10 Backpacking Hacks: Travel Like Indiana Jones

countrysign

By Joshua Harper

Everyone loves to travel. You see spectacular places, meet amazing people, and make memories you’ll never forget. As it turns out though it’s a pretty expensive hobby to have. After an accumulated one year abroad spanning some twenty-one different countries I’ve learned a few things about traveling and how to do it right, but more importantly how to do it cheap. Being homeless for two weeks in Northern Europe and sleeping on beaches across Southern Europe are great character building experiences but my tips will help you avoid them.

Disclaimer: Backpacking is not vacationing. Anyone that’s ever properly backpacked knows you’re in it for the experiences and not the comfort.

1. Travel Light

If you go two weeks without touching something in your bag, take it to the nearest lake, river, or ocean and throw it in (please don’t actually do this). You’d be surprised how many people lug around a 62 liter backpack while also wearing another small backpack backwards. This is WAY too much. It’s a fact you’re going to be doing a healthy amount of walking during your trip so do your shoulders a favor and stick to a 42 liter backpack and one other small bag for easy access. If there’s no way you can fit everything you need with this setup then take less. You want to be prepared but don’t over do it. You probably don’t need the fifth snap back or more than 2 pairs of shoes and don’t take camping gear unless you think you’re actually going to camp. Remember you can always buy most anything you’ll need wherever you are. For those that still can’t make it work stop reading and go buy a suitcase. Here’s a list of a few useful items to take:
-Norwood mini LED flashlight
-REI Multitowel Quick Dry Towel
-Alpine Collapsable Spork
-Travel Journal
-Simple first aid kit

2. Airports=Cheap Hotels

airportsleep

You have a flight from Heathrow airport to Istanbul leaving at 7:30 AM. You could spend the night in an expensive hostel just to wake up at 3 AM and pay an exorbitant rate for a forty minute shuttle ride, or you could just sleep at the airport. You’ll save on transport, you won’t have to pay for a hostel, and let’s be honest you really wouldn’t have gotten much of a last night in with that 3 AM wake up call anyway. You can attempt the party all night, crash on the plane method but weigh the consequences, missing a two or three hundred euro flight when you’re already broke could be detrimental. Besides there’s nothing like getting drunk with your travel mates in an airport (Again I’m not officially advocating this). It may not be the most comfortable night but then again you’re backpacking not vacationing.

3. Exchanging Currency is for Rookies

Never…Ever…EVER bring all your money planning to exchange it upon arrival. Besides not wanting to carry that much cash you’ll get taken over the exchange rates offered by most banks. Travelers check are a thing of the past and prepaid cards are the worst of all because if they’re stolen and you’re having trouble reporting it, the process is difficult, you often can’t get the money back. They also have the added handicap of not being as wieldy as cash. Whenever travelling take two debit cards so you can incrementally withdraw local currency from ATM’s. Sure, most banks charge a withdrawal fee if you’re out of country, but it’s usually pretty comparable to the fee you pay for exchanging anyway. Also you only have to withdraw as much as you need so you won’t end up in Thailand with one hundred thousand Cambodian Riel. As a backup take a credit card and one or two hundred US dollars that should only be exchanged in case of an emergency. Oh, and it should go without saying but notify your bank that you’re leaving so your cards don’t get cancelled the first time a charge from Phnom Penh, Cambodia shows up.

4. Kindle for the Win

You might think you’ll be too busy trekking through jungles, taking in the culture, and meeting interesting people to read. You’re wrong. While you’ll do all those things the truth is there will also be endless hours of transit and more than one night where all you’ll want to do is curl up in bed and take it easy. Traveling is one of the best times to catch up on your reading because that’s just what you have, time. A thirty-six hour trans-mediterranean ferry provides a great opportunity to finally read Game of Thrones like you’ve been saying you want to do since season one. Most likely the one book you thought would get you through six weeks will be done in three days and you’ll be stuck deciding between the Hunger Games in Turkish or an an abandoned copy of Crime and Punishment to occupy the rest of your trip. Just bring a Kindle and have access to as many books as you want while taking up barely any space in your bag.

5. Negotiate!

Don’t underestimate how much money you can save by negotiating and I don’t just mean over souvenirs in a market. Negotiate for everything from tour guides to renting rooms in a hostel. Maybe you hate it and think your chances of success are low but you’ll get better and find that more often than not people people would rather drop the price a few euros than see you walk away. Getting better at this process is essential to backpacking especially in certain countries like Morocco where everything is negotiable and simply saying “no” to vendors sometimes feels like it requires a business degree.

6. Live Together, Die Alone

If you’re traveling with friends for any extended period of time you’re going to get sick of each other eventually. If you travel alone you’ll get sick of the alternate personalities you make up to keep yourself company. Either way, other people are going to be your saving grace. Not only will you get to spend time with anyone other than who you’ve been stuck with for the past five weeks but you’ll save money too. Group rates are very real and it’s a lot harder for a hostel owner to say no to your negotiations when there are five rooms on the line instead of one. Most importantly traveling is all about meeting people and sharing your cultures and experiences. Dont be shy! Go make new friends and build that international network so you’ll have a couch to crash on no matter where you go.

7. Bread for Days

One of the best parts of visiting somewhere new is trying the food and restaurants know it so anything even remotely related to the local cuisine is going to be sky high expensive. You need to come to terms with the fact that every meal in Italy won’t be gourmet pasta or pizza. Allow yourself one nice meal a day and scrape by the rest of the time on freshly baked bread. It’s dirt cheap and made fresh every morning, so learn to love it. Oh, and don’t forget to eat fruit every few days. You don’t want scurvy.

8. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

You’ve probably heard that a Eurail pass is the best way to traverse Europe. This is definitely true if you know the exact countries you plan to visit and order the pass months before you leave. If you’re like me and travel more spontaneously (or anywhere other than Europe) you need to master the art of finding cheap transit. This might mean cramming shoulder to shoulder into a rickety bus, praying it doesn’t topple off a cliff as it chugs along winding roads through the Luang Prabang mountains in Laos. Your wallet will thank you and if you survive you’ll have a great story to tell. Talk to the locals and find out what they use to get from place to place because though it can be tough to find it’s almost always going to be cheaper. For example MeinFernbus is a bus company in Germany that offers rates at nearly one fourth the price of trains but can’t be easily found in a Google search.

9. Go With the Flow

Things are going to go wrong. That’s the nature of traveling so you need to be ready to pivot and make the best of a bad situation. If you’re island hopping in Greece there’s a decent chance you’ll stop somewhere for a day only to learn the ferry to the next island you want to visit doesn’t leave for a week. If this happens don’t get caught up trying to stick to your plan. Go with the flow and pick a new destination even if it’s only to connect somewhere else. Maybe you want to go North but you meet a cool group of backpackers heading East. Be flexible and don’t live or die by your plan so you don’t miss out on an unexpected, spontaneous adventure. If you planned to spend five days in Athens but feel like you’ve seen everything you wanted, talk to people and pivot, you might end up trekking to the clifftop monasteries in Meteora.
10. Timing and Planning

In essence this tip boils down to being knowledgeable about where you’re going and what’s happening while you’re there. A few friends and I planned a four week road trip through Morocco and upon arrival learned that Ramadan had just started. For those of you that don’t know, Ramadan is a month long holiday where members of the Islamic faith fast while the sun is up. We could eat but it made finding a meal during the day more difficult. Normally bustling streets looked like a ghost town during the day as everyone, not eating or drinking, took shelter inside to avoid the blistering heat. Where once we would have seen many backpackers we only met a handful for our first few weeks there. Although I enjoyed the cultural experience it was a very different trip than we had planned and it would have been tough to do alone and nearly impossible, or at least quite expensive, if we hadn’t rented a car. Don’t give up your spontaneity just do a little research before you leave. Trust me, you don’t want to miss a full moon party in the Thai Islands by a day because you booked your trip months in advance without ever looking into it.

Bonus Tip – Put the Camera Down

Pictures are a great way to remember the amazing experiences you’ve had while traveling. Despite this it’s important to remember you still need to live those experiences. With so many social media networks we spend a disproportionate amount of our lives being social online rather than in the real world. Take advantage of down time to send pictures and give updates but don’t try to instagram every photo you take as soon as you take it. Don’t view the world from behind the lens of a camera.

7 Low-Effort Recipes To Use Up All That Leftover Turkey!

Thanksgiving is almost here!  And there are all sorts of questions going through people’s heads as they get ready for the big day; “Where is Uncle Phil’s family going to sleep?”, “Who is bringing the pies?”, “What time do we need to start cooking the turkey?” and “What is our battle plan for Walmart on black Friday?”

These and 20 other questions are always flying around just a few days before the big T-day, but there’s one question nobody thinks about until they’re cleaning up from dinner on Thursday.  “What the heck are we going to do with all this left-over turkey?!?”

Well fear no more, here are 7 great low-effort recipes to help you get rid of all that left-over turkey after the big day!  Some of these recipes are our own inventions, and some are ones we’ve found on the internet and sort of adopted.  But they’re all guaranteed to fill up your tummy and empty out your fridge after the holidays!

  1. The Turkey Sandwich: This must be on the list! You just can’t go wrong with a good turkey sandwich.  It’s a classic, and enjoyed by many for days (or even weeks by some) after thanksgiving dinner.

TIME: Prep: 5 min. Cook: 0-1 min. MAKES: 1 serving

Ingredients

                Cooked Turkey Meat

                Bread (I use left over dinner rolls from thanksgiving)

                Cheese

                Condiments

Directions

This should be fairly self-explanatory.  Take two pieces of bread, add condiments to taste and add cheese and turkey, heat the turkey using a microwave or convection toaster if you like.  Eat and enjoy!

Turkey sandwich

(This recipe courtesy of Mom’s everywhere, Photo courtesy of mainefoodandlifestyle.com)

  1. Turkey Soup: This is a great low effort recipe for thanksgiving leftovers, just put it on the stove and walk away. Plus nothing beats a hot bowl of soup after a game of flag football out in the cold with the entire family the day after thanksgiving.

TIME: Prep: 30 min. Cook: 2 hours 35 min. MAKES: 8-10 servings

Ingredients

                1 leftover turkey carcass (from a 10- to 12-pound turkey)

                2 quarts water

                1 medium onion, cut into wedges

                1/2 teaspoon salt

                2 bay leaves

                1 cup chopped carrots

                1 cup uncooked long grain rice

                1/3 cup chopped celery

                1/4 cup chopped onion

                1 can (10-3/4 ounces) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted

Directions

Place the turkey carcass in a stockpot; add the water, onion, salt and bay leaves. Slowly bring to a boil over low heat; cover and simmer for 2 hours.

Remove carcass; cool. Strain broth and skim fat. Discard onion and bay leaves. Return broth to the pan. Add the carrots, rice, celery and chopped onion; cover and simmer until rice and vegetables are tender.

Remove turkey from bones; discard bones and cut turkey into bite-size pieces. Add turkey and cream soup to broth; heat through. Yield: 8-10 servings (about 2 quarts).

PRINTABLE VERSION

     Turkey Soup

(This recipe courtesy of tasteofhome.com here)

 

  1. Turkey and Dumplings: One of my family favorites, relatively quick, very filling and good for people who don’t think to keep the carcass of the turkey after they are done carving it.

TIME: Prep: 30 min. Cook: 45 minutes. MAKES: 3-4 servings

Ingredients

                Stew:

      1 ½ lbs cooked turkey meat

                32oz chicken broth (canned, boxed or from bullion)

                1 ½ cup chopped carrots

                1 cup chopped celery

                2-3 bay leaves

                Salt to taste

                1 tsp ground pepper

                Dumplings:

                1 cup all-purpose flour

                2 tsp baking powder

                1 tsp white sugar

                ½ tsp salt

                1 Tbsp. Parsley flakes

                1 Tbsp. Margarine or butter

                ½ cup Milk

                    Directions

Shred or cube the turkey meat.  In a medium pot, put the broth, turkey, carrots and celery.  Add the salt and pepper and stir until mixed.  Add the bay leaves on top, try not to stir around the bay leaves too much as you will want to remove them later, if you stir too hard you will break them up in the soup.  Heat over medium-high heat to a gentle boil and reduce heat to a simmer, cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.  Carefully remove the bay leaves with a slotted spoon or fork.

In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients for the dumplings.  Mix in the margarine until crumbly, add milk and stir into a soft dough.  Bring the soup to a boil and drop in the dough by spoonful on top of the soup, try to evenly cover the top of the soup.  Boil, covered, for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly, the dumplings should be puffy and moist and have soaked up most of the broth so the soup should be a very thick stew at this point.  Serve by scooping dumplings into bowls and ladling the stew on top.

PRINTABLE VERSION

Turkey and Dumplings

                    (This recipe courtesy of the Bell Family)

 

  1. Shepherd’s Pie: Another one of my favorites, you can use up of all kinds of leftovers with this recipe, not just the turkey!  I always cook my shepherd’s pie in a Dutch Oven because I have a deep and abiding love of all things Dutch Oven cooked.  But a casserole dish in an oven at 350 will work just fine.

TIME: Prep: 20 min. Cook: 20 minutes. MAKES: 8-10 servings

Ingredients

                2 lbs cooked Turkey Meat (shredded or cubed)

                2 cups Gravy

                1 cup green beans

                1 cup chopped carrots

                1 cup peas

                3 cups mashed potatoes

                1 ½ cup shredded cheese

Directions

If you are doing this Dutch Oven style, you need to have at least a 12” oven.  Start by igniting 20-25 pieces of charcoal (do this outside please).  Place a piece of aluminum foil on the ground (for easy cleanup) and once the charcoal has reached temperature place 10-12 pieces on the foil in a circle, evenly spaced to cover the whole surface area of the bottom of the oven.  Place the oven over the coals and evenly space the remaining 10-12 pieces on top of the lid.

For an indoor oven, preheat the oven to 350 and get out a large 9×13 casserole dish.

In the Dutch Oven (or casserole dish), mix together the turkey, gravy and vegetables.  Spread the mashed potatoes over the top of this mixture and top with cheese.  Replace the lid on the Dutch Oven or cover the casserole dish with aluminum foil.  Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and the gravy starts to bubble.  Remove from heat and serve.

PRINTABLE VERSION

Dutch oven Shepherds pie

(This recipe courtesy of the Bell Family)

 

  1. Creamy Turkey Enchiladas: This is a new one for us this year, my wife makes a mean creamy chicken enchilada so we decided this year we’re going to mix it up and switch up the bird in her recipe after the big day.  I can’t wait to try it personally, and while this recipe will be new for us, its Mamma recipe is a tried and true family favorite.

TIME: Prep: 30 min. Cook: 20-25 min. MAKES: 8-10 servings

Ingredients

2 lbs Cooked turkey meat (shredded)

16 oz Cream Cheese (softened)

1 4oz can diced chiles

1 20oz can enchilada sauce

2 cups shredded cheese

1 package tortillas

                    Directions

Mix the shredded turkey, cream cheese, chiles and half of the enchilada sauce in a bowl for the filling.  Spoon the filling into the tortillas, rolling them up and laying them down touching side by side in a 9×13 pan.  Cover the enchiladas with the remainder of the sauce and top with the shredded cheese.  Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.  Let set for 5 minutes and serve.

PRINTABLE VERSION

Chicken Enchiladas

(This recipe courtesy of the Bell Family)

 

  1. Cheddar Turkey Casserole:  Mac-n-cheese mixed with turkey in under an hour?  Where do I sign up?  This creamy casserole dish will be a big hit with everyone at the table!

TIME: Prep: 20 min. Bake: 35 min. MAKES: 6 servings

Ingredients

                4 cups uncooked spiral pasta

                1 garlic clove, minced

                3 tablespoons butter

                3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

                1 teaspoon salt

                ¼ teaspoon prepared mustard

                ¼ teaspoon dried thyme

                ¼ teaspoon pepper

                2 cups 2% milk

                1 ½ cups (6 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese

                2 cups cubed cooked turkey

                2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed

                ½ cup slivered almonds

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°. Cook pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, sauté garlic in butter until tender. Stir in flour, salt, mustard, thyme and pepper. Gradually stir in milk. Bring to a boil; cook and stir 2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in cheese until melted. Drain pasta; place in a large bowl. Toss with turkey, vegetables and cheese sauce.

Transfer to a greased 13×9-in. baking dish. Sprinkle with almonds. Bake, uncovered, 35-40 minutes or until heated through.

PRINTABLE VERSION

Cheddar Turkey Casserole

(This recipe courtesy of tasteofhome.com here)

 

  1. Turkey Pot Pie: This is a rich, creamy, and delicious way to use up some of the left-over turkey. This pot pie makes a warm inviting meal for the whole family to enjoy.

TIME: Prep: 20 min. Bake: 56 min. MAKES: 8 servings

Ingredients

¼ cup butter

½ cup chopped onion

 ½ cup chopped mushrooms

 1 tablespoon minced garlic

 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

 ½ teaspoon dried sage

 ¼ teaspoon dried thyme

 1 ½ cups prepared turkey gravy

 ½ cup water

 ½ cup milk

 1 (14 ounce) package frozen mixed vegetables, thawed and drained

 3 cups cooked turkey, cubed

 salt and ground black pepper to taste (optional)

 1 pastry for a 10-inch double crust pie

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onions, mushrooms, and garlic; cook until tender, but not browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the flour, sage, and thyme until blended. Pour in the gravy, water, and milk, stirring to blend. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the turkey and vegetables, and cook until vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes.

Line a 10 inch pie plate with the bottom crust. Pour in the turkey mixture. Cover with the top crust. Seal and crimp the edges. Pierce top crust in a few places with a fork. Cover the edges of the pie with strips of aluminum foil.

Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil strips, and bake until crust is golden, about 20 minutes more. Remove from oven, and rest 10 minutes before serving.

PRINTABLE VERSION

Turkey Pot Pie

(This recipe courtesy of allrecipes.com here)

9 factors international students consider when choosing to study abroad

International students abroad
http://www.schoolanduniversity.com/international-students

 

International students exist in almost every university around the globe. Especially, countries like the United States, Australia, UK, Canada, China, Japan, India and Germany that attract thousands of international students every year in both undergraduate and graduate level. So, what’s going through the head of international students before their arrival at the host university where they will live and study at?
Through this practical guide we will go through and highlight the factors the international students take into account before leaving their home country to study in a public or private university or college abroad.

Hope you enjoy it!

1. University reputation
“Reputation is an idle and most false imposition; oft got without merit and lost without deserving”
William Shakespeare, British poet, playwright and actor

Prestigious universities attract many international students every year. Sometimes, the competition among students is fierce, as the acceptance rate of some educational institutions is quite low so international students consider this is as an indicator of high-quality education and excellent academic background after graduation. Moreover, the reputation of the university includes other factors like world university rankings, researches and initiatives taken by the university to benefit the local community, and the country where the university is based in.

2. University tuition fees
“Studying is something I really love doing, and I just hope to have enough money for tuition”
Alexandra Kosteniuk, Russian former Women’s Chess Champion

“Money matters” play a crucial role at the selection of a university for the majority of international students, as the tuition fees for international students in some universities are relatively high and sometimes not affordable, even for wealthy families. That’s why many universities have a variety of scholarships or financial aid programs-loans, and tuition waivers-available to help incentivize students to make the decision to study abroad.

3. Safety
“You can be sure of succeeding in your attacks if you only attack places which are undefended. You can ensure the safety of your defense if you only hold positions that cannot be attacked.”
Sun Tzu, Military general, strategist and philosopher

Crime rates and public safety indicators in college towns or cities where universities are based are one of the factors that students take into consideration when it comes to safety while studying abroad. No student wants to get victimized or harmed by getting involved in criminal actions caused by third persons.
Parents especially are concerned about this issue since their child/children can put themselves in serious risks when they study in towns or cities where criminal actions occur very often or when the local community, university, and police are not able to take actions in order to prevent them.

4. Diversity
“Real cultural diversity results from the interchange of ideas, products, influences, not from the insular development of a single national style”
Tyler Cowen, American economist, academic and writer

International students consider the factor of diversity in the universities they apply for. “How many international students study in my university or what’s the percentage of international students here”, are two of the most common questions that international students ask the university advisors or look for on universities’ websites. It’s true that these students feel supported or welcomed by knowing there are other internationals who left their home countries for studies as they did, invested time, money & energy leaving behind the lives and comforts they had in their home countries and took similar risks by beginning a new life from scratch.

5. Job opportunities while studying
“Stay hungry, stay foolish”
Steve Jobs, American entrepreneur, marketer and inventor

International students trying to cover living expenses, tuition fees and other costs that may come up while abroad, in many cases seek to find job vacancies with flexible shifts in order for them to be in a position to work in parallel with their studies. Moreover, there are international students who pursue to gain practical experience in the subject of their interest or other major-related jobs by looking for major-related job openings.
In any case, international students are encouraged to apply for a job in parallel with their studies since the benefits they acquire are much more than just economic.

6. Second language fluency
“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his mind. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart”
Nelson Mandela, African anti-apartheid revolutionary politician and philanthropist

Most students who decide to cross their nation’s borders in order to study in foreign educational institutions have language barriers since they are not able to speak their native languages. Students may overcome these barriers by practising their foreign language skills on a regular basis with their classmates and teachers, by committing themselves in projects and presentations and by in-class participation. In this way international students are not only competitive students taking fairly high grades but also they get connected with native speakers and the local community of the country they live & study in.

7. Networking
My Golden Rule of Networking is simple: Don’t keep score”
Harvey Mackay, American entrepreneur, motivational speaker and author

International students participate in social events thrown by the university or student organizations in order to meet and interact with people coming from all over the world expanding in this way, their network of people they get in touch with. Furthermore, they are in a position to build strong relationships with people who have similar experiences and also to build bridges with others that they don’t have so much in common with.

8. Student life and involvement
“The master of the garden is the one who waters it, trims the branches, plants the seeds, and pulls the weeds. If you merely stroll through the garden, you are but an acolyte.”
Vera Nazarian, Armenian-Russian writer

Student life is another factor that international students take into account before applying for a university abroad. International students are interested in getting involved and actively participate in student associations related to their majors, athletic teams and other groups (i.e. student government/council, student & university advocates etc.) pursuing not only to explore and enjoy diverse aspects of their student life but also to apply the experiences and influences they carry proving their ability and willingness to make an impact contributing in the development of the teams & groups they are members of.

9. Entertainment
“Anyone who tries to make a distinction between education and entertainment doesn’t know the first thing about either”
Herbert Marshall McLuhan, Canadian philosopher and public intellectual

As I said before, student life is not all about studies. Students feel the need to hang out with peers, to have fun and interact with people off-campus, to attend performances, go shopping, to stroll downtown or arrange short trips to other cities using public means of transport, trains or by renting a car. We should keep in mind that students feel relaxed when entertain themselves, chill and spend time with friends, practice activities they love and in general escape from an ordinary life which encompasses homework or projects.

Thirty Over Thirty

If you have been following us at Unbelievably, then you know that we are a University of Montana classroom full of young bucks and does. There has not been a poll, but I would be willing to bet that the mean age is around 24 years. Allow me to take this opportunity, as the token “old” person, to clue you in to a few things that may be coming your way as you get older.

Thirty after Thirty

gettingold

Photo Credit: www.flickr.com/photos/psd/6641956439/in/photolist

After 30,everything hurts more. From stubbing your toes, to working out at the gym, you will just hurt more. You will get used to it, trust me.

After 30, it will be harder to maintain your weight. The foods you enjoy the most will now cling to your sides, like a child clinging to its mother. You will either have to work harder to lose it, or accept your new, fluffier self.

After 30, sleep will take precedence above going out. There will still be times you like to go out, but it won’t be the production it used to be. In the cost/benefit analysis, sleep will almost always beat anything else. When you do go out, it will be fun to look around and try to figure out if you are the oldest person there.

After 30, college is more difficult. Your future self is thanking you for getting this over with right now. When you are an older student, you are plagued by the constant references make by instructors who are younger than you about your generation. No, my generation was the tail end of Generation X, not the tech-savvy, self-entitled one so often referenced in the media. Some professors will patronize you with “life lessons” that you learned ten years ago. Especially the “life’s not fair” lesson.

After 30, it will become difficult to relate to people who are twenty-five or younger. You won’t watch the same shows, know the same songs, or use the same social media outlet. I love being around people that age, but small talk is almost impossible. Heck, I still watch Seinfeld. I still say “heck.

After 30, you are expected by society to be at a certain place in your life. If you are not, you will be judged harshly. Not married? No kids? Don’t own your own house? Don’t have an “adult” job, free of name tags and hair-nets? You will be judged as a person who is immature and cannot handle responsibility, not a person free of the demands of modern materialism.

careers

Photo Credit: www.flickr.com/photos/lobstar

After 30, birthdays are just silly. Honestly, I can’t remember the last birthday present I ever got. I usually just look for who remembered me on Facebook, and fill up a growler or two.

After 30, you will struggle to keep up with trends in everything. You are no longer the demographic of choice, because you no longer have the highest lifetime value. Ads are not pointed at you, and it is just too much effort to keep up with all the new music, hairstyles, cultural trends, and hot new phrases. At your age, you have enough to remember.

After 30, there are rules. No more tattoos, no more spiked hair, and remember, certain outfits are no longer appropriate at your age. No more tank tops for you fellas, and for you ladies, no more miniskirts.

After 30, you will not have the same number of friends you have now. Everyone is just too busy for you. You will settle for few, carefully-planned visits with people you really care about, people who are worthy of your time and are who are loyal.

After 30, the personality you have is stable. This is what you have to work with, like it or not. It becomes more difficult to change, and you grow to find comfort in habits and routines. This includes beliefs. It is a good idea to challenge them from time to time, to see if you really are on the ethical path.

After 30, you will see the things you loved as a kid, and what you were into as a teen, get rebooted as something “retro” or “classic.” I saw a girl wearing a hoodie with the number “1979” on it. The year I was born. I still don’t understand why anyone wears clothing with dates on it. You will see all your favorite toys, shows, and movies reappear as new movies, toys, and t-shirts. You will cringe the first time you hear your favorite song from freshman year on the “oldies” station.

Big Wheels

Photo Credit: www.flickr.com/photos/gardensk8

After 30, if you are still lucky enough to have your grandparents alive and well, you will be in the minority. This is the beginning of the losses you will have in your life, for most of you. I won’t tell you to get used to it, because you won’t. I lost my last grandparent almost twenty years ago, and I still think of her every day.

After 30, your body will not work the same way. You will be slower, you won’t be able to learn things as quickly, and will sometimes even feel betrayed. It might be helpful to re-interpret your body as something to take care of, put the correct fuel into, and accept its imperfections. Appreciate all the amazing things it can do, and above all, recognize that only 150 years ago, people usually only made it to 49 years old.

After 30, you will notice, ahem, physical changes. Spider veins, cellulite, gray hair, losing hair, hair in unexpected places, and painful joints. You won’t be able to tolerate temperature changes as easily, and you won’t have the stamina you used to have. There will be wrinkles. Sun spots will appear for those who tan. Try to accept it. You can’t really stop it. Take a good look at your parents, because you will probably age the same way that they do.

After 30, you realize that time is limited. You begin to waste it less, and value it more. Human perception of time speeds as age increases. Time will literally just fly by.

After 30, you will realize just how annoying you were at 16. The things you thought were so cool really aren’t. Never watch your favorite show you liked as a teen, because it will be forever ruined. Nothing is more uncomfortable than watching Saved By The Bell for me. Why did I think it was so funny?

savedbythebellbirthdaycake

Photo Credit: www.flickr.com/photos/catbeurnier

After 30, you realize just how cool your parents are. You appreciate who they are and what they have done for you. Their annoying behaviors will become funny stories you can bank for later recollections. You might even get a little teary-eyed when you see older photos of them, before they had the glasses and gray hair, before they joined AARP.

After 30, you will have different perspectives on what the younger stages of your life were like. You will begin to glorify them. You will re-imagine “good ‘ol days”, leaving out the bad parts. When I catch myself doing this, I just remember that they may have been good ‘ol days for me, but only because I was six and unaware of the situation. They weren’t good ‘ol days for my folks.

After 30, you will assume that people in their twenties don’t know what they are talking about. It is important to remember that these are people who deserve respect. They may talk about things they don’t know about, but you did that then, didn’t you? Maybe you should listen once in a while, you could learn something from them, in between all the “actually’s” and “likes.”

After 30, you will look in the mirror and see your mom or dad. You will hear their voices when you speak. You will even have some of the same mannerisms and quirks.

After 30, you will prefer quiet over noise. It is easier to sleep when it’s quiet.

noisymusic

Photo Credit: www.flickr.com/photos/flexgraph

After 30, you will see the value in not always having the last word in arguments. Maybe.

After 30, especially for you ladies, you need to think about what your plans are in the realm of children. Don’t be pressured into having them just to appease some family member. Also, do not get married for that reason. It is time to be honest and realistic with yourself. That “someday” you talked about as a twenty-something has a limited shelf-life.

After 30, it hits you that in ten years, you are a legally protected status. No one can discriminate against you based on age at 40 and older, according to federal law. (In Montana, though, no one can ever discriminate based on age, young or old.)

After 30, the carnival rides aren’t so fun anymore.

Ferriswheel

Photo credit: www.flickr.com/photos/anirudhkoul

After 30, the things that you thought were boring when you were younger are nice and relaxing

After 30, you will worry more about cancer. You will have known someone who has it by this time, and it is no longer something that can’t happen to you.

After 30, you will adore your siblings. Your differences will be something that makes you smile to yourself.

After 30, you still won’t grow out of that feeling, every once in a while, that you are alone in the universe, no one understands you, and you are a social misfit.There will still be times that you will say something that would have been witty ten years ago, but isn’t anymore, followed by an eye roll and an obvious echo. But now that you are 30, you let it go and don’t waste energy on getting upset about it. Waste not, want not.

This won’t be true for everyone. Maybe your generation will figure out how to get rid of grays or wrinkles, or be brave enough to continue getting tattoos. This is just my experience as a person of 35 years, taking this class with you all. Thanks for being a part of my learning experience, and I wish all of you the best for your future!

old-people

Photo: nysocialstatus.com