What's Been Going On - August 2013 - New Zealand -> Asia -> Europe -> North America
It's been more than 7 months since I last updated you with what's been happening around here. Seven countries and four continents later, and I've just returned for a short visit to my "home and native land," Canada.
My last update was just as I arrived in New Zealand in mid January for the "Travel With a Local" project put together with my friends Dave and Lauren. We had two action-packed months driving around New Zealand, from the top of the North Island to the bottom of the South Island. Thanks to the support of HostelBookers, XCOM Global, Nokia, and Tourism New Zealand, it was another amazing experience in one of my favorite countries.
To say I was exhausted after New Zealand would be putting it mildly, so I flew back to Bangkok then back to Myanmar / Burma after obtaining a new visa for a month of rest in the quiet mountain town of Kalaw. Why Kalaw? Kalaw is quiet little town of ~5000 or so in the Shan Hills. The higher elevation means cooler temperatures which is high on my priority list, particularly when the hot season is upon us (March / April).
So I was able to rest in mellow Kalaw, read more books in a month than I have in the last few years combined, eat a whole papaya everyday, and generally not let myself feel guilty for not going out to shoot photos. This was the toughest of the bunch as I attended a huge festival in Pindaya, and there were numerous "novice ceremonies" for young would-be monks nearly everyday right in front of the guesthouse I called home. It was the first "down time" I've had in years, and it was great. Unfortunately, I could feel the heat creep higher and higher everyday, which made my escape the Europe all the more important in mid-April after another 4 weeks in the country.
Myanmar was once again in turmoil while I was in the country, as just a couple of hours away (~120km), violence erupted in Meiktila. Getting quality information was difficult between newspapers, the odd Al Jazeera report, and most often rumors. The threat to journalists / photographers was high, so it would have been hard enough in most countries, let alone here. The NLD did arrange a collection of food, clothes, and money for the people who were displaced by the violence, but unfortunately I couldn't join on the delivery for safety reasons. The country continues to become more and more complicated with each visit I make.
Myanmar / Burma Travel Resources
To escape the heat, I decided to head to Berlin, a city I had visited 2.5 years ago to take in some more of the famed music, art, and startup scenes. It's also been a couple of years since I experienced the season that is spring. Jacket weather! My timing was great as spring was just taking over from a particularly brutal winter here.
Berlin is a pretty special place in that it attracts interesting people from around the world in the same way a place like Chiang Mai does (but on a much larger scale). The park-filled city is a dream with blue skies, but once the rain and the clouds come in, it can get particularly gray and depressing to be honest. Fortunately there was far more of the former than the latter.
In terms of work, I documented some though-provoking street art, explored abandoned places, and even a dingy nightclub in my time there. I met with photographers, entrepreneurs, photographers, filmmakers and all sorts of other creative people to exchange thoughts and ideas. It was very positive being there, and helped me center myself again after being on the move for so long. That said, I kept myself to mostly in and around the city, with only a trip to Hamburg for the ELBJazz Festival and a short trip to visit a friend in southern Germany. Looking forward to heading back to Berlin sooner than later.
You can see some of the recent work I've done on Berlin:
Portland, OR USA
At the beginning of July, it was back to Portland once again for the World Domination Summit. After 40 hours of planes, trains, and automobiles (buses), I was wrecked, and even lost my voice.
Even still, it's always an amazing time with my tribe. Low on the photos this year, but high on the people as always.
What Else Has Been Happening?
Photography in WildJunket Magazine
WildJunket Magazine is a digital magazine featuring stories of travel around the globe, and stunning photography to go along with it. One of my images was published as the lead off for the "Snapshots" section. You can view it online for free for a limited time, and pick up the PDF / iPad / Android here for $2.99.
I wrote a small piece to commemorate Lonely Planet author Leif Petterson's "A vomit anthology – celebrating 20 years barf-free." That streak of his is particularly impressive given the parts of the planet he's been to since then. Read my account of my first and last experience with traditional Vietnamese medicine, as well as stories from other friends and bloggers Daniel Noll of Uncornered Market and Jodi Ettenberg of Legal Nomads about the joys of chucking abroad.
Talking Tech with Google Travel, Live!
On July 30th, I participated in a live Hangout On Air with the folks at Google Travel with my good friend and Too Many Adapters partner-in-crime Dave Dean as we talked about "Staying Connected While Traveling Abroad." This was the first in a brand new series from Google Travel called "Travel Tips."
The response was excellent, and we were only able to answer a fraction of the questions we received, so you'll likely see us doing this again soon on Too Many Adapters.
August is Photo Month on Too Many Adapters
I have no children, that is unless you count my cameras and Too Many Adapters. So it's only fitting that in August we're doing something special, and devoting the entire month to photography and travel. You'll find great articles and tips from some of my favourite travel photo bloggers like Kirsten Alana, Laurence Norah and Bethany Salvon just to name a few. Very excited about this, so definitely check out Photography Month all month long.
I'm Doing It in a Dress Once Again
After last year's hugely successful campaign where I hiked 70km in the Canadian Rocky Mountains in a school girl dress for the Australian charity OneGirl in support of girls in Sierra Leone, I'm donning the dress once again... and I'm inviting 30 women and men, boys and girls to join me.
This year, we're "Climbers Without Pants" and we're growing 10x from 3 participants to 30! Since Saskatchewan is as flat as a board, we'll be climbing walls in dresses at local climbing facility "Grip It Climbing."
If you're in the Saskatoon area and would like to join our event, feel free to contact me. You can follow my posts on my Do It in a Dress micro-blog, and I'll have a wrapup (or two) here as well.
What's to Come?
I'm staying in Canada for another 6-8 weeks to catch up on my ever-growing group of projects. One big benefit to being back in Saskatoon is having my workstation to work on my images. A couple of giant monitors and a fast desktop are much better than the 11.6" Ultrabook I typically carry around the world.
In the meantime, I'm sorting out my plans for the balance of 2013 in the coming weeks. Nothing is set in stone yet, but you can be sure that a trip back to Burma is on the cards.