This week I turned thirty years old. That feels so incredibly strange to type out. “Hello, my name is Jana and I’m thirty years old.” I am having a bit of a hard time with this realisation that I’ve completed 1/3 of my life already, because inside I still feel and act like I’m 25 (sometimes even like I’m 12 – especially when I watch Disney movies the whole day).
It’s a tough age for us women, and I just recently started realising that. The fact that I am getting older and can’t go backwards kind of freaks me out, if I’m being honest. I’m not officially married yet, have zero interest in babies right now, and that scares the crap out of me because as you know, us women are only open for baby making business for a limited amount of time. Also, in last 2 years many of my good friends got married, got babies, got apartments and are meeting each other to have some fun while I’m on the other side of the world.
But then I realise I’m on the other side of the world with ‘THE ONE’, who loves exploring the world as much as I do and we are planning out amazing future together. Also, I’m exploring countries which a few years ago I only admired in TV, trying new dishes my dad would have never tried, facing challenges I would have never known about and seeing things I’ve never imagined to see.
So since I’m thirty, I decided to sit down and wrote a list of 30 things I’m happy I did and I will never forget about (in no order – it is hard to tell which one was the best).
1. Dancing with mantas
My first scuba ever dive and I was so lucky to see three mantas circling around the reef where we were. It was an amazing view to see those gigantic birds of the ocean so close to me (that’s me in the photo, when I wasn’t instructed what to do and I decided to follow this manta around).
2. See the sunrise over Bagan
In December 2016, my dream of visiting temples of Bagan came true and I have to say that the sunrise was spectacular and everyone should visit that place at least once!
3. Getting proposed on Sipadan island
Two years together and still madly in love, so why not to put a ring on it (as Beyonce would say)? 🙂
4. Being in a talk show on a national TV
In February 2013 I was invited to a famous Czech talk show as a guest. I remember I was driving my car and I asked them to call me again, so I could think about it. Once I put my phone down I screamed with excitement…I just couldn’t believe it. I had to call my best friend to ask if I should. She is the kinda person who says yes to every challenge, so I said yes too. The moderator is known to be ruthless and cheeky so I was super stressed out. In the end, he likes technology as much as I do and we had a nice talk 🙂
5. Meeting orangutans
This was a special meeting. Even my eyes got wet and my camera got turned off for a moment. You can read the whole article here.
6. Swimming in Blue lagoon
It stank like old eggs or like someone just farted, but after two hour soaking in this magical water I got baby soft skin!
7. Learning to wakeboard
One of my favourite water sports so far and I’m so happy that my friends talked me into it, that I didn’t give up after many falls and that in the end I became a friend with my board!
8. Learning to kitesurf
This one was quite tough for me. Constant wind and waves together with a huge uncontrollable kite. Every day I walked to the school with a lack of enthusiasm. However, once I was in the water I was excited about my progress 🙂
9. Sleeping in the same bed as Prince William and Kate did
Sometimes I get surprised by my luck. Like in 2014, when one travel agency picked me up to work with them as a photographer. I visited the top 10 luxurious resorts and got paid for it! The best one was Cheval Blanc (click here to read the review) where I stayed in the same villa as Prince William and Kate did just two weeks before my arrival.
10. Being lost in Koh Samui
It was a year 2015. With a terribly weak rented scooter, roaming through the jungle hills trying to find one location using my google maps. While riding my scooter through the motocross trail I lost my phone. So I turned around to look for it. Luckily, guys in the jeep behind me found it and gave it back to me. I was saved! (whole article here)
11. Standing at the most western point of Indonesia
We went to this hidden paradise island Pulau Weh (article here) to scuba dive. Since we were there we drove to the other side of the island to step on the most western point of Indonesia! Now I only have to go to the most eastern side of Indonesia! 🙂
12. Sailing in Croatia with my best friend
One week on a yacht with my best friend. No more words needed <3
13. Drinking corona with my friends in a jacuzzi of the most luxurious live aboard in Maldives
In the Maldives I helped to organise parties for expats. Our favourite spot for the party was a liveaboard cruise ship Scubaspa Ying. Amazing cabins, huge spa, outdoor bar and a jacuzzi on the top deck!
14. Visiting Disney World
Who knows me well, they know that I love to watch Disney movies! So the trip to Disney World was for melike a trip to the wonderland.
15. Dancing with geysers in Iceland
Iceland during the winter is like a fairytale – full of waterfalls, lava fields, smoking water and geysers. Just ignore my funny face in the photo 😀
16. Feeding elephants
Short trip to Sri Lanka ended up by driving to Kandy, where I visited an elephant sanctuary. My favourite moment was definitely me feeding the elephant with fruits! But please, keep in mind – do not ride elephants!
17. Being an au-pair in the USA
My first long term trip to a different country. In 2011 I left to USA, where I lived in Alabama for 6 months, got three boys to take care of and I loved it!
18. Living in Malé
First two days I cried. A lot. Arriving to the capital of Maldives was shocking (you can read why here). It was my first trip to Asia and I arrived to this overcrowded and over-biked city. However, I enjoyed my year there, I met amazing people and visited the world’s most luxurious resorts. I will never forget the year of 2014.
19. Relaxing in Beer spa
When visiting Czech, a beer spa is a must. So when I took my fiancee to Czech, we had to stop by in the beer spa! It cost 50 dollars per hour per person and you can drink as much beer as you can 🙂 My fiancee was able to drink at least 2.5 litres of beer 😀 What about you?
20. World Music festival in Borneo
Every year in August, bands from all around the world meet in Sarawak – Borneo to show their country’s traditional music. Where? In the traditional Malay village hidden in the middle of Borneo’s rainforest. At one point, listening to the traditional instruments made me shed a tear. If you want to know more about it, you can read it in my earlier post here.
21. Experiencing Thaipusam
I’ve seen this Hindu festival twice and I want to see it again. All the food, music, people and decorations make it unforgettable. More photos here.
22. Staying in an all-inclusive luxury resort in Maldives for free
One day I was offered to be part of a promotional video for one resort in Maldives. That meant I got to enjoy the resort for three days while being filmed. They needed a couple, so I took my fiancee and we flew there together. In exchange we got another three days to stay there…what a deal! Here’s the video!
23. Visiting the capital of Game of Thrones – Dubrovnik
What a beautiful ancient town – I’m not surprised it was chosen to be in Game of Thrones. I was lucky to see the filming in the town and watch Tyrion and Jaime in action.
24. Exploring Paris
Wondering around Paris and getting lost in its small roads while listening to a soundtrack from a movie Amelia is still one of my favourite moments – even it’s been 6 years since I went there. I stayed there only for few days and I want to go back again.
25. Skiing in the Alps
I love skiing in the Alps! The never ending slopes, no people and awesome views!
26. Eat, pray, love in Ubud
Ubud is a gorgeous spot. We stayed in a wonderful resort called Komaneka Bisma. So much beauty, from the rice fields, to the jungles, to the smiling faces of the local warm Balinese people. We loved the people, and we love the beauty in and around Ubud!
27. Flying in a balloon over Moravia
It was always my dream to fly in a balloon and one day, thanks to work, I was able to fullfill my dream.
28. Finding a hair of Buddha holding the Golden rock
What makes this work of art so special? The location, for sure. In fact, the Kyaiktiyo Pagoda is perched on a massive granite boulder, which has been balancing on a cliff on top of Mount Kyaikto for over 2500 years. Legend has it that the balance of the rock depends on a strand of the Buddha’s hair, without which it would have fallen from the cliff. The sacred rock, also known as the “golden rock”, is covered with gold leaves pasted on by devotees after the pilgrimage in sign of respect to gain merit and purify their souls. Today, the rock is fully covered with gold, and the sight at dawn and at sunset is unique, as the light reflects on it making it shine even more.
29. Living in Penang
Penang is one of the best SE Asian cities to live in. The island is offering many possibilities. You can hike in the jungle, relax by the beach, shop in huge shopping malls or you can eat! Penang is famous for food. You can choose from various options – Indian, Thai, Chinese, Malay, Western, Mexican, Japanese and many more. Also, Penang is very artsy – many festivals, workshops and street art everywhere you look (more details here)! We lived there for 2 years and I call Penang my second home!
30. Moving to Vietnam
We moved to Vietnam only three months ago, however I can tell already I’m not gonna forget about it. The chaos in the cities comparing to the beauty of the nature – what a contrast.
When I look back I don’t actually care so much that I’m already thirty years YOUNG 😀 I enjoyed those years as much as I could and I don’t regret anything. If my last thirty years look like this, I’m full of wonder of what my next thirty years will bring.
I tend to think of myself as an “it’s never too late” variety of person. It’s never too late to move to a new country. It’s never too late to change your career. It’s never too late to learn Spanish. Some might call it delusion, but I call it optimism. That said, there are plenty of experiences and things I have on my list and I want to do them.
Thank you for reading it till the end! Now it’s a time for a question for you. What was your best moment in your life so far?