6 continents, 56 flights, 23 countries: 2015
Reflecting on the travel year feels surreal. It’s refreshing to take a moment to step back from the action – research, adventures, experiences – and to indulge in my personalised story of 2015.
This year, I traveled to and explored 6 continents and 23 countries. Saying it out loud makes it more real – though it’s still mostly like reflecting on somebody else’s life. As someone who barely remembers the film she watched on yesterday’s plane journey or that pressing to-do list item that played on my mind half of last night, it’s striking that I never forget travel experiences. Ever.
How I felt in that moment, the conversation I was having, music playing in the background, emotions and thoughts, tastes and sounds… it’s all vivid. It helps that, as a Journalist, I have to transport myself back to the destination post-trip whilst writing about it, further reinforced poring through thousands of my photographs, selecting the best to publish.
All images ©Anisha Shah
From the Arctic to Nicaragua to Madagascar to my first foot on the Oceanic continent, this has been a dreamy year for all that I love: emerging destinations.
Crossing the crashing stormy ocean on a tiny wooden boat to a dot-on-the-map island in Nicaragua, darting through dense rainforests at the haunting call of lemurs in Madagascar, swimming amidst millions of stingless Jellyfish in Palau, cruising through a sea of blinding white ice caps and polar bears in the Arctic, eating my way through South Korea and Taiwan, photographing colourful cities of Istanbul, Bilbao and Granada, delving into food and arts in Mexico City, eating and hiking through Italy’s coastal Cinque Terre and staying in a palace in Porto. Most recently, the highlight has been going on safari and supporting wildlife charities and conservation in Uganda and Kenya. And of course, taking a week of actual holiday and downtime on a private island in the Caribbean’s Turks and Caicos.
Not forgetting the flights…
all the flights… not just the big international types but all those teeny tiny charters, bush planes and light aircraft. And I still can’t get enough of my absolute awe and love for flying. In the sky, between layers of clouds or soaring above them, I feel happiest. It’s a complete sense of release, untouched by time or troubles. I even love airports – the people-watching, culture-observing and FOOD!
The best part of travels is the people I’ve met.
Friends. All over the world. Meeting new people, learning so much just from striking random conversations and making friends the world over is one of the best aspects of travel. Because that’s what it’s about: knowledge, understanding and love.
Personally and professionally,
this year has been enriching and rewarding. I finally sent pitches to some publications with whom I’ve long dreamed of working. I was published on BBC Travel, CNN Travel and CNN’s global Homepage to name my dream publications. Working with them has also been a pleasure, which I’m so happy to report. It means the hard work is worth it. And what’s most rewarding is the fact that these are emerging destinations in which I specialise. They are often rich, not financially, but culturally, historically and visually, yet they don’t enjoy the exposure that well-loved travel destinations do. For many reasons, mostly political, people in these places are torn between their love of their land and governmental / political discord. But I guarantee that travelling to any emerging destinations is the most unforgettable journey of a lifetime. It’s everything travel should be – a voyage of experiences.
Here’s a summary of my 2015 in travels:
JANUARY: Austin USA, County Kildare Ireland
FEBRUARY: Athenian Riviera Greece, Mexico
MARCH: Nicaragua, Poland
APRIL: Texas USA, Istanbul
MAY: Cinque Terre Italy, Madagascar, Kenya
JUNE: Bilbao & Basque Country Spain, Porto Portugal
JULY: Malta, Comino, Gozo, Finland, Estonia
AUGUST: The Arctic Svalbard, Poland
SEPTEMBER: Turks & Caicos Caribbean, South Korea
OCTOBER: Taiwan, Palau
NOVEMBER: Kenya, Uganda
DECEMBER: Texas USA, Gujarat India
And what will 2016 bring? I’ll be ringing in the New Year with celebrations in the Gujarat, India. Later in the year, perhaps I’ll step foot on my final 7th continent. And what else? Follow my world travels on Twitter @anishahbbc
Merry Christmas to you and a wonderful New Year!