Sometimes some of the hardest posts to write are the moments so beautiful that words fail. That’s why Palau is just now finding a spot in our blog, our trip to Aaron’s homeland of Palau was definitely an island from our dreams. His family welcomed us with open arms, and kept our bellies full with fresh seafood. Such an untouched gem in the middle of the pacific abundant with life. Chickens literally crossed the roads, clams sat in rows for easy digging, bananas and papayas lined the streets, ocean so abundant with fish I felt like you could reach down and grab them. Every time we went fishing with his family, they came ready with rice and soy sauce and we feasted on the freshest sushi right on the boat. As our tanlines disappear, we’re reminded of how much we miss the island vibes. We’re booking flights for July, and we’re excited to say we’ll see you this summer Palau!
Two beautiful worlds collide with these images. I was captivated by how alien these orbs of spheres looked photographed against beautiful landscapes. In the video Denis explained his background in a demanding sales job, a destructive cycle of drinking to suppress the anxiety of his high pressure lifestyle, and red bulls throughout the day to keep him awake through this monotonous cycle, until one day he saw the light. Literally. They were in the process of moving where in between he found time to pick up a camera and gravitated towards what he found exciting and freeing. Truly an inspiration for creative Independence, and how artists and or creatives alike who find themselves in a cube the majority of their days can start to feel depressed. It’s your intuition telling you there’s something more, something that will liberate you so much it gives you goosebumps. It may not be on the list of “job options” they presented to you in grade school when you were first asked the question “what do you want to be when you grow up?” As I get older, I realized this shouldn’t have been a list of options, but a fill in the blank/s exercise.
Learn more about the process of light painting in the video, or see more on Denis Smith’s site.
National Geographic “Your Shot” community is such a visual discovery through the lens of everyday photographers, travelers, and spontaneous adventurers. They posted a “foodscape” assignment and we immediately thought about my uncle Jong whom we recently visited during our stay in the Philippines. He’s quite a man of the wild, knows how to fix anything, build anything, catch anything, and cook everything. We have a little family compound by the ocean off of the island Mindoro. Below is his photo captured by Aaron as he cooks what he’s caught for us over an open fire. Below this photo are the top photos from the NCS foodscape assignment. Aren’t they incredible?! So many stories these photos have captured. They open our eyes to wonder, and evoke a sense of adventure.
Early morning markets, Hoi An, Vietnam
This was taken in a small village in southeast of china called Lishui.People are busy gathering and picking the pumpkin to the market.
These are two sea gypsies that are cooking the catch of the day.
Iranian villager woman carries the tray of fruits and traditional nuts at the yard of her house during Chaharshanbe Souri.
Click on images for photographer profiles and while you’re at it, check out their amazing shots!
Hey friends! So happy to announce that the shop is live! After lots of coffee, hard work and quite a bit of fun, we finally hit the go button. Still many more miles on to go, more treasures to hunt, more photos to shoot and edit, so keep checking in. Starting small with items we would love to sell equally as much as we would love to keep. We’re focusing on tribal, handmade items that bring an indigenous story to your home or wardrobe. Check out the shop <3
Misty mornings by the boat dock
Small villages amongst breathtaking mountain landscapes of Laos
Incredible layers of mountainsides made for a scenic ride
A temple within a cave
Through film: Temples along the river
Through film: At the boat dock
Through film: Monks accompanied our long boat ride. It was interesting to see them meditating while on the boat!
Through film: Temp rooftops over the Mekong
Sundown on the Mekong
One of the biggest realizations we’ve had on the road is the reality of being rich with time. All of a sudden I am happily hand washing our clothes, when it used to be such a chore sticking them in the washing machine and pressing a button. It’s an incredible feeling to get up early, to listen to bird songs, watch the sunrise and write in my journal. Quite a contrast to the days where I’m frantically running out the door and listening to beating horns of early morning traffic. Now I slowly sip my coffee throughout the day for the aroma and bold flavors, not to “have to get through the day”. The more I see different walks of life, the more I realize that the unmarked paths are there for you to create your own. Knowing that has been such a freeing feeling, and I don’t think it’s anything I would have understood without seeing it for myself.
We decided to take a “slow’ trip to Laos. We had nowhere we had to be at any time and creating an itinerary just seemed unnecessary. The slow boat took two days slowly riding the current of the Mekong river. There’s something so therapeutic about sitting still for hours as the wind blows your hair, and views of the majestic mountain regions of Laos pass by. We live in such an “instant’ society where you’re expected to do more with less time. We can answer 10 emails in one hour, but it’s hard to establish any true connections that way. It’s getting harder and harder to sit still, because it’s seen as lazy or unproductive but reflection is imperative in clearing your mind and centering your priorities.
As the sun started set, the boat came to stop at a small riverside village for you to sleep and find some local food. We came with no expectations therefore everything became a discovery. Some good, some so-so. I’ll have to save our story of when we played pin the tail on the map of Laos and ended up in a village where we felt stranded. Or that guesthouse where all you could smell was cat pee. We laugh about it every time, and can honestly say these moments color our travels.
If you’re feed is anything like mine, you can almost drown in a never ending feed of images. In our day and age of selfies and “what I ate today” image frenzy, there are those images that make you stop, look, and listen to their story. My favorite instagrams is my version of highly addicting TV shows (since I don’t have a TV) These wandering folks have taken my imagination to some far away places, somewhere I’ve been or where I’d like to go and I’m always curious to see where their perspective will lead me next.
@ourwildabandon: They were scheduled to be back in Canada by Novemeber 1st, but they’re not even halfway through with their US road trip. These girls and their camper named Bobby Jean makes you lust for camp vibes, big skies, desert trips, and the freedom of the open road.
@BrooklynHawaii: Hailing in Hawaii, Brooklyn is a talented photographer and one badass surfer chick, yes she exists. Be warned, her photos might have you green with envy for big waves, tan lines, and mahalo vibes.
@Circa_1983 From misty mornings to high altitudes, his shots capture Mama Earth’s majestic silhouettes and make us want to get lost deep into the wild.
“Neither a traditional documentary nor a travelogue, SAMSARA takes the form of a nonverbal, guided meditation on the cycle on birth, death and re-birth. Through powerful images, the film illuminates the links between humanity and the rest of nature, showing how our life cycle mirrors the rhythm of the planet.”
It’s hard to put into words how powerful this movie is. The entire thing is presented without dialogue, encouraging your own inner interpretations through an hour-and-a-half of breathtaking imagery combined with mesmerizing music. For me it was yet another reminder of just how little I know or understand about the world. I keep thinking about birth in the sense of location, and how it dictates the entirety of a person’s life. Their beliefs, religion, perception will depend entirely upon which hemisphere, continent, country, or tribe a person is born into. Of course they could change their location at any given time, but the origins will always be there. And for many people, what they’re handed at birth will be all they ever know. It’s a humbling thought to realize that ultimately we have no control.
A quick snapshot from my phone looking out the window of a bus swerving down the mountainside of Laos may not make for a great photo per se, but I couldn’t think of a better image that can translate my thoughts. A bit out of it from a long 10 hour bus ride through the mountainsides of northern Laos, I woke up to a beautiful sunrise. We were so high up that the mountains rose above the clouds and laid like snow. We passed by small villages and I couldn’t help but smile at the children waving as the bus drove by. What a radical change this Friday morning is compared to my Friday mornings prior to leaving. I used to wake up to a screeching alarm clock, sit in morning traffic with other anxiety ridden, overworked, road raged people and I was no different. As each day of higher sales quotas, and tighter deadlines drained every bit of me I kept asking myself, so this is it? This is what the “real world” that I prepared so diligently for throughout college is like? This illusion was sort of depressing. I found myself at a crossroad and I wanted to run the exact opposite direction. So I did.
You always hear people say “follow your bliss” ‘live like there’s no tomorrow” like a broken record of cliches. I settled for a one way flight and trusted the unknowingness of tomorrow. I admit, it gave me goosebumps, but in the best way possible. The journey of creating yourself didn’t go off like a lightbulb, but it was a mashup of moments such this sunrise on the bus where you feel a slow yet permanent change. It humbled my perspective, and shook my understanding. I finally understood the feeling of being rich with time, knocking out a to-do list that’s all yours, and getting up in the morning excited of what might come about today. Working with dream clients and collaborating with friends, and past colleagues to produce work that we’re passionate about and proud of is truly rewarding.
Someone once told me the difference between fear and danger is that danger is very real, and fear is something we have made up. Made up of a misuse of our imagination to create anxiety of what might happen. Live in the present and trust yourself enough to know that you’re on the right path and that you’ll know when you need to veer off. Trust that you are not in control and if you let the current of life take you, things will unfold as it should. Don’t just work hard, work passionately. If you’re decent at performing at a job you don’t like, imagine the meaningful work you can produce doing something you’re truly passionate about.
I had to write this to express my perpetual gratitude and hope that this energy manifests into whoever is reading this. If missed most of my ramblings, just remember this: Whatever it may be, follow your bliss.
To better spend my time here in Thailand, I joined an The Christopher Robert Project which is an organization that visits Thailand’s hill-tribe communities on the weekends and offer in-village tutoring classes for the kids. Many of the hill-tribes reside far distances from schools, therefore making it difficult for the children to attend school. This past weekend, I had the pleasure of working with the Karen Hilltribe in Baan Mae Jok Village. The children stole my heart on the first day. I was shocked at how enthusiastic they were about school. They eagerly arrived to class an hour before we were supposed to start, and were so well-mannered. The most special part about this weekend visit was spending all day with the children in their village and seeing how they lived. Each morning the adults would set off to tend/gather crops, men would head out with their handmade rifle to hunt, and the children spent the day swimming in river and playing in the sun. Everyone had an important role in the village, and even the kids learned early how to cook, hunt, and be an asset to the tribe. It’s always reviving to be surrounded by such simplicity. No excess, no waste. I also had the pleasure of doing day to day activities with the families such as going to church, helping with dinner, and kicking it over fresh grown tobacco rolled in banana leaves!
We truly were enchanted with our stay in Santa Fe. Above is some shots on the road and in our hostel. We spent two nights in Santa Fe International hostel and it was a gem of a find. The outdoor courtyard was charming, our room was a sunny sanctuary, and the feeling of community was welcoming. We enjoyed the details that surrounded us in the city. Every bridge we passed displayed artwork, wooden doors carved with intricate designs, and eclectic shops that boasts influence from Native American arts to artisan pieces from all over the world. I met an inspiring local named Ian who runs Peaceful Wind Gallery. Every piece selectively collected during his travels through India, Nepal, Tibet and Southeast Asia. I was in awe with his finds. There were original scrolls from Tibet, intricate furniture, and beautiful Buddhist statues. We also chatted with his son who has embraced his dad’s gallery by branching into the up and coming art scene of Tibet. They both travel and meet with different artists to showcase their work. The most amazing part of our visit to this gallery is seeing how passionate they were about each piece and the story behind the artist. It was a great karmic encounter, and grateful for people like Ian who walk into your lives, even if just for a short visit to open your eyes with wonder.