I knew this country was special when the first monstrous gust of wind hit me as soon as I stepped off the plane. This tiny Buddhist kingdom nestled within the Himalayas measures its wealth in happiness rather than GDP. We spent 5 days trekking from Paro to Thimphu and learned about Bhutanese culture each night from our wise young guide illuminated by the light of the camp's bonfire.
Every year the country celebrates the King's birthday by planting thousands of trees and Bhutan holds the world record for the most trees planted in one hour - 4,900. A whopping 72% of its land mass remains forested. Houses are built from mud and the entire village gathers together while building to sing, dance and pound the bricks. School is free, traffic lights don't exist, GMOs are illegal and "modernization" is heavily resisted. The West could learn a lot from this spiritually endowed little country.