Lost Girl of the Week: Natalie Buster

Lost Girl of the Week — By on November 10, 2010 at 6:00 am

This week’s Lost Girl of the Week, Natalie Buster, has found a way to combine her two passions in life, performing and travel, showcasing her talents on cruises and places around the world. Read more about Natalie’s adventures at busterstravels.blogspot.com


I have been a servant to the two masters of travel and performing for as long as I can remember.  My first trip abroad was in the summer between my junior and senior years of high school when the youth orchestra I was a member of took us all to Taiwan and Japan to perform and drink in the culture for two and a half weeks.

From then on, I was hooked.  Next up was junior year abroad in college. I chose a program which offered students the opportunity to stay in a villa on the outskirts of Florence, Italy, thereby getting a taste of the rural Italian life as well as the big city siren call of Florence.  Each weekend, a group of friends and I would brave the train system and seek out a different Italian city to explore, Venice, Rome, Naples, San Gimignano, Taormina, you name it.  We were fearless!  For spring break that year, yearning for something in English, two friends and I hopped a plane for London and spent ten days and countless British pounds reveling in the familiar culture there.

After college, I moved to New York City to pursue my dream of becoming a Broadway actress.  After a year of struggling, I got a call to work on a cruise liner, the Big Red Boat, as it was affectionately dubbed, which is now unfortunately, defunct.  The Big Red Boat took us to the Bahamas and I fell in love with the cruising life.  Who could argue with a schedule that allowed me to perform show tunes at night and frolic in the warm Caribbean waters during the day?  I signed up for three more contracts which took me to all of the Caribbean islands, Mediterranean countries and gave me countless scuba diving, white water rafting and hiking opportunities.

Cruising led me back to New York City, which then led me to the world of international touring.  I landed the role of Dorothy Brock, the diva songstress in the Broadway musical, 42nd Street and our first stop on the tour was Tokyo, Japan.  I was so excited to go back.  We were treated like rock stars, stayed in the finest hotels and really got a chance to explore the urban culture of this country.  I started sending daily e-mail updates home, this was before blogging was in vogue, and got quite a following.  As the tour transitioned into its North American route, I signed up for a blog account, and began writing about my experiences from the road.

42nd Street, the musical has been good to me, and in the summer of 2007, I was offered another contract, this time taking me to China and South Korea for nine months.  China blew me away.  It was so exciting being in a country that was just at the point of breaking through into, what we in the west, call the modern age.  Skyscrapers were being built everywhere I looked, as if trying to compete with each other as to who could be highest.  Of course, the pollution was terrible, but the spectacular night life in Shanghai made up for that.  42nd Street is an iconic American musical, it tells the story of Peggy Sawyer, a young woman with a dream of performing on Broadway who then makes it a reality.  Sky, a young woman I met in the city of Longgang, China really identified with the character of Peggy.  She, too, came from a meager background but had dreams of something bigger.  Often I would catch her practicing her tap dance steps in the lobby of the hotel where she worked.

I have since moved from New York City to San Antonio, Texas to try my hand at a more suburban existence, but since I’ve settled down, the nomadic spirit has been beckoning me stronger than ever.  At these transition points in my life, I always try to guess where the next adventure will take me.  India?  Vietnam?  South America?  I plan on enrolling in an ESL course to teach English in one of these places.  In six months, hopefully, I’ll be blogging from there.

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    1 Comment

  • lara dunston says:

    Love this story! And love women (any travellers really) who travel with purpose – it definitely makes travel more engaging and allows you to connect more with people. When I was in my late 20s I did my masters degree on Latin American Cinema which included one year of in-country (on continent?) study. My year solo-backpacking around South America was driven by the film festival calendar. I’d spend a week or so at a film festival, a week or so interviewing filmmakers and academics and really engaging with local people, then time in between backpacking with other travellers. It was a perfect combination. Now as a travel writer I like to go places having a purpose. It forces me to interact with people and is so much more satisfying.