Turning 30 is no simple life event. The milestone often prompts all sorts of introspection: evaluating career goals, feeling pressure about finding love or comparing the person you are now to the one you thought you would be at 30.
Back in 2014, photographer Stephane Domingues and writer Anne Hangouet set out on a 16-month trip to photograph and interview people around age 30 from around the world. Though their lifestyles differed, each of the pair’s thirty-something subjects had something in common, Domingues said.
“I would say that the main similarity [between 30-year-olds] is the awareness of who you really are, the accomplishment of yourself,” he told HuffPost. “I think the main reason is that you already have completed your studies, worked for several years, developed some passions and maybe even built a family. All these experiences enable you to understand who you are and what you want in life better.”
Domingues and Hangouet added another subject to their series this summer, and they plan to interview more soon, Domingues told HuffPost. They catalog all the portraits on their website, Being 30, and include each subject’s name, occupation and personal quotes.
Here’s what 30 looks ― and feels ― like in 10 countries.
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Bahir Dar, Ethiopia
Occupation: Watchman and fisherman
What’s your favourite memory? “I was driving a group of German tourists throughout the South Omo Valley... They brought clothes for the kids in the tribes and gave them $80... This gesture of kindness really moved me.”
What’s your greatest achievement? “I am proud that my mother in law thinks I am a good daughter in law... And we share a very nice bond, which is not always the case. We talk and share our feelings a lot.”
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Occupation: Creative retoucher
Ten years ago, where did you think you’d be at 30? “In terms of personal life, like every teenager, I pictured myself as a married man with children [at 30]... Today, my life is quite different from what I pictured 10 years ago... I do have a girlfriend, but I am not married, and I do not have children.”
Cape Town, South Africa
What’s been the most memorable event of your personal life? “When I got married in 2010, as we worked a lot on knowing each other and asking the right questions.”
Auckland, New Zealand
Occupation: Entrepreneur and physiotherapist
Where did you think you’d be living at 30? “I arrived in [New Zealand] when I was six, and I was told that I would spend my life here... I knew that coming from Laos, I was pretty lucky to be here and that it would be hard to leave [for] anywhere in the world because I would get a better lifestyle here.”
What’s been the most memorable event of your personal life? “My son’s birth was such a happy moment... And it really changed my life. After his birth, I was much more sensitive, very stressed and had much more responsibilities.”
Occupation: Project manager at a web developer company
Now that you’re 30, do you feel “old” or “still young”? “In my mind, I haven’t aged since my twenties. My friends and I grew up at the same time, we still experience the same kind of things. So we don’t see ourselves ageing.”
Puerto Tranquilo, Chile
Occupation: Agronomy student
How did you decide on this job? “As a child I wanted to be a veterinarian because I love animals. I don’t know why I did not study for it... because even today I would love to work with animals... Instead, I studied agronomy.”
How do people change by the time they turn 30?: “I would say that you learn how to enjoy simple pleasures in life and stop having too high expectations. As a consequence, my priorities have changed: Work and money is less important than before, whereas quality of life and family is [becoming] more important. I feel like [I’m just beginning] to understand what happiness is.”
Seoul, South Korea
Name: Jun Ho
Occupation: Product merchandiser
What’s been the most memorable event of your personal life? “The time I spent in the UK in 2013 really was a turning point in my life. I decided to take a career break, which is not really common in South Korea, and go to spend a year in the UK to learn English and volunteer in an organisation that helps disabled people. It was an important experience because I felt free... I think it is the dream of [everyone’s], to feel free without stress and concern.”
See more of Domingues and Hangouet’s work on Being 30.
h/t Business Insider