In 2015, BBC posted an article listing 50 Reasons to #LoveTheWorld. Over the past 27 years, I’ve been fortunate enough to visit over 200 cities in 38 countries on 6 continents. Inspired by BBC’s article, I created my own list of 38 reasons of why I #LoveTheWorld.
- Because from my father’s remote village of unparalleled beauty in Kerala to my grandmother’s home full of wonderful memories in Karnataka, my family’s unconditional love gives me the strength and resilience to overcome any challenges that have been thrown my way, the clarity and focus to chase my dreams and carve my own path, and the humility and compassion to guide me in life (India).
2. Because how often do you get to see man made islands and a proper ski slope in a mall in the middle of a desert (United Arab Emirates).
3. Because one of my earliest memories is of our fun family trip to Canaima with close family friends where we went white water rafting and hiked to see the longest waterfall in the world – Angel Falls (Venezuela).
4. Because no matter how much and how far I travel, I always come back to this incredible land of freedom, opportunity, and diversity because at the end of the day, this will always be my home (United States of America).
5. Because even though I was in so much pain for a couple of weeks, I finally tried out a new hairstyle … cornrows (Mexico).
6. Because of all the memories I have with the friends whom I will never forget from the three years at a boarding school that kind of resembled Hogwarts in its own special way (England).
7. Because nothing beats a fun day of walking around the quaint European town of Vienna, also Mozart’s home, and taking in all the architecture, sites, and surroundings (Austria).
8. Because I will never forget watching an orchestra perform classical music in a concert hall in Budapest and letting the music carry me away (Hungary).
9. Because of the 60 orphaned children (aged 3-5 years) from Ife Oluwa Nursery School who ignited my passion for early childhood education and development when I was still just a teenager (Nigeria).
10. Because not only is Belgian chocolate to die for, but also because one of the coolest and most unforgettable learning experiences of my life was my 10th grade AP European History weekend field trip to visit the World War I battlefields (Flanders Fields) and graveyards in Ypres (Belgium).
11. Because of that moment when I was taking in the beautiful landscape all around me and I realized that reality far surpasses any picture I ever saw of the magnificent Swiss Alps (Switzerland).
12. Because I learned so much more about our world’s history here than in any other place I have ever been … witnessing the bleakness and chilling effect of a concentration camp in real life is nothing compared to reading about it in a textbook (Germany).
13. Because of the gorgeous canals, delicious stroopwafels, art museums, and Anne Frank’s House, and also because I had one of my most memorable traditional Thanksgiving dinners with two of my closest friends at one of their parents’ house in the Hague (The Netherlands).
14. Because not only did I stay in typical Transylvanian hotel that was straight out of a scary Dracula movie, but I also learned about true compassion from a young, orphaned girl named Mona Lisa, who insisted on giving me one of her few possessions, a tiny hairbrush (that I still have) to always remember her by (Romania).
15. Because a family of lions walked right next to our safari bus and we camped under a blanket of the most beautiful and breathtaking stars (South Africa).
16. Because there is no better way to experience the Eiffel Tower than to climb up the stairs to the top and take in the phenomenal view of Paris (France).
17. Because high school wouldn’t have been the same without our unforgettable senior trip to Greece (Greece).
18. Because I saw the homes of both the Lochness monster and JK Rowling (Scotland).
19. Because of the cobblestone streets, cozy restaurants, and wonderful blend of historic and modern architecture in Copenhagen (Denmark).
20. Because all I had to do was cross a bridge from Copenhagen to spend an amazing day with my parents exploring the small, friendly city of Malmo (Sweden).
21. Because taking a cruise down the Nile River with my mom, riding a hot air balloon while watching the sunrise, and exploring the pyramids, tombs, and other ancient ruins in Cairo, Luxor, and Aswan was so surreal and incredible, especially considering Egypt’s rich and interesting history (Egypt).
22. Because I snorkeled with lots of fish – including little Nemos – in the Great Barrier Reef, petted a kangaroo, cuddled a koala bear, saw the sacred Ayers Rock, and watched a show at the Sydney Opera House (Australia).
23. Because in this one-month trip full of adventure with all the hiking, sailing, waterfalls, hot springs, dancing, ziplining, volcanoes, and much more, I rediscovered myself and my passion for education in the small village of Playa Potrero with the help of a bunch of cute children and wonderful volunteers at one of the most amazing local NGOs in the world (Costa Rica).
24. Because I got “screeched in” and became an honorary Newfie in St. John’s (Canada).
25. Because nothing beats an all-inclusive weekend getaway with one of your closest friends where we got to swim with dolphins and go snuba (not scuba) diving (Dominican Republic).
26. Because I cannot express in words how incredibly beautiful and diverse Peru truly is – from the mountains to the amazon to the coast, how lucky I was to make some lifelong friendships with people whom will always be very close to my heart, how I saw one of the seven wonders of the world – Machu Picchu – three times in three different ways (one of which included a four day hike on the Inca Trail – one of my favorite experiences of all time), and how I will always look back and cherish the wonderful memories I have of my time here because it changed my life forever as it helped me grow as a person and encouraged me to chase my dreams (Peru).
27. Because I went swimming in the world’s most beautiful beaches with the clearest, bluest waters and the warmest, softest sand in Cartagena and Tayrona National Park (Colombia).
28. Because I saw one of the world’s largest and most difficult engineering projects in action – the Panama Canal, which connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean (Panama).
29. Because it was easy to get lost in souvenir shopping, especially all the straw bags and hats, that were handmade by very talented Bahamians (Bahamas).
30. Because I felt a rush of adrenaline and excitement when I finally jumped off a 40 foot cliff with a professional diver known as “Spiderman” at the famous Rick’s Cafe after standing at the ledge and freaking out for about 45 minutes (Jamaica).
31. Because of the once in a lifetime trip I took with my best friends where we went wine tasting with our own private driver in Mendoza, experienced a wonderful tango show in Buenos Aires, and took a boat under a waterfall (literally) that had the most beautiful rainbows at Iguazu Falls (Argentina).
32. Because we spent hours hours mastering optical illusions for the thousands of pictures that we took in the vast salt flats known as Salar de Uyuni and because of the serenity in the quaint, little village on Isla del Sol in the middle of Lake Titicaca (Bolivia).
33. Because the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen in my life were in the middle of the desert in San Pedro de Atacama, because I never felt alone due to all the kind families and friends I met along the way even though I was traveling solo for the very first time, and because of the calming, yet chilling feeling of being all alone at the end of the world in Patagonia surrounded by magnificent mountains, glaciers, and lakes (Chile).
34. Because I saw and scuba dived with some of the world’s most magnificent creatures (including sharks!) in the Galapagos Islands, went canyoning down several waterfalls, and hiked to the top of three volcanoes, including one that had a deep blue lake in its crater (Ecuador).
35. Because of the history, art, architecture, archaeological sites, winding roads, cobbled streets, colorful buildings, delicious wine, lakes, mountains, grottos, and duomos (Italy).
36. Because I will never forget the inexplicable feeling of being in the middle of the mountains in such a remote part of the world witnessing incomparable and untouched beauty at the roof of the world, the extraordinary hospitality and generosity of the Pamiri people, the richness of the Pamiri culture, the non-stop dancing and fun at Pamiri weddings, and of course my Pamiri host family whom I love with all my heart (Tajikistan).
37. Because the smiles and laughter of the young urban slum children I get to work with just touches my heart in a way no one else can (Bangladesh).
38. Because in just two hours, I was taken away by the magnificence and history of the Sultan Ahmed (or Blue Mosque), Hagia Sophia, and Cistern Basilica (Turkey).