This 21-Year-Old Chinese Traveler Is Exploring Pakistan And She's Falling In Love With It Each Day

By Noor | 30 Mar, 2019

21-year-old Asian traveler Marsha Jean has been going on solo trips since she was 18. “Yep, I’m Asian. I’m a girl, and I travel solo,” she states. She narrates her story by saying that she started off her traveling experience by getting free lifts in passing vehicles.

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On my way there I got lost on purpose by taking turns I knew I shouldn't have. (It's addictive that's why I was 3 times slower than the average cyclist touring Central Asia.) I was met with a beautiful plateau and yurts scattered all over. The people were so nice. Almost got force fed. When it was time to go, a boy riding a donkey guided me to the right track. This track was a narrow path on the side of a very steep hill. Was really difficult to balance my bike plus heavy bags on that. Reached this lake 4 hours later than I expected. I camped in this spot for 3 days until the weather got really bad. I have time. A lot of time. I will use this luxury to enjoy the world truly. I have been in Pakistan for 5 months already. I have never stayed this long in a country I didn't work in. People have asked me if Pakistan is dirt cheap. Yes and no. You get offered food, accomodation and gifts all the time. However, you need to (should) give gifts in return. When I was in South East Asia, I could stay in 2USD dorms. When I was in Tajikistan I camped most days. But in Pakistan, you get invited to full trips like Naltar Ski Competition, Malam Jabba, Cholistan Jeep Rally, Hingol, Ranikot, Gorakh Hills, and now I'm in Azad Kashmir. Those opportunities, with the right people. Money can't buy. #rambles . . [Photo taken Summer 2018. Right now I'm in Muzafarabad, Azad Jmmu and Kashmir. Do you read this far?]

A post shared by 🌞Marsha Jean 🌈 (@girlgonetolive) on

At the age of 19, she was able to travel from Iran to France.

Since June, She has been exploring Central Asia on a bicycle! She rode solo across Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, on the world’s second highest road.

Her other experiences include a number of things. She has trekked 19 days through “the roof of the world” in Afghanistan alone, with a donkey and its owner. She also visited one of the most remote nomadic communities in the world in Afghanistan. She’s been up and about, where most people dare not go, and her bravery and passion seem unparalleled.

Jean experienced the danger of being too enthusiastic at the annual fire balloon festival in Burma, binged on the best banana cake in the world in a Moroccan village, lived with a nomadic family in Morocco living in caves, took a flight the cost €5 flight and sailed across Indonesia (Lombok to Flores) on an illegal ship.

Yeah, she’s done a lot, basically.

Now she’s exploring Pakistan and, according to her, it’s one of the BEST places.

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A portrait taken in Hunza, Northern Pakistan. Nov 2018. I am just an amateur photographer, but I think I have a tip to taking better portraits. People have a lot of emotions that are exposed on the face. If you want a photo of someone at their most natural and relaxed state, they must trust you. It really makes all the differences in the world to sit and chat with your subject before asking for a photo. . Let them get to know you first. Impress them with a few local phrases. With you own body language, show that you are relaxed, open and have nothing to hide. Start chatting. Ask them about themselves. Ask them about what they are the most proud of. Ask them about their families. Tell them they look beautiful. Tell them their shop/ children/ village is beautiful. Make them feel proud. Tell them why you want to take their photo. All this could be done with a few local phrases and body language. When they are ready, take that shot. Don't forget to ask, "Facebook? Instagram? No problem?" . How I planned this photo: This shop owner has beautiful blue eyes and strong features. I wanted a photo of him looking very proud. So I took a moment asking about his shop and complimenting him. I told him he has beautiful eyes that matched his jacket, and that I'd like to take his photo. I asked if he'd like to sit there. I planned to have the orange dress in the background complimenting the blue. I'm still not good at processing RAW photos yet. So this is the result, processed with Photoshop's Camera Raw. If you have any critiques and tips please let me know. Thanks!

A post shared by 🌞Marsha Jean 🌈 (@girlgonetolive) on

Upon being asked that what inspired her to visit Pakistan, she said: “I was inspired to visit Pakistan when I met a bunch of travelers in Nepal who told me that their dream destination is Pakistan.”

In her conversation with MangoBaaz, Jean states how she’s overcome with emotion by the warm welcome she’s received. “The hospitality over here is incomparable to anywhere else in the world and because of this, I get so many special opportunities,” she says.

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This is the Nanga Prabat, world's 9th highest peak at 8126m asl. Viewed from the legendary Fairy Meadows Most don't know this, but the real name of the Fairy Meadows, in the local Shina language, is "Phung Dori" – "a place to run your fingers along your moustache" How beautiful is that? Traveling is all for moments like this to take your breathe away, right? And girl was I breathless 😂 A 2 hour hike took me 6 hours to complete. Because: it was my 2nd day of having really foul diahhrea, have been cycling non-stop everyday, and was carrying a 15-20kg backpack. You girl I was prepared for hardcore camping. 😉 I didn't use any of the gear in the end, because one of the guest houses was open due to reconstruction and the owner was super nice to let me stay 4 days for free! Shout out to Sarai! In winter, hardly anyone goes there so all guest houses are closed. . Ah Also I wanted to hike to the basecamp but the police didn't let me.

A post shared by 🌞Marsha Jean 🌈 (@girlgonetolive) on

“Every day I feel so welcomed. Thus, it’s so difficult to leave this place.”

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In honour of #internationalmountainday @unenvironment #mountainsmatter . Everywhere around the world, the locals tell me the weather and environment is changing. In North-West Australia, "this year wet season didn't really happen" . . In Iran's Baluchistan, my host drove me around villages in the desert. "All this (desert), everywhere, used to be farms! We used to have soo many watermelons! Now, just death. It's why we smugglers" . . In Northern Vietnam, "the weather change. more (crops) die. no (crops), money, problem." . In Thailand, "it is getting hotter and hotter every year!" . . In the Philippines, 5 of the their 10 worst typhoons have hit since 2006. They are getting more intense every year. . . In Pakistan, there's an acute water shortage. By 2025 the country can be out of water. The introduction of eucalyptus has a role. Those fast growing Australian trees consume 70 liters of water per day. . . In parts of Pakistan, winter has been shortened from 4 to now only 2 months long. . In Europe, the winters and summers have already made enough news. You think climate change isn't as serious of an issue as you not having your daily 30min long showers? You think using one less plastic bag won't matter? You think solar energy is the answer? There isn't even enough metal underground to build enough solar panels to sustain our needs. There isn't going to be a new earth that humans will one day invade. There isn't another Australia/ America for you to invade and spread out. So, do you still need that plastic bag? Wanna shop at a farmer's market instead? instead of buying packaged food? Do you really need to completely redecorate your room every year? Is it that hard giving up products that uses plam oil?

A post shared by 🌞Marsha Jean 🌈 (@girlgonetolive) on

Jean’s Instagram tells a great story of her journey and it’s inspiring to see how she follows her heart, wherever it may take her. Check her out on Instagram and let us know what you think.

 

 

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