Franci Neely Debuts Travel Website To Curate World Travels

Franci Neely
5 min readJul 28


World traveler Franci Neely has a new website that showcases stunning photography from her global excursions.

Houston-based retired lawyer and philanthropist Franci Neely is a seasoned traveler. She’s on a quest to visit every country on the planet and has created a to curate her travels. Her photos weave a global tapestry and showcase her experiences, immersing herself in other cultures and making friends across borders. “Everywhere I go has an impact on my life,” says Neely.

She enjoys exploring other areas of the world and learning about the history, culture, and people that call each place home. Throughout her wandering, Franci Neely says she’s gained “a greater understanding of the universal humanity that we share.” She’s also learned that “none of us are strangers if we look at each other in an open, accepting, sharing way, nonjudgmentally. It’s very life-affirming to me to do that.”

Neely’s photography website gives visitors a glimpse of life around the globe. With her favorite Nikon camera, she’s captured life’s beauty and special moments one frame at a time, such as a smiling mother cradling a happy baby and a herd of elephants roaming the African wilderness.

“I don’t care about a travel log that shows landscapes, like, ‘Oh, here I am in front of a waterfall.’ That is not the idea of the website. Instead, it is to visually show that around the world, one can have human connections that are significant, even if you don’t share a single word in common,” Neely explains. “What I really care about [when traveling] is if in some way I can communicate to [the locals] that I care about them.”

That shows through in her photography.

How Franci Neely’s Middle Eastern Travels Affected Her Worldview

Franci Neely has been traveling the globe for decades and has extensively explored the Middle East . She’s traveled to places like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Yemen, and the United Arab Emirates. According to Neely, her journeys to that part of terra firma had a monumental impact on her life, and her conversations with the locals have been priceless. In addition, taking in their rich art and culture further expanded her worldview.

Neely says, “Diverse cultures have opened my eyes and my heart to the majesty of the world. “I want to encourage others to explore and experience that.”

In 2021, she traveled to Iraq and spent time meeting some of the natives and exploring ruins, including a caravanserai, an ancient roadside inn, in the town of in the Kurdish region of Iraq. She also visited the 1,600-year-old St. Matthew’s Monastery in Mount Alfaf, in that section of Iraq.

She says, “I have experienced the rich tapestry of the desert and sea, and the warm and welcoming embrace of the people who live there, who share their stories with me, and whose lives, enriched by their art and culture, enrich and expand my worldview and understanding.”

Purposeful Travel

The list of places Franci Neely has visited includes Mozambique, Angola, Fiji, Israel, Morocco, India, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and England. However, it’s the people she’s met along the way who inspire her with the most meaningful memories.

She says, “Around the world, one can have human connections that are significant even if you don’t share a single word in common. You can see it in the eyes when you make a connection.”

Being receptive to new experiences and cultures makes travel even more worthwhile. Neely states, “I have a lot to learn, and maybe we can teach each other, [or] share with each other.”

She had an extraordinary encounter while visiting a village encircled by rice terraces in the Philippines. The ancestors of the Igorot people carved the rice terraces into the Cordillera Central mountains at approximately 4,900 feet above sea level in Ifugao. While touring the spot, often referred to as the eighth wonder of the world, Neely formed a longtime friendship. “I met a woman named Virginia, who is now my pen pal. She and I just had this connection. She really doesn’t speak English, so her daughter writes to me on Virginia’s behalf,” says Neely. “Virginia and I just looked at each other, and I felt like she was my sister.”

During a voyage to Batete, Equatorial Guinea, Neely was befriended by a resident of that charming colonial village. His name is Roberto Selso. “Roberto was very happy to share history and a handshake with me. We stood by a 200-year-old home that originally belonged to his grandfather or great-grandfather,” Neely says. “It’s wooden, [and] these structures are vestiges of the colonial history of this country, populated by Portuguese and then Spanish [people].”

Franci Neely was especially taken by the denizens of Cameroon. She says, “They cherish their traditions. Even if some of these people live in the cities, they often travel to the Grassfield kingdoms to practice their traditions.”

She admires that people in Africa, South America, Central America, large parts of Asia, and countries including Guatemala are mindful of their culture and history. “I happen to have a particular love for Guatemala and the Western Highlands. It’s amazing. So with all the hardship that they have, [and] there’s poverty, [they] just had work to survive,” says Neely. “They are renewed and invigorated and revitalized by their culture and their traditions and their togetherness in a positive way instead of a negative way.”

Sometimes she feels so emotionally connected to, or moved by, an individual that she gives them the clothes right off her back. “There are lots of ways to be caring and giving. [Occasionally] If someone, in particular, touched my heart, I have given them something I was wearing,” Neely says. “That happens when there is a really deep, personal connection without the prior intention of doing so.”

She hopes her experiences will inspire others to venture outside of their comfort zones and visit more remote places . “Go visit the Western Highlands of Guatemala, the Grassland kingdoms of Cameroon, and Upper Mustang in Nepal,” she says. “You’ll find volcanoes, lakes, and fascinating villages like Quetzaltenango in the Guatemalan Highlands; rich tribal rites and ceremonies in the Grassland kingdoms of Cameroon; and traditional Tibetan culture in Upper Mustang.”

For those who can’t embark on such extensive traveling, Neely’s photography offers a glimpse of how others live around the globe.

Originally published at on July 28, 2023.