In less than 2 months I will be 30, it’s no longer daunting but quite exciting. Two years ago I put together a 30B430 bucketlist which I am nowhere near completing but excited nonetheless. Whilst the bucketlist is not all travel, half is about travel to my favourite cities. The other half is experiences I would love to encounter before I am 30.

Looking back 2 years is not really enough time but then again it is when you look at my travel challenge. I managed to travel at least once a month to somewhere abroad. I participated in the #take12trips travel challenge where you visited 12 cities/countries in 12 months. In the last two years I have seen more countries and cities compared to 28 years before that. It’s amazing what one can do with the right opportunities and mindset. I am not rich by any means but I endeavor to visit 30 Countries Before 30. The idea I got from a fellow blogger and excited to share where I have been in the last 29+ years.

30 Countries Before 30: Where I’ve been thus far 

Turning 30 is a big deal and dependent on how you look at it, it can be terrifying or very gratifying. I for one I am looking forward to it and thankful to the lord for bringing me this far. It is why I have chosen to share my travels of the last 29+ years in chronological order.

1. Zambia 🇿🇲 – Motherland

Born and raised in the Copperbelt, one of the 9 provinces of Zambia. I am the first of three with a large extended family scattered all over the country. With such a large family we visited practically all provinces except Northern. Zambia to those who don’t know is a landlocked country in Southern Africa NOT SOUTH AFRICA. It gained its independence from colonial Britain in 1964, October 24th. The main mineral is copper and staple food is Nshima {akabwali}.

30 Countries Before 30

2. United Kingdom 🇬🇧 { England, Wales, Scotland + Northern Ireland – not yet been}

In December 2004 we emigrated to the United Kingdom for a better education and life in general. Remainder of my teens and all of my twenties I have lived in the UK. It is a second but current home which has afforded me so much. I have visited almost all the countries that make United Kingdom except Northern Ireland.

3. Germany 🇩🇪 { Dusseldorf, Munich, Hamburg & Berlin}

It’s surreal to think I have just returned from Berlin. A country as a kid only knew of from the Atlas maps and geography books or the globe and nothing more. Fast forward many years and it’s barely 2+ hours from me and very much within reach. I have loved every city I have visited in Germany and glad to have finally been to Berlin.

Related: Hamburg Weekend Getaway

4. Spain 🇪🇸 { Costa de sol in Malaga}

Malaga is very close to my heart, not only is it similar to my surname it’s also the first vacation abroad with my ex. I loved it there, it was such an experience which I won’t be forgetting any time fast. The weather was overbearing but perfect for the beach, soaking in the sun and enjoying the breeze.

5. Lithuania 🇱🇹 {Kaunas, Kedainiai, Vilnius}

God knows I loved every visit to this beautiful country and that’s all I will say. Definitely worth a visit for those who have Eastern Europe in their plans.

6. Malawi 🇲🇼 {Lilongwe, Blantyre}

Not sure if I can claim it as motherland but my mother is from their and grandmother lives there. I remember my first visit in 2012, it was definitely an epic experience especially with all the family. Though I am told I had been before I don’t remember it as I was a kid then.

7. South Korea 🇰🇷 {Seoul}

The first international country I visited immediately after becoming a dual citizen of United Kingdom and Zambia. It was my first 16+ hours solo flight where I would discover I am more capable than I originally thought. The experience of visiting South Korea was second to none at that point.

8. Belgium 🇧🇪 {Brussels}

Brussels was the first city in Europe I ever took a solo trip in. It was definitely an experience I still relive today and glad I went. I have been two more times since and I still can’t get enough.

9. United States 🇺🇸 {New York}

This was a business trip which I included a couple of days to see New York City especially times square and Central Park. I inadvertently saw Trump towers but missed out of the Empire State Building.

10. Slovenia 🇸🇮 {Ljubljana, Bled, Primostek}

Ljubljana marked the first solo trip as part of my #take12trips travel challenge. It would define me more than Brussels and ignite the traveling fire spirit in me.

reasons you should explore slovenia

11. Czech Republic 🇨🇿 {Prague, Brno}

Prague would mark the first trip of many in 2016. It opened doors inside me that I didn’t know were closed or even existed. Whilst Prague was not a solo trip it taught me so much with that I embarked on 2016 with zealousness.

12. Austria 🇦🇹 {Vienna}

I had planned to spend 4-days in Brno only to find you can tour the entire city in half a day. With that I had 3-days to burn so I chose to visit Vienna with it only being 2 hours away. Again a very terrifying experience not knowing what you’re doing but exhilarating when you go with the flow.

13. Slovakia 🇸🇰 {Bratislava}

The remainder day from my 4-day tour of Brno I opted to spend it in Bratislava. The city is a mere 2 hours by train from Czech Republic’s Brno city.


14. The Netherlands 🇳🇱 {Amsterdam}

A city I have long dreamed to visit one day and even promised a friend who resides there. It was a dream come true to both visit the city and see my friend. Next visit I plan will be all about the Ann Franklin Museum.

30 Countries Before 30: Half-way Point.

15. Poland 🇵🇱 {Warsaw}

Was never on any list of mine but when you’ve got friends everywhere its paramount to visit. Though it was blooming freezing when I visited it was the best decision as a solo traveler. I am still encapsulated by the old town of Warsaw and fascinated by the power of the polish people in rebuilding the city.

16. Norway 🇳🇴 {Oslo, Rygge}

I fell in love with a Norwegian on TV and wanted to go see for myself. As South Korean TV has taught me, what you see on TV is not replicated in real life. Boy did I make the right decision, every dude I saw was a freaking viking in his own right. Though the name of the bar escapes I know exactly where it is to find my vikings.

explore the heart of paris

17. France 🇫🇷 {Paris + Disneyland, Nice}

For the longest time I had wanted to visit Disneyland Paris like crazy. Paris I had wanted to visit but held off because I thought I would go with my love. But that didn’t happen and I learnt a lesson of never putting your life on hold for someone else. If you could see me when I arrived in Disneyland Paris you wouldn’t believe a 28yo was there. Not that there is anything wrong with adults visit but wow, I was a kid again. Paris the city I loved big time but enjoyed it more the second time round more than first.

18. Ireland 🇮🇪 {Dublin}

Irish 🍀 coffee or whiskey anyone? No, hoe about a baby Guinness shot? All these were new to me and boy did I fall in love or what. I would return to this awesome city because of that and the lovely people not for the weather.


19. Denmark 🇩🇰 {Copenhagen}

Your visit to Scandinavia wouldn’t be complete without the a dip into the Danish city of Copenhagen. Whilst they were short on viking looking men but made up in every other way. This is a city after my own heart.

20. South Africa 🇿🇦 {Johannesburg, Pretoria}

Though the aim was to visit my family residing on Johannesburg I did get a chance to see other parts of South Africa. Next time I go I want to see Cape Town and maybe the safari too.

21. Italy {Milan, Venice}

The visit to Venice was epic, though we were in Milan and stayed in Milan we hardly ventured out. I am excited to book a couple more Italian cities like Florence and Rome.

Monte Carlo

22. Monaco {Monte Carlo}

It was an impromptu decision to visit Monaco whilst I was in the south of France but best one ever. I was able to explore the majority of this tiny country in half a day and it was truly epic. Definitely want to go back but this time to watch formula one.

23. Hungary {Budapest}

Who wouldn’t love to visit Budapest? I know I would go back in a heartbeat if I ever got a chance to see it again. Every thing is as good as you hear especially at night cruising on the Danube or spending all day in a thermal bath.

24. Cyprus {Limassol, Nicosia, Paphos, Larnaca}

I have always been intrigued by this small island in the Mediterranean sea not only by the weather but foods too. When I finally did get a chance to visit I try to explore it all in space of 4-days.


25. Sweden {Stockholm}

I love Swedish people, not only do they have awesome DJ’s they practice Hygge like the Danish. I love that they take time out of their day to just sit and enjoy life, taking a moment to appreciate it all.

30 Countries Before 30: Excluded countries

I have chosen to exclude the following countries because most were airport layovers or I spent less than 3 hours. It would have been easier to add them but where is the fun in that?

  1. Fukuoka, Japan – I had a 14-hour layover and because the airport is not 24 hours I had to book a hotel. I didn’t really get to explore the city, I just had my food, looked for a minute and went to sleep.
  2. Shanghai, China – I had a 3-hour layover and did not set foot outside the airport.
  3. Nairobi, Kenya – flights with Kenyan Airways you always have a layover at Kenyatta international airport. All the times I have used the airway on route to Zambia I am not set foot outside the airport.
  4. Dubai, United Arab Emirates – again same thing as Kenyan Airways, not set foot outside the airport no matter the length of layover.
  5. D.R.C Congo – Zambia borders with Congo and I have visited the no-man’s lands and set foot in Congo but only for a minute.

I am not even going to say technically I have visited 30 countries already because I actually haven’t. As a wanderlust traveler, I am looking forward to visiting 5 more countries in the next 9 weeks. Wish me luck as I will need it.

For those who are 30 or will soon be 30, have you done {or started} this type of challenge {self}? How are you progressing?

Read the full original post here authored by Miranda Malanga. You can visit her blog here.

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