27 Things to Do Before I’m 27

Me on the last day of my pilgrimage to Santiago

Me on the last day of my pilgrimage to Santiago in May 2015

IT’S GOING TO BE hard to top last year’s birthday goals. I’ve planned on traveling the world for some time, and I got to live that dream for most of my 26th year. But now what? Luckily the world is a big place, but this year my goals are quieter and less quantifiable (even though I love checking off experiences). Long-term travel has shaped the kind of goals I want to make for this year, which are more self-improvement based and commitments to myself so I can live a happier life.

  1. Avoid being too busy—I start to crumble without enough ‘me time’ and when I don’t have the energy to take care of my relationships, which are really what are most important to me.
  2. Cultivate a sense of wonder no matter where I am—I love to travel and will never stop traveling, but I want to work on being present and open to exciting experiences no matter where I’m at. Possible places to explore are Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Code, and other microadventures I’ve never done in Boston.
  3. Take 10,000 Steps a Day—The Camino de Santiago (which was over 1,000,000 steps/500 miles) taught me the benefits of walking. Using a phone app I will track how far I walk. This will be easier now that I don’t own a car.
  4. Stand up taller—I slouch like crazy and have tons of shoulder knots. I want to walk with more confidence and presence, so I’m setting a random alarm on my phone each day to check in with this goal.
  5. Speak up more—Often people hear only half of what I say because I mumble, and the other part of the time they don’t hear me at all. I’m going to watch for videos online to learn how to project my voice better. I’m going to talk louder, clearer, and more frequently rather than feeling like a passive observer in conversations.
  6. Have more charity—I aspire to be more charitable in how I think about people. I also want to give Austin the benefit of the doubt more and practice active listening. I’m open to volunteering this year as well.
  7. Reach out to friends and family—Throughout the day there are big and small opportunities to reach out and connect. If something reminds me of a friend or sibling, I want to let them know.
  8. Collect poems—I want to collect the poems I’ve memorized in a notebook for refreshers. I also want to memorize three new poems.
  9. Write a letter once a week—This was an unfulfilled goal last year, but I want to write letters every Sunday again.
  10. Write 5-6 essays about marriage from my project—Within a year I want a collection of polished essays about my research and reflections traveling the world and researching this topic.
  11. Have 400 total books read on GoodreadsI didn’t reach my goal to 375 this year but feel confident this will be the year I make it.
  12. Plan another trip—This could be local or big, like a pending trip to Sweden to visit a friend or Germany to do family history
  13. Get a job I like—Life is too short to spend it working in a place that burns me out. I’m looking for something that will fill me up, pay the bills, and still give me time and the emotional energy to write every morning.
  14. Prioritize my marriage— One of the best parts of traveling with world with Austin was our communication and quality time together. I want to continue making these a priority in our second year of marriage.
  15. Cultivate healthy eating patterns— Since the trip my body has come to love second breakfast. If I listen to my body, I should eat more frequently but in smaller portions. I also plan to cook three new vegetarian meals and learn to use those weird spices stocked in the cupboard.
  16. Finish my Science of Happiness EdX class—Even though I’m technically finished with this Berkeley online class, I want to wrap up the course and pick out the concrete lessons to apply to my life
  17. Journal daily— Since returning to the States I’ve stopped writing in my journal each night. I notice a difference in my quality of life and want to keep up the habit.
  18. Write every morning— I want to say and own it when I say “I am a writer.” I have an ambitious goal to write 1,500 words five days a week.
  19. Finish my MatadorU travel writing course—I’m halfway through a travel writing program. I’d like to wrap it up so I can work towards submitting and pitching more articles.
  20. Enroll in some kind of continuing education for writing—I’m looking for another course to further my development as a writer. It could be online but in Cambridge I have many opportunities to do it in person.
  21. Participate in a book club—I’ve never joined one, but I’d like to try it out.
  22. Take daily vitamins—I have a somewhat absurd vitamin D deficiency, which doesn’t help with depression. All I have to do is remember to take supplements. Can’t be that hard, right?
  23. Post daily to Instagram—I have thousands of photographs to edit. Rather than feeling overwhelmed, I’d like to commit to a post a day to my @deliberate_wanderer travel photography account.
  24. Double my social media following—Not to be cool (because I actually dislike this kind of thing), but to get press trips and other opportunities I’m going to double my social media following for my travel accounts. Right now this is where I stand: Twitter: 2,671 FB: 315 Instagram: 1,106)
  25. Live minimally in a clean house—Throughout our travels I only carried one bag. You don’t need much to survive, and I don’t want a house full of junk.
  26. Yoga and stretching in the mornings—I’m embarrassed to tell people I took a yoga teacher certification class in India years ago because I can’t even touch my toes anymore. I’d like to do morning stretches to wake up and be more in tune with my body.
  27. Do something to practice Spanish—Traveling through South America and Spain has re-inspired me to finish what I started in college to strive for fluency in Spanish. I will take a community class in the area, volunteer, or do Rosetta Stone.





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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6 Responses

  1. Holly says:

    What wonderful goals. I was much less focused at 27 on such specific goals. It was mostly about work & travel but not much else. Last year I decided to do the simplifying thing & that’s why I started blogging. My other blog is focused on simplifying & organising. You’ve also inspired me to put my step counter back on. Writing as a job means I sit on my butt too much lol good luck!

    • Rachel Rueckert says:

      Thank you, Holly. I need to revisit my goals and remember to get off my butt too! I should have made a goal about going outside more. Writing can get tedious, right?

  2. We like you articles, and will come back from time to time. Really you are doing a great job!

  3. This is inspiring. Love the photos you took during your trip. I can’t wait for my next photo+travel trip. I read this post and I thought it is worth sharing too.

    Stanley Chuah