Bukima Tented Camp, DRC

My 30th Year in Photos

Last year, I was acutely aware of my 30th birthday sneaking up. It was a landmark year, and while I was far from nervous about welcoming a new decade, I felt very cognizant that it represented the beginning of a new period that would bring adventures and milestones that were different from the ones I experienced in my twenties. I shared my top 20 lessons learned in my twenties, and tried to really think about all of the moments that the prior decade brought me: graduating college and graduate school, spending half of my twenties living abroad in the UK and Anguilla, getting engaged and married, starting a new career, starting this blog, and so much more. But somehow – just like that – my 30th year has come and gone. With it, have come some incredible adventures and if this year is any indication of how this decade will go, I’m off to a good start.

Grandma in Anguilla
30th birthday surprise – Scott flew my grandmother to Anguilla for my 30th.
30th Birthday in Anguilla
Celebrating my 30th birthday week in AXA.
Gustavia, Shopping in St. Barths · The Wanderlust Effect Blog
Celebrating our anniversary in St. Barths in July.
A Day in St. Barths
Celebrating a friend’s birthday in St. Barths in August!
Pool at Sea Island Resort
Enjoying a luxe girls getaway to Sea Island, Georgia.
Museum of Islamic Art, Layover in Doha
Off to Africa, with a long layover in Doha, Qatar to explore.
Kigali Genocide Memorial, Kigali
In Rwanda at the Genocide Memorial in Kigali.
Chimp Trekking in Rwanda - The Wanderlust Effect
Chimp trekking in Rwanda’s Nyungwe Forest.
Crossing Lake Kivu - The Wanderlust Effect
Crossing Lake Kivu, which ended up being one of the most frightening days of my life. ?
Traveling to the DRC
Entering the Democratic Republic of Congo, a childhood dream.
Bukima Tented Camp, DRC
Waking up at Bukima Tented Camp in the DRC before gorilla trekking.
Gorilla trekking in the DRC - my #1 wildlife moment to date.
Gorilla trekking in the DRC – my #1 wildlife moment to date.
Mt. Nyiragongo Hike, DRC - The Wanderlust Effect
Successfully climbing Mt. Nyiragongo in the DRC – we rocked it!
Safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda
On safari in Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda.
Kazinga Channel Cruise, Uganda
Cruising on the Kazinga Channel for a boat safari in Uganda.
Chimp Trekking in Uganda
Chimp tracking in Uganda’s Kalinzu Forest… a bit more successful than in Rwanda!
Bwama Island, Lake Bunyonyi
Touring the church + school at Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda.
The Blue Train, South Africa - The Wanderlust Effect
Taking the Blue Train from Jo’burg to Cape Town on one of our most luxe journeys to date.
DREAM DESTINATION: Hermanus, Western Cape, South Africa
Taking in the gorgeous seaside views of Hermanus, South Africa
DREAM DESTINATION: Birkenhead House in Hermanus, South Africa
…and discovering our ‘happy place’, the Birkenhead House.
Cape of Good Hope, South Africa
Driving to the Cape of Good Hope for another bucket list moment.
A Perfect Day in Cape Town - The Wanderlust Effect
Spending a few days in gorgeous Cape Town.
Seeing Cape Town from the top of Table Mountain.
Seeing Cape Town from the top of Table Mountain.
Wine Tasting in Stellenbosch
Wine tasting, blending + segway touring in Stellenbosch.
Mont Rochelle, Franschhoek, South Africa
Wine tasting in gorgeous Franschhoek, South Africa.
Christmas in Quebec City
Visiting Quebec City for the ultimate Christmas getaway in December.
Dog Sledding in Quebec
Dog sledding in Quebec for the ultimate Narnia experience.
Aventures Nord-Bec Quebec
Lots of love with this pup + my bestie in Quebec. ❤️
Exploring ruins in Nevis with Funky Monkey Tours.
Exploring ruins in Nevis with Funky Monkey Tours.
5 Must Have Experiences in Nevis: Sip a Killer Bee at Sunshine's
Sippin’ a Killer Bee in Nevis. ?
Soggy Dollar Bar, Jost Van Dyke, BVI
Sippin’ painkillers with mom in Jost Van Dyke, BVI.
Saba Rock Resort, BVI
Sippin’ at Saba Rock with dad during our family yachting adventure in the BVI.
Baths at Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands
Exploring the Baths at Virgin Gorda.
The Indians, British Virgin Islands
Waking up at the Indians in the BVI. ?
Walking the beach at Peter Island with the fam.
Walking the beach at Peter Island with the fam.
SUP Taxi
Being a taxi driver for my mom + her flamingo in the BVI.
Norman Island, British Virgin Islands
BVI floating at Norman Island.
Salt Island, British Virgin Islands
Scooting around Salt Island on our dinghy.
Cooper Island, British Virgin Islands
Watching the sunset at Cooper Island.
Oyster Cafe, A Day in Grand Case
Weekend escapes to St. Martin for evenings in Grand Case.
Washington, DC
Reunited with LSE friends in DC, celebrating a wedding!
Touring Chicago for Scott's birthday in May.
Touring Chicago for Scott’s birthday in May.

Sometimes it takes moments like this, to really look back at the year and what it’s brought, to be truly grateful for all of the adventures that we’ve managed to cram into a brief 365 days. If you would have told me 10 years ago, that I’d be able to visit South Africa and the BVI in a single year, I would have never believed it. I look back at all of the places that we’ve been this year alone, and know that the child in me wouldn’t have believed I could have seen this many amazing places in an entire lifetime, much less in a single year. I am so, so grateful for this life that we’ve created – it’s kind of amazing to be living the life of your dreams.

30, you’ve been a gem. Game on, 31!

Shannon Kircher, The Wanderlust Effect

More about Shannon Kircher

Shannon Kircher is the founder and editor of The Wanderlust Effect. Founded in 2009, she has continued to document her international escapes as an expat in Europe and the Caribbean. Additionally, Shannon is the founder of Compass & Vine, a luxury boutique travel design firm, and is the Director of Marketing for the Frangipani Beach Resort. Shannon holds an MSc in Social Policy and Development from the London School of Economics and is a current candidate for WSET Level 3 in Wines & Spirits.