After my nearly 8-month journey around the world, I have finally returned to my beloved city, San Francisco.
I visited 17 countries and consequently have a long list of people to thank for hosting me and giving me the most worthwhile experience of my life. It was amazing to connect with family, a myriad of NGOs doing a wide variety of projects, and some amazing coachsurfer hosts. It was also wonderful to reconnect with my European friends. It’s no mystery why I keep finding excuses to go back to visit them.
The most common question people want to ask me is after hearing about my trip is, “What was your favorite country?” While it is an honest question that any curious person would ask, it is really impossible to answer. Every country exposed me to different cultures, food, people, ways of life, natural landscapes, etc. Some places challenged me more than others, but I loved the whole experience. Here is a small list of “favorites” for those that are itching to know some of the “bests”:
Best street food: Thailand –> clean, cheap, and delicious
how do you like your bananas?
Most surprising country: Malaysia –> super friendly, great food, great beaches, inexpensive, and not as touristy as the other SE Asian countries
I heart KL and Malaysia
Most adventurous country: Nepal –> from the Annapurana range to the Kathmandu Valley, there is plenty of activities for an adventurous spirit that doesn’t mind sporadic road closures, unpredictable weather, and electricity outages every day
Country with the most impressive eating habits: The Philippines –> spoon and fork in hand, there is no shortage of food options at these family style meals; be prepared for a lot of fried and sweet food, and don’t pass up the chicken adobo
Best country to indulge: Belgium –> chocolate, beer, cheese, waffles, and french fries with creamy dips
Belgium waffle smothered in dark chocolate
Best place for European art and culture: France –> it’s impossible to visit all the art galleries and expos in Paris alone
Too many people trying to catch a glimpse of The Mona Lisa
Country with my favorite food: Japan –> I could eat Japanese food 3 times a day, every day, and not get tired of it
Most International city: London, England during the 2012 Olympic Games –> someone from every recognized country in the world came to the games
London Olympics, 2012
Place with the most amazing World Wonder: Angkor Wat, Cambodia –> tip: get up at 4am to take a tuk tuk over to this ancient site and watch the sun rise and to beat the bus loads of tourists
Angkor Wat wonder
Most tolerant: The Netherlands –> fun fact: this is also the tallest country in the world and the only country were I am just the average height for a woman (I am 5’9″!)
Gay Pride celebration in Amsterdam
Best country to visit from South to North: Vietnam –> take advantage of this country’s long coastline
conical hats are stylin’
Itching to go back and live there once: Berlin, Germany –> keeping it real
Overwhelming and awesome: China –> next time I’ll be training East to West from Shanghai to Tibet
GYG visits The Great Wall of China
Country I never want to leave: Switzerland –> cows, cheese, clocks- it’s all too cute!
Best dining out: Singapore –> if you can splurge, then this is the place to do it; you must try the black-pepper crab, a famous Singapore dish
Most diverse Asian country: Indonesia (I visited Bali and Java)–> Hindu, Buddhism, Islam and more; this extremely populated country is home to all sorts of wonderful people with different beliefs
Lots of fun volunteering at Bumi Sehat in Ubud
Country I was most worried about, but ended up loving: India –> next time I am going to do a trip in the south; I can taste the dosas already!
lots of color and smiles
Thanks to all of those who followed my blog as I traveled around the world. I hope you continue to follow me on my future adventures at home and abroad.