30 Before 30: Halfway There!

I haven’t been the best at keeping up with this blog (hello, 1.5 months since the last post!)  It’s been a busy few months for us with our move, a job opportunity that came and went, and some big news that I’m hoping to reveal soon.  In all the hustle and bustle I realized that I haven’t updated on my most recent adventures.  I know it says I’m halfway there but I’m actually a little further along – 18 out of 30 experiences completed so far.  Here’s a refresher on how this got started and the first 10 experiences:

The Short-Term Bucket List Challenge

30 Before 30: The First 5

30 Before 30: 5 More Experiences

Since my last post on this challenge I’ve been busy with lots of outdoor adventures.  We took a family trip to San Diego in May and another trip to Lake Chelan in July that gave me plenty of opportunity to cross a few things off my list.

30 Before 30: Sea Kayaking :: thebeautywithout.com

#11:  Sea Kayaking

Location: Bike & Kayak Tours, La Jolla Beach, La Jolla, CA

Note: this is a stock photo because I’m really bad at remembering to take photos.

I’ve been kayaking before (long ago as a kid) but this was the first time I’ve tried sea kayaking.  Sea kayaking is a lot different than kayaking on a lake or a river because you have waves to contend with on your way out and on the way back in.  Mr. TBW and I chose to do a tandem kayak with me at front to navigate and call out the paddling side (control freak here).  Unlike half of our tour group, we managed to not spill out of the kayak at any time which I consider a huge success .  We did a “tour” of the La Jolla sea caves which actually meant paddling out to look at the caves and then having the opportunity to briefly enter one of the caves with assistance from one of the guides, preceded by a lengthy description of all the things that can go wrong when you’re inside the cave (head injuries, tipping kayak, etc).  We opted out of the cave tour since the rest of the group each went in for only 10 seconds and the waves seemed to be pounding a lot of the kayaks into the walls.  Overall we enjoyed the kayak experience but would prefer to continue our kayaking adventures on lakes and rivers from now on.  This was Mr. TBW’s first kayak ride and he’s already expressed interest in more tandem adventures.  With our frequent trips to Lake Chelan and our girls’ love of anything boat-related, I forsee a kayak purchase in our future.

30 Before 30: Hot Air Balloon Ride :: thebeautywithout.com

#12:  Hot Air Balloon

Location: Panorama Balloon Tours, Del Mar, CA

This one really exceeded my expectations.  No amount of explanation from the tour guides about the ease of lift-off could have prepared us for how smooth and safe the ride felt, we were truly surprised at how secure we felt in the balloon.  As someone who is afraid of heights this didn’t bother me much.  We had a nice flight over some of the richest neighborhoods in SoCal including the mega mansion of one or more members of the McDonalds family.  It gave us a nice opportunity to reflect on the abundances of the world and we had a nice conversation with the balloon pilot about our choice to downsize our home.  The only alarming part of the ride was the landing – no one prepared us for the fact that hot air balloon landings aren’t very controlled.  We missed at least 2 landing targets before finally coming to a bumpy stop on the side of a random hill in the middle of an artichoke field.  This was where I learned that artichoke plants have some nasty sticker-like needles that break off after they bury into your skin. Ask me how I know.

After landing, we enjoyed a nice champagne toast while we watched the sunset.  Then we watched a set of 4 other balloon riders take off without leaving a tip for the very talented and hard working team that ensured we took off and landed safely.  Mr. TBW and I made sure to cover a portion of their amount because that was the right thing to do.  Seriously though, it’s important to acknowledge the effort that tour guides and other staff put in to making your experiences great!

30 Before 30: Paddle Boarding :: thebeautywithout.com

#13:  Paddle boarding

Location: Lake Chelan, Chelan, WA

Note: this is another stock photo because I’m still really bad at remembering to take photos.

At our annual trip to Lake Chelan I finally got the chance to experience paddle boarding.  I felt like legit badass for being able to stand up and balance on it right away and paddle quite a distance before tiring out and coming back to shore.  Nothing exciting to report about this one except the fact that I plan to try it again and build a killer core.  Now that my in-laws own land in Chelan and plan to build a house in the next 1-2 years, I expect we will invest in both a kayak and a paddle board to help contribute to the “vacation house” equipment collection.  This challenge is paying off already – lots of new hobbies to explore!

30 Before 30: Jet Skiing :: thebeautywithout.com

#14:  Jet Skiing

Location: Lake Chelan, Chelan, WA

Again, not a photo of me (might as well continue the lack-of-photo trend) but those pip squeaks on the jet skis are my kids so it’s a nice substitute.

Full transparency here, I actually have been on a jet ski before but I’ve always been a passenger, never a driver.  My in-laws rent jet skis almost every year and I always pass on riding because of bad experiences in the past (namely Mr. TBW being a crazy jet ski driver).  This year I sucked it up and went for a nice, long ride alongside Mr. TBW.  He did do a few circles around me on account of his years of experience owning and riding jet skis as a teen.  I’m pretty tentative on new-to-me motor-powered vehicles so I spent most of my time getting comfortable at faster speeds, making turns at very slow speeds and figuring out how to absorb the impacts of the choppy water without giving myself a stiff neck.  All-in-all I’ll definitely be back on these next year.  Our twins each got to ride with us and they LOVED it too, a bit more than I’m probably comfortable with.

Side note: These things can be dangerous.  We actually witnessed a group of jet ski renters the next day who were riding fast inside the no-wake zone and very close to swimmers.  They almost ran into my mother-in-law on a kayak with one of my girls and then nearly tipped her over because of the wake.  Had she not been stuck in a kayak with my daughter, I’m pretty sure she would have found a way to deck the guy.  I called the police to report the situation (4 riders and 300+ swimmers at our beach) but no one ever responded.  Luckily it seems no one got hurt.

30 Before 30: Parasailing :: thebeautywithout.com

#15:  Parasailing

Location: Lake Chelan, Chelan, WA

Like the hot air balloon, I was shocked at how smooth the ride was and how secure I felt in the harness.  My sister-in-law and I went for a tandem ride and had the best conversation during out 15 minute ride.  My favorite part about parasailing is how quiet it is up there when all you can hear is the muffled sound of the boat motor below you.  The boat driver slowed down just enough to dip our feet in the water and managed to steer the boat around so that we got some awesome views of the lake and the surrounding homes.  It was a bit expensive for such a short ride but was worth it to do it once.


So that rounds out the halfway mark of my challenge.  I have 3 more experiences already completed that I’ll post about once I get to 20.  With just under 3 months and 12 experiences left I need to average 4 new experiences per month to cross 30 before my birthday.  Wish me luck!

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