‘Gulp’ Birthdays

I have a ‘gulp birthday’ coming up.

What’s that?

Well, it’s my term for one of those scarily significant birthdays when you’re entering a whole new decade. I add the ‘gulp’ because even though you know it’s only a number and it doesn’t really mean a lot, try telling your head that.

You can never predict until you get there how you’re actually going to be feeling about it. And that feeling only seems to be exacerbated with the arrival of every advancing decade.

Some people embrace it with ease. Some get a bit morose and regretful. And for others (at 40+, at least) it’s the start of a mid-life crisis.

Milestone birthdays inspire a desire to mark the occasion with memories. For me it’s about celebrating while simultaneously forgetting the number. For a travel-lover that has to include going away somewhere, anywhere… new, different, intrepid, relaxing or familiarly comforting.

My partner is a bit of a tech freak and decided for his 40th that he wanted to see Cupertino (Apple HQ), of all places. That developed into a full California road trip with a brief “dream-fulfilling” stop at One Infinite Loop!

Paul outside Apple Campus calling everyone he knows to tell them where he is ?
My version of a “birthday cake” for Paul, at The Cheesecake Factory in Union Square, San Francisco

His brother turns 40 in July and has hired a château in the South of France and invited all his friends and family.

The French château

I imagine that many old school friends will be doing their own things to mark their days in some way, and look forward to those social media updates over the coming year.

I’m probably aiming for somewhere in the middle of “embracing it” and “mid-life-crisis”: I’ve booked a trip to Rio.

Why Rio?

Very simple reasons:

  • it’s somewhere I haven’t been before
  • it’s long-haul, so feels like more of an ‘adventure’
  • there’s lots to see and do
  • it has a lively, vibrant reputation with beach and city vibe
  • tropical temperatures/weather, so it’ll feel instantly ‘different’
  • it seems like an affordable place to visit
  • some amazing sights and nature/rainforest
Christ the Redeemer statue – one of the new seven Wonders of the World

Strangely, Rio appealed primarily because it’s never appealed to me that much before. And the fact that it wasn’t on my bucket-list makes it feel somehow more ‘random’ and spontaneous.

Copacabana Beach

Having so much choice with destinations and dates always makes me feel a bit giddily excited when I’m booking to go places. As a travel-lover, with so much of the world to see, I doubt that’ll ever lose it’s appeal.

I’d been considering lots of potential options for a while, including a return to Kuala Lumpur, primarily to relive my first, incredible night there in 2018, and to visit the Cameron Highlands. Other places I considered included Cape Town; Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon; the bright lights of New York and Boston. And many others.

I have very fond memories of this restaurant in KL. An awesome introduction to the city

But – a little like whittling down Tory leadership candidates – for various reasons many of the options dropped away; wrong timing, too high a price to pay, or just plain idiotic.

So, Rio it is…

…and then I read more about the city’s crime and murder rates.

Oh well, at least it might save me from reaching that age milestone after all! Gulp!! ? ?

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