Hanoi, Vietnam was the busiest city I've ever experienced. At first it was completely overwhelming, with cars, moto's, and their loud horns consuming any sense of peace I had. But honestly, over time, I got a little more accustomed to it, and that's when I started enjoying the city more. I'd still prefer small towns, to be honest, but Hanoi was definitely an adventure. And I feel like if I had even more time there, I could learn to love it someday. From a photography standpoint, the biggest struggle was managing to take photos without any cars or moto's in the way. It was nearly impossible (at least during the day when traffic is busiest), but instead of fighting the tide, I decided to embrace it, as you can see. And I think it actually turned out pretty cool!
"Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain."
You may remember that a while back I shared a photo from Train Street in Hanoi, Vietnam. It was honestly such a fun experience! The entire place was really photogenic, but the icing on the cake was when the actual train rolled through. My brother and I were fortunate enough to (inadvertently) stumble upon this spot about 30 minutes before the train came through. We had already settled in with a cold beer at a little bar beside the tracks, and before we knew it, the train rolled in. As you can see, I had enough time to position myself for a pretty cool photo of the action. A memory I will likely remember for the rest of my life.
"A moment lasts for seconds but the memories last forever."
Wat Pha Lat is a beautiful Buddhist temple hidden in the dense jungle just outside of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. The temple, which was built in the 1300's, made for a lovely little nature getaway after spending a couple days in the city. The type of place that, upon entering, makes it almost impossible to not breathe a little slower and a little deeper. It's filled with vibrant and peaceful gardens, a gentle creek running down the mountain, and plenty of ancient and artistic statues to admire.
"If you wish to know the divine, feel the wind on your face and the warm sun on your hand."
After reading my favorite book, Shantaram, multiple times, I'm reminded that, while I wouldn't necessarily choose to live in such a humble home as this, I recognize that I could 100% adapt to anything put in front of me, if necessary. Even living in a shack (especially if that shack was right on the river). It's so easy to try to keep up with the Jones', and feel like a big, modern, expensive home is needed. And I understand that sentiment, I really do. But I would venture to say that the size or price of a home has basically zero effect on long-term levels of happiness. And that the love and relationships found inside that home are what matter the most.
"It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor."
Even though Bangkok was a very pleasant surprise and I can't wait to go back, Chiang Mai was more my vibe. It's just a smaller city and more laid back. While there, we happily walked almost everywhere we went, however our hotel offered us free bike rentals, so we made the most of that. I tend to be an early riser, so one morning I woke early, grabbed a bike and went out on my own to explore. As you can see, I ended up at the river, which was calm and peaceful and lovely, and I ended up taking tons of reflection photos, which always makes me happy. For whatever reason this photo kept standing out to me as I was deciding which photo to share this week. I think it's the soft lighting and murky reflection, but I can't quite put my finger on it. What do you think?
"To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world."