Summary of My ’26 Before 26′ Birthday Goals Around the World

THIS HAS BEEN, without a doubt, the best year of my life. Before leaving on our trip around the world I made a list of goals (as I do each year) of 26 things I wanted to do before my 26th birthday on July 12th. Here are some photographs highlighting my favorite things I experienced and accomplished from my birthday goal list.

I got married on August 15, 2014!

I got married on August 15, 2014!

I walked 500 miles of an ancient pilgrimage called the Camino de Santiago.

I walked 500 miles of an ancient pilgrimage called the Camino de Santiago.

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I went to the top of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

I slept in a hammock in the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil

I wrote and submitted to 10 different publications and contests.

I wrote and submitted to 10 different publications and contests (this was the journal from Florence I filled from the Camino de Santiago).

I finally had a day where I literally did nothing without stress at my family cabin.

I finally had a day where I literally did nothing without stress at my family cabin.

I'm lucky to have so many great friends and family. I had a goal to stay connected with them on the trip and feel I did the best I could given distance. I also made a lot of new great friends.

I’m lucky to have so many great friends and family. I had a goal to stay connected with them on the trip and feel I did the best I could given distance. I also made a lot of new great friends.

Eating mango sticky rice as much as possible in Thailand.

I ate mango sticky rice as much as possible in Thailand.

I successfully found fish I didn't hate in the Amazon.

I successfully found fish I didn’t hate in the Amazon.

We learned how to do Thai massages.

We learned how to do Thai massages.

I completed my marriage around the world research project.

I completed the field part of my marriage around the world research project.

I made my goal of learning to cook 3 new international dishes.

I made my goal of learning to cook three international dishes.

I explored career options. I am committed to becoming a writer and finding a meaningful job alongside it.

I explored career options. I am committed being a writer and finding a meaningful job alongside it.

We made it to Machu Picchu!

We made it to Machu Picchu!

The day before my birthday I finally finished my goal to do the Freedom Trail.

The day before my birthday I finally finished my goal to do the Freedom Trail.

Of course, we experienced so much more not pictured than I ever could have predicted when I drafted these goals a year ago. Here’s to a new year and my ’27 Before 27′ birthday goals!

Rachel Rueckert

Rachel Rueckert is a writer, photographer, teacher, and travel addict with a background in English and anthropology. Though she is based out of Boston, she is currently backpacking around the world doing an independent writing and research project on marriage around the globe with her new husband.

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