ride and appreciate the things you do experience.
9. You're better at packing
Look at any first-time twentysomething backpacker and they are staggering around with 18 kilos of towels, t-shirts and toiletries on their back. Over time and with experience, you get better and more sensible with packing. If you really don't need it, and if you can buy it out there, why take it with you?
10. A greater appreciation
Without getting too soppy, it's easy to feel invincible when you're 20 - the world is your oyster. You spent most of your time getting over regrets and lamenting the past, but never fearing the long-term future. You will now find that the world is still yours to explore, but in a different way. Opportunities are no longer infinite, you don't take things for granted anymore, and you're much better at just stopping for a second and allowing yourself to appreciate everything to its fullest. And surely that's what travelling is all about?
Delight in the road less travelled. Make lasting relationships. Explore the world with confidence, wisdom and no worries. Life's not a dress rehearsal, so grab it and fulfill lifelong ambitions. Defy any expectations about your age and travel the world the way it should be!