8 things I learned while exploring 50 cities in 17 countries - Neeta Bhushan

8 things I learned while exploring 50 cities in 17 countries

Traveling the world as a solo Asian-Female I adopted the tagline “the world is my playground”. This past year was devoted to understanding humanity through the lens of the stories and people I encountered. It wasn’t the type of touring that I did when in my twenties. Instead it was a sabbatical that tapped into my fascination for human dynamics. My journey started in South East Asia in the most remote parts of Borneo. Followed by a 3 month trek across Europe and middle east listening to stories of an elderly couple in Kotor, Montenegro. At the end of my journey I found myself listening to the sweet sounds of kids playing in the maze of streets in the bustling Fez, Morocco.

Whether I was in a Venetian coffee shop admiring the opulence of the rich culture and history beckoning to be explored. Or in Penang tantalizing the aromas of the mesmerizing food culture human connection beats any sight, monuments, or food.

Here are my top 8 most inspirational moments of my trip. I hope it inspires you to build your emotional resilience by understanding the humans you encounter daily =).

8. Have your own self-marriage ceremony at the southern-most tip of Indonesia: Uluwatu, Bali. This was a commitment to myself that I would honor and fill my cup up first every single day.

7. Get lost in the chocolate hills of Bohol, Philippines where the cars around you are jamming to N’Sync. On the local bus swarms of people pack in with live chicken peaking out their market bags that may stare at you before it gets cooked for dinner.

6. Utrecht, Netherlands, where the culture of the dutch is coffee centric, minimalistic, bicycles may run you over, and everything is half your size (and I’m a small person!).

5. Get your fingernails cleaned in 70 ft deep sea waters of Sipadan, Borneo by the cleaner shrimp, or in Siem Reap, after a long day at Ankur Wat when dipping your feet in eager callous-eating fish spas.

4. Take your bike around the town of Budapest, and explore the flavors of the eclectic and passionate artists turning the ruins into pubs for old world cultural and flavorful combustion of new age art.

3. Find yourself in the old world towns along the Dalmation coast of Croatia and the beautiful views to boot.

2. Hike up the highest peaks beyond Latterbrannen, to appreciate the stunning beauty of Switzerland, and the picture-perfect postcard scenes of Lucerne.

1. Take a road trip down the coast of Andalucia, experiencing the passion of the flamenco dancers, the splendor of Granada & Sevilla reminding that play is the lifeforce to our existence.

In connecting the dots throughout my epic travels it’s the stories that were shared with me during the hikes, train rides, boats, car-shares, planes, lines i’ve waited, wrong turns I took, ferry boats, hostel checkins, cafe shops, grocery marts, open-air markets, noisy bazaars, that the face of humanity captured within the smiles shared, the hand-gestures, and the random coincidences that compassion, and empathy and the will to understand one another (when intentional) breaks down any barrier that seems to keep us separated. Conversations when genuinely explored without our devices is still the greatest form of connection, and love that we can give one another no matter where. Our quality time to choose to be present, and discover someone else is the biggest gift that we can give. Something to keep in mind for your future travels this year.

Where do you want to go? Share below please =)