By the Time I’m 50

By Kristin Zibell

ImageI was sitting at my parent’s computer looking for jobs in the winter of 2009. You may remember that time… the DOW Index was at 6700 and the country’s economic outlook was as frozen as the Wisconsin winter that I was now in the middle of. I had just taken my first big trip to India and returned a few weeks prior. After two months in tropical heat and seeing world wonders, I was without a job, savings or prospects.

My head in my hands, I started a pity party. “Why didn’t I travel in my 20s? Why didn’t I get this all out of my system then?” The future seemed so endless then, like I could do anything and 30 would never come. But instead of venturing out, at 24 I had chosen marriage and a then a career, both of which I had just left behind to travel the world.

My Dad came up behind me and interrupted my whining. He’s a retired teacher who introduced adventure to my sister and me at an early age with summer road trips all around the United States. “Kris, it’s a good thing you worked and devoted all that time to your career instead of travel. You have choices now, you can do many things. Imagine if you were just starting out in your 30s. You’d be starting over.” He was right and I felt it. With a more hopeful attitude, I set about finding a consulting gig that would fund my two and a half months in the Middle East that spring.

Now, I’m 35 and living in San Francisco after two years of traveling around the world. The wanderlust is always there so I travel locally, squeezing as much out of this amazing city as possible. By the time I’m 50, my hope is that I use what I’ve learned and done to create something bigger than myself and see more of the world wonders. Here’s my “By 50 list” and I applaud Molly for looking to her 50th year with world travels and excitement.

  • Inspire others to live their travel dreams through workshops like Meet Plan Go and my blog
  • Visit at least 10 places on National Geographic’s 50 places of a lifetime list (my original travel inspiration list)
  • Live in the great cities of the world. This list currently includes: Rome, Paris, Mumbai, Cairo, Buenos Aires, Istanbul, and London (but is expanding)
  • Do a yearlong trip around South American with my significant other
  • Celebrate San Fermin festival (running of the bulls), walk the Camino de Santiago, and taste the flavors of Costa Brava with that significant other
  • Run an organization that educates and empowers woman
  • Write stories of women who decided to take a different path than their family or culture expected
Bio: Kristin Zibell is a travel writer and blogger based in San Francisco, California. She is a chronic world traveler and author of, a site of resources to inspire travelers to take their own big trips. 

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