An Open Letter to BusAbout Europe- Because 60 Second Just Wasn’t Enough!

Hello BusAbout!

Standing in the spot where the Viking Security stood guard at The Ayasofya in Istanbul, Turkey. Look at that trench their weight put into the marble! WOW. Impressive and so cool! Felt pretty magical there, I love historical locations.

My name is Masha Brown, and although my last name sounds very American, I was born in St. Petersburg Russia, and moved to Seattle, WA at the age of 7. My full name used to be Marianna Valeryevna Zhandarmova, but my friends have always called me Masha!

You can say I have been a world traveller from an early age.

I was lucky to be raised in a family who was curious to see other parts of the world; learn their history, experience their culture, food, arts and make sure I was a part of those moments. With my birthday always falling on Spring Break, we would often vacation to places like Hawaii, various states in the continental US, Mexico, Ecuador and parts of Europe.

During the summer my dad would organize epic road trips through the United States, to places like Alaska, around our beautiful and Evergreen State of Washington, and across the country; like the time we did a three month road trip to see Yellow Stone Park, famous monuments of the US like Mount Rushmore, and where my dad was from; a small town in North Dakota called Luverne.

My favorite memory of that road trip was seeing that town. Luverne was very small but you could feel the heart of generations there, it had a long history. The neighboring bigger ‘city’ had a historical museum with a collection of arrowheads my dad’s uncle had found. My dad recounted how he remembered walking around with his uncle- him finding various arrowheads and other native remnants, while my dad never could. The anthropologist in me was drooling. I have always been similar; I find the most unique, beautiful and random pieces of art, rocks, crystal and even fossils on our trips, in the US and around the world.

During my time at CWU, I studied cultural anthropology. I love different cultures; that which connects us and also shows our diversity. But one of my favorite classes was the nonverbal communications class, which I believe is one of the most important ways we do communicate. It is not with our words, or one united language, but with our hearts and the energy we put out into the world. That tells the most. It is through these interactions that we start to get to know each other, through real contact; I truly believe actions speak louder than words.

As the saying goes, it is not what we say but how we say it, and the statistic says nonverbal communication is 55% body language, 38% tone, which leaves only 7% being what we actually say with just our words.

Let me reiterate:

Only 7% of what we say is perceived as the words we use. 

I recently applied to be the travel blogger with your squad this summer, and I cannot wait for this opportunity! Although I saw this offer last year, the time was just not right. Currently I am in a position where I am available and ready to take on this trip and unique challenge- I am the best candidate for the job!

Not only do I love to travel and write, but I am inquisitive, adventurous, warm and can easily connect with people of many walks of life.

March in Tokyo Japan, shopping on Tikashita Street.

On the famous shopping street of Tikashita in Tokyo, Japan this past March.

Having just returned from a trip to Japan followed by another one to Turkey and Greece, where I was able to reconnect with my Greek Godfather, who I hadn’t seen in almost 3 decades, was very eye opening. I realized how strong love can be and want to see more of it around the world, write about it, and express it!

With my Godfather Niko when I was about one years old in St.Petersburg, Russia. At the time he was living in the present day country of Georgia.

As I mentioned in my video, growing up my mother always encouraged me to write, I don’t know how she knew even when I was 7 years old, or maybe it was a trick to get me to be better at English since it was a new language I was learning. Regardless, from my early writing of fictional romance to documenting our travels in my diary, writing always came natural to me.

Through my writing I wish to capture unique moments from my point of view- to enhance the words on the page and allow others to see the reality of the world outside our borders, while they may be inside theirs.

Words have the power to take you on a journey, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and my hope is that this summer I will be able to share some of my perspectives with your team, and my views and stories about our adventures with the rest of the world!

In Venice, Italy on my solo backpack trip around Europe, September 2016.

Pick me!

Capturing the light, love and zen of Ishigaki, Okinawa.