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30 highlights from 30 years

Estelle sat on a rock with her arms outstretched, with a winding road and mountains and a loch behind her

It finally happened… I turned 30 at the weekend.

I thought I’d feel uncomfortable about my twenties ending but, honestly, I’m okay with it. Excited even!

I’m entering my thirties knowing a heck of a lot more about myself and the impact I want to have in this world.

To honour the milestone, I thought it’d be fun to reflect on some of my highlights from the past three decades – from work, life and everything in between.

So, here are 30 standout accomplishments from my first 30 years on this planet…

Estelle standing in the sea with her arms in the air and a big smile on her face. She's wearing a dress with a netted skirt that looks like it's part of the surf around her.
Falmouth, 2012 (© Joanna Woods-Yeates)
A black greyhound looking happy on the beach with sand on his nose
Buster, adopted 2017 ♥

1. Being able to write every day and get paid for it.

2. Dancing my way through school. Then stopping for a bit, then restarting in my twenties.

3. Living in Falmouth for three years for university and falling in love with the salty hair and sandy toes lifestyle.

4. Meeting my lovely partner Mark.

5. Graduating from the University of Exeter (Falmouth campus) with a first in English Literature.

6. Maintaining a magical friendship with my best pal Lauren since primary school.

7. Living in Brighton for a summer and discovering the most amazing veggie food.

8. Learning to cook.

9. Developing a BIG love for conservation and the ocean.

10. Doing work experience at BBC Wildlife and Geographical Magazine and getting my first commissions to write stories I really cared about.

Estelle in a black graduation gown with a blue collar, standing next to her dad and in front of a blue hydrangea bush
Graduating from the University of Exeter, 2014
Estelle sat on a clifftop with a bright-blue sea behind her.
Cornwall, 2017

11. Living in London for two years.

12. Adopting my rescue greyhound, Buster, and watching him flourish into the sweet, dorky dog he is today.

13. Creating a copywriting business that aligns with my ethics, environmental values and quiet personality.

14. Discovering yoga.

15. Falling in love with reading again.

16. Working hard and building a career I adore.

17. Finding the confidence to speak on podcasts (I’m still pinching myself that I was on the Being Freelance podcast!).

18. Getting into beach cleaning and trying to ditch plastics.

19. Meeting a lot of great people through online business communities and in person.

20. Exploring different corners of the world, from France, Belgium, Italy, Greece, Croatia, Turkey, Cyprus and Spain to Hong Kong, New York, Australia and Morocco.

Estelle doing a star jump in the snow in front of a snow-capped mountain.
Isle of Jura, 2020
A smiling selfie of Estelle and Lauren in calm water on a sunny day.
Isle of Jura, 2022

21. Living on a remote Scottish island for three years.

22. Seeing the Milky Way for the first time.

23. Discovering cold water swimming and being part of Jura Wild Swimmers. (Read more about this: How wild swimming transformed my business.)

24. Seeing dolphins.

25. Snorkelling in the Argyll Hope Spot with my friend and swim coach Dan the Merman.

26. Training as a volunteer Marine Mammal Medic with the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR).

27. Spending 10 days exploring the North Coast 500 with Mark.

28. Swimming in the fairy pools on the Isle of Skye.

29. Deciding to move to Australia in February 2023.

30. Staying true to my quiet, adventurous nature (almost) every step of the way.

Mark and Estelle hugging in front of the Old Man of Storr rock formation on the Isle of Skye.
The Old Man of Storr, Isle of Skye, 2022
An almost birds-eye shot of Estelle snorkelling in a mountain pool, with the sun setting in the background.
Fairy pools, Isle of Skye, 2022

It feels important to say at this point: obviously, this is just a highlight reel. My twenties were full of highs and lows like everybody else’s, including loss, finding a path through social anxiety, and having to make sacrifices to allow for certain lifestyle choices.

However, if the next 30 years are filled with as much love and adventure as my twenties, I’ll be pretty happy with that.

I hope you’ll stick around to find out. 🙂

Thanks for reading!