I'm going to take a short break from nature and landscapes this week and share with you a really neat part of Hanoi, Vietnam: Train Street. My brother and I were wandering around the city, slightly turned around but heading generally in the direction of our hotel. And although we knew it existed, we didn't know where Train Street was until we just happened to pass it on our way back to the room. We arrived completely on accident, and I'm really glad we did. Admittedly, it's touristy, but still really fun. As you can see from the photo, it's a neighborhood in which a train track runs right through the middle, and throughout the day, trains actually use the tracks. To make this experience even more enjoyable, entrepreneurial-minded residents have converted parts of their property into little bars and restaurants so visitors can eat delicious food, drink cold beer and relax while waiting for the next train to roll through. Definitely a fun stop in Hanoi.
"Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else."
While I always make sure to keep up with my Photo of the Week, it can be extremely daunting editing the rest of the photos after an extended trip like I just had. All-in-all I took probably three thousand photos and have selected probably 700 that I consider worth editing and sharing. The sorting of the photos is a big enough project by itself, but from there I go through and edit every single one that I deem worthy. It's a chore! But, the good news is that I've made big progress... the bad news is that I still have probably 600 photos to go. But I will succeed!
"Take the first step, and your mind will mobilize all its forces to your aid. But the first essential is that you begin. Once the battle is started, all that is within and without you will come to your assistance."
I'm officially home safe after nearly a month in Asia. It was such a wonderful trip that it has honestly felt a little weird coming home. In all my travels I have never been to a country where the people were as warm, welcoming and respectful as I experienced in both Thailand and Vietnam. I'm still mentally processing everything, and I imagine I will be doing so for a while, but what I know for sure is that after spending even a short amount of time in such gentle, patient cultures, I immediately recognized that I can be much better on a personal level, and I believe we all can be much better on a societal level. I'll share more in the future, but for now, I challenge you to be extra kind today. To others and to yourself. I have a feeling it will feel amazing. And if it does feel amazing, I challenge you to continue the kindness. There's really nothing to lose.
"Just imagine how different the world could be if we all spoke to everyone with respect and kindness."
I am blessed to say that I have seen, and photographed, some beautiful places in my life, however Tam Cốc, in northern Vietnam, is among the best of them, in my opinion. The entire region is covered with jagged limestone cliffs, under which are flooded rice paddies, offering a majestic mirror image everywhere you look - a photographer's playground. I took literally hundreds of photos during my time in Tam Cốc, and I cannot wait to share more of them.
"I would rather own a little and see the world than own the world and see a little of it."