One of the best things about our year of travel was all the festivities we participated in: celebrating holidays in other countries, attending major cultural event, going to shows, or simply lucking out and showing up somewhere when an event was happening. And so, for this post, we will cover our favorites shows, festivals, and events we saw/visited on our year of travel.
First up, our absolute favorite:
Holi in Pushkar, India
Holi is Hindu’s festival of color; it is the greatest festival in India and one of the greatest in the entire world. We celebrated Holi in Pushkar, a small town known for its Holi celebration. Things were so crazy here, with everyone dancing and partying and throwing around paint. We got covered in color immediately, and kept getting more (and giving some in return) the entire time we were there. It was awesome!
Also, be sure to check out Inna in the third video. She’s in there twice!
Now, the rest of our favorite year-of-travel events (in no particular order):
Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, USA
Imagine as many motorcycles as you can. Now imagine more. Now more. At this point, you’re not even close to Sturgis, a 7000-person town that hosts an annual motorcycle rally that brings in ~600,000 motorcycles and 1,000,000+ people. Motorcycles are everywhere here; the whole thing is absurd. Even when you go to nearby Deadwood or Devils Tower, it’s nothing but motorcycles motorcycles motorcycles.
Chicago is famous for comedy and is actually the birthplace of modern improv, one of our favorite forms of entertainment. Because of this, we knew we had to go to a show, and it did not disappoint. I still remember some of the moments that occurred; I’ll literally walk around thinking about them and smile, they were so funny!
Local jam night, Northern Ireland
We love Irish music; it is part of what makes Ireland so great, going to pubs around the country and listening to music everywhere. We got really lucky in Portrush though, for one night a week locals get together for a jam session. We were in town that night and we went and listened; it was amazing!
Irish dance at The Oliver Plunkett, Ireland
Just about every pub in Ireland has music, but they don’t all have Irish dance. Some do however, and the best we found was at The Oliver Plunkett in Cork, where three dancers danced one at a time, then together in unison. It was like Lord of the Dance, but live!
Melbourne has so many artists, and they go crazy on Christmas. Amongst other things, we saw: a block-long three-dimensional storefront storybook display, an entire gingerbread city (complete with houses, a hospital, a sports stadium, a train station, and more), tons of decorations, and even a synced-to-music animated Christmas show projected on City Hall. So cool!
Malaysia might be a Muslim country, but they celebrate Christmas just as good as anybody. We were actually in Kuala Lumpur on Christmas day and the city went all out; tons of people came flooding in, shopping and eating, visiting Santa and listening to music, and whatever else everyone was doing. Honestly, it was so packed that it got overwhelming. We still had a great time though!
Ho Chi Minh City may not be the best place to celebrate New Year’s, as the Chinese New Year is bigger for them. Also, the day before New Year’s, the government decreed there would be no fireworks shows, as they felt they were insulting to the poor. But despite all this, we had a blast on New Year’s; Ho Chi Minh’s main square was packed and we got to listen to two concerts, one Vietnamese and the other a Western-style DJ.
Hanoi’s Night Market, Vietnam
Southeast Asia has the best night markets, every city we went to had one and they were all a blast. Our favorite however was Hanoi’s. For one, it was huge, covering an entire district! The market was filled with food and goods and all sorts of other things, and we even found a DJ show with live girls dancing. I think Inna said it best: “they [the girls] aren’t good at dancing but they’re good at being sexy.”
Fashion Mars, Slovakia
We haven’t been to a lot of fashion events in our lifetimes, but even so, this one was the best. The reason for this is that we got to run around amongst the models, taking pictures right next to the professional photographers and videographers. No one cared that we were doing so; in fact, it was what we were supposed to do! We’d never been to an event like this before, and it was awesome!
Fireworks over Prague, Czechia
Standing in the middle of historic Prague, on the Charles Bridge over the Vltava river, was amazing. Then fireworks started, who knows why, and it was unreal. So beautiful. We never did find out what this fireworks show was celebrating, but it doesn’t matter. Everything was so wonderful, a great final experience, Prague being the last city we visited on our trip.
Buskers and street performers everywhere
We found great street performers and musicians all over the world. Even just looking at musicians, we saw such diverse performers as aboriginals in Sydney (shown in the video above), an Indonesian band in Yogyakarta, classical music all over Central Europe, and more. Our favorites, however, were the Italians, and not just in Italy, but also in Cesky Krumlov. Their music was so romantic and beautiful, the perfect music for falling in love.
Honorable Mentions: Dutch Design Week, Zurich Film Festival, virtual reality exhibit in the Canterbury Museum, the rest of Southeast Asia’s night markets, Irish dance in Limerick, musicians in Galway and Dingle, singers in Bali and Siem Reap, Burj Khalifa’s fountain show