For the Second Year, Here’s the Best Travel Christmas Card You’ll See This Season

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Editors Note: There is an art to delivering Seasons Greetings, and our friend Michael Bell has mastered it. Last year we shared with you his “Travel Christmas Card” from 2015. Here is his 2015 edition showcasing his travels this year – complete with cock fighting, asian food porn, and yak herding. Cheers to 2016 Mikey!

While desert-like, the above picture was actually from Bolivia when my brother Daniel and I rode motorcycles across the Salar de Uyuni – one of the largest salt flats in the world.
 
2015 marks my second year of forced exodus from the family Christmas card, so I have to write my own. It’s also my first full year on the road. It’s been an invaluable experience on so many levels and often find that I learn as much about myself as the places I visit.
 
The more I travel the more I appreciate keeping up with people who matter to me (hint, you). Even if we don’t get a chance to connect regularly, I would love to hear the latest from you and yours!
 
Rather than bore you with yet another conventional Christmas greeting, here’s my year update in videos:

Bali: I started 2015 in Bali on a personal sabbatical of sorts and this magical little island captured my imagination. Despite the heavily commercialized south, the more rural northern and western parts of Bali retain a unique and vibrant culture that feels untouched by outsiders. This also includes the non-PETA approved Balinese pastime of cockfighting… http://michaeldavidbell.com/explore/cockfighting-in-bali/

Southeast Asia: Anthony Bourdain once claimed Penang to be the culinary capital of Asia and I would have to agree. The frantic pace of countless street food vendors and the mix of Indian, Chinese, and Malay influences makes Penang one of my favorite culinary destinations. http://michaeldavidbell.com/explore/penang-where-food-is-art-2/

China: It’s hard to imagine many other places in the world that are more dynamic, culturally unique, and globally relevant during our lifetimes than China. Despite having visited China twice before, my three months exploring the inner parts of China challenged so many of my expectations and stereotypes about this country. I can’t recommend it enough. http://michaeldavidbell.com/explore/china-from-west-to-east/

Mongolia: I set out from Beijing to Mongolia aboard the Trans-Mongolian Express. During my time in tiny village of Hatgal, bordering Russia to the north, I spent the next several days herding yaks, goats, and horses with a nomadic family. Among my yak-related adventures, I was able to witness the birth of a baby yak (which, I was told, was named after me). http://michaeldavidbell.com/explore/aboard-the-trans-mongolian-express/
 
Bolivia: I spent the summer in Bolivia with my brother working on our Spanish and enjoying Andean culture: cholitas, parades and/or protests every day, heaping portions of steak for every meal… and even a visit by the pope. The biggest highlight (and there were many living at 13,500 feet) was motor biking across the Salar de Uyuni. Keep an eye out for a video of Bolivia coming soon.
 
Wherever you are, I hope that you have a great holiday season and that you never stop exploring!
 
All best,
 
Michael
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