Nathalie Kelley’s Sojourn in Bhutan

When Nathalie Kelley first arrived in Bhutan,  she turned a lot of heads but not necessarily because people knew who she was. “Who is this beautiful chilip?”was the usual enquiry. But the words  ‘Hollywood actress’ were enough to get everyone  even more excited about this Amazon beauty.

yfourteenIn the far off Kingdom of Bhutan, it isn’t every day  that you see a movie celebrity strutting out of the  tiny Paro International airport. That said, there  have been a handful of surprise visits in the past..  Who can forget the Leonardo visits Bhutanrage on  Facebook a few years ago? It was mostly the urban  movie buffs who recognized Nathalie Kelley from  her movies like Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift  and her appearance in Bruno Mars’ music video  Just the Way You Are— but she didn’t mind the attention.

Nathalie Kelley was invited to Bhutan by MyBhutan, an organization that creates social enterprises to support the philanthropic activities of the  Tarayana Foundation. Nathalie will be featured  in a trailer for MyBhutan’s web portal. The portal will launch in spring 2015 and is expected to  be Bhutan’s first one-stop travel portal that provides the fastest, most cost-effective way to visit  the Land of the Thunder Dragon. There was a lot  of work scheduled for her but that didn’t stop this  beautiful adventurer from getting a personal taste  of Shangrila.

“My first impression of Bhutan was a place where  two worlds collided: there is an ancient world  and a modern world coming together. The natural  beauty of the mountains, farmhouses, and people  in traditional dress intersects with people speaking fluent English on cell phones.” The actress’  natural beauty, her outlook and ethos on life, and  her connection to nature all set her apart from  other western typecast celebrities. “The first thing  that grabbed me was the natural beauty because  it’s the one thing that I’m drawn to the most. Even  when I was looking out of the plane’s window I was like, ‘Oh my god, this place  is amazing’… the vastness of the  mountains, the remote monasteries and the greenery, even in winter, is spectacular.

The second thing that really stood  out for me was the warmth of the  people. I must say the greeting I r eceived at the airport by the MyBhutan team  was the best ever. Everyone is so welcoming! I may risk sounding like a silly westerner but one of the best things about the  Bhutanese is that they speak English —  that is very important in order to connect  with the people. I’m somebody who has  to ask a lot of questions and craves personal connections. In most parts of Asia  where people don’t speak English it’s  difficult to get your personality across  or to understand the other person’s  personality. In Bhutan, I felt I could just dive right  in and make friends here. In less than two weeks, I  really do feel I made some life-long friends. So, for  me this was the best thing.”

Like most first-time visitors, Nathalie was drawn  to some of the unique things about Bhutan. “When  I first heard about the Gross National Happiness index, I was quite curious. How do you measure  happiness? But when I arrived here  I felt it straight away. It’s palpable…people are happy here. I felt a real sense of being content here. Maybe it’s the natural beauty. And I’ve heard that Bhutanese like to travel abroad but everybody comes back. There’s this sense of being one family, tight-knit and everybody knowing each other. I really felt  it  as a place of harmony and that’s  a really nice energy to slip into.”

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