Bonderman Fellowship

Where would you go if you had eight months to travel solo? Which two continents and six countries would you visit? How would you get there? Where would you stay? What experiences would you seek out? How would you be transformed?

In early 2015 I wrote an essay for a chance to win the Bonderman Fellowship, granting the fellow $20,000 to travel solo for eight months continuously. Within a year I left on transformative trip, changing my worldview through experience, becoming someone I never thought I could be. From 2016 - 2017 I experienced the countries of India, Nepal, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong, China, Tibet, Japan, Mongolia, Russia, Czech Republic, France, Belgium, and Ireland.

Journey

Figure 1. Bonderman Journey Route.

Highlights

  • bought and rode an old Honda motorcycle from Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi, Vietnam.
  • Learned how to play Sitar for a month in the holy city of Varanasi, India.
  • Stayed on a 5km private beach in Myanmar for weeks.
  • Family bonding with my Mom and sister in Thailand.
  • Spent 8 days trekking in the Himalayas to Gosaikunda, also known to be the birth place of lord Shiva.
  • Helped a girl open a cafe for English language students in Wenjiang, China.
  • Helped build a house in remote Tibet.
  • Learned how to ride horses in Mongolia.
  • Rode the Trans-siberian Railway from Beijing to Moscow.
  • Learned basic Russian & Mandarin.
This was an absolutely life defining, transformative experience. Being a user experience practitioner, empathy is the basis to understanding an audiences needs. Over the entirety of 2016 I trained in building my empathy towards people from all over the world.

Pictures

Bagan, Myanmar
St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow
Bruges, Belgium
Brussels, Belgium
Chang Mai, Thailand
Chengdu, China
Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
My 'Old Honda Motorcycle', Dalat, Vietnam
Dublin, Ireland
Gobi Desert, Mongolia
Gosaikunda Trek, Nepal
Great Wall of China, Beijing
Hampi, India
Hong Kong
Temple of All Religions, Kazan, Russia
Mountain Trek, Kodaikanal, India
Kutná Hora, Czech Republic
Docks of Kuzir, Siberia, Russia
Worlds Largest Buddha, Leshan, China
Fishing Boats, Mũi Né, Vietnam
Tea Fields on Mountainside, Munnar, India
Worlds Largest Laying Buddha, Mwalmyine, Myanmar
Gosaikunda Trek, Nepal
Prague, Czech Republic
Lake Baikal, Siberia, Russia
'Keeping it together on a horse', Tibet
Tiruchirappalli, India
Tokyo, Japan
Xi'an, China
Yangon, Myanmar
Date January, 2016
Type Personal
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