What's Been Going On - February 2014 - Canada -> Jordan -> Burma - Myanmar -> Thailand
Action packed, the usual. In terms of movement since the last time I updated you 6 months ago, I've been in four countries on a range of projects. So let's get to it.
Do It in a Dress
After last year's amazing "Hikers Without Pants" event for Do It in a Dress, I wanted to step it up and get more people involved. So in August 2013, I rallied together a group of nearly 40 amazing people to don school girl dresses for the Do It in a Dress campaign for One Girl. This year, we were dubbed the "Climbers Without Pants" and we took over the Grip It Climbing Center in Saskatoon for some excellent (and challenging) climbing in dresses. Between our main event which saw our participants scale 10m+ walls, and side events including a charity dinner, a zombie walk, and a pickup basketball game (all in school girl dresses of course), we raised more than $9000 which was enough to send 30 girls in Sierra Leone to school. More details on the event here including more than a few examples of me wearing a school dress on television, in the newspaper, and on the radio (seriously).
Check out my piece "I Went Climbing Without Pants for Do It in a Dress"
Lightmoves Creative offers creative bespoke photography, speaking engagements, tour leading, and workshops.
I'm proud to announce that our first workshop takes place in Berlin on March 8th, 2014. Only a few spots remain for this amazing opportunity to spend a day with a pair of our talented photographers. If you're keen to take your photography to the next level, whether you're a beginner or an intermediate photographer, this is an amazing opportunity you don't want to miss. Learn more about the our Berlin photography workshop and sign up for our mailing list for future workshops in Europe, Asia, and North America this year..
In late October, I finally made my first trip to the middle east. After five days with my Dad discovering Petra and Wadi Rum, I was hosted by the Jordan Tourism Board for another 12 days hitting the hot spots throughout the country.
Highlights were many, but my first time in a hot air balloon, watching a camel race with the prince of the Emirates in Wadi Rum, sleeping in a Beduin cave in Petra, and watching the stars in the cool, dark air were among the highlights. I wasn't too sure what to expect of Jordan, but I can say that I'm looking forward to going back, as the three weeks I spent there was just a taste.
Myanmar / Burma
With 8 (and now 9) trips in two years, my time in Myanmar / Burma has become the focus of a long-term photography project on the rapid (and not-so rapid) changes in the country recently. On my latest trip, I spent more time in Yangon shooting the streets, and two weeks in the plains of Bagan (and area) watching some of the most amazing sunrises and sunsets I have ever been fortunate enough to witness.
I photographed a huge demonstration in Yangon, countless temples in Bagan, and interviewed hosts of people for my projects.
Check out my piece "Ma Pan Wee and the Strangest Procession in Myanmar"
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Although a trip back to Chiang Mai wasn't in the original plans, in early December I headed back to one of my most-livable places to call home for 6 weeks. I've been lying fairly low here, catching up on work, making plans, and helping out the folks at Documentary Arts Asia. I even resurrected my weekly film night, screening some of my favorite documentaries in their theatre.
Check out the DAA crowdfunding campaign on indiegogo as they build DAA², their new center, an eco-friendly building out of earth and bamboo. If you're ever in Chiang Mai, stop by for the fantastic library, exhibitions, and workshops.
(More) Myanmar / Burma
A surprise hot air balloon ride over the temples of Bagan, witnessing a novice (monk) ceremony in a small village, scaling 1000 year old temples, canoeing on Inle Lake, eating BBQ on the streets of Yangon, walking amongst thousands of stupas at Kakku... wow. It was action packed. Such an amazing thing to share.
It's somewhat unplanned that I find myself experiencing my first Canadian winter in 5 years. The 65c difference in temperature between Yangon and Saskatoon was a little jarring to say the least.
I'll be here in Canada until mid-April when I head to California for the first time. In the meantime, I'll be working at putting my long-term Burma project together, and publishing some of my adventures in Jordan.
A New "A Skinny Escape"
After much time mulling it over, I finally launched a new design for "Dustin Main's 'A Skinny Escape.'" The biggest change is the landing page which will hopefully allow people to find more of my newest and best work with less effort. It's even more visual than before, with BIG, in your face images, and unique photo stories from around the globe.
"Too Many Adapters" has a Birthday
Too Many Adapters, the source for technology for travelers, just celebrated it's second birthday with a fantastic new redesign. Among the highlights recently was our Photography Month, including contributions from some of the top travel photography bloggers, and this month's focus on being a digital nomad.
Co-founder Dave Dean just released his first book entitled "Hammocks and Hard Drives: The Tech Guide for Digital Nomads" and you can pick it up for only $8 on Amazon.
I'm an Expert at Think Places
I'm a featured expert on travel in Myanmar / Burma on new travel startup Think Places. Check out my profile, and I can help point you in the right direction for places to stay, and things to see for your upcoming trip. I can even help you plan an excellent, off the beaten path-type adventure. I have spent more than 6 months in the country over the past two years and I'm an encyclopedia of great information there.
The Human Earth Project
In November, a crew of excellent people came together in Chiang Mai to help photographer / filmmaker Ben Randall realize his dream of educating people on the world of human trafficking.
The crowdfunding campaign for Ben's film project is taking place as we speak as he attempts to find his friend "M" who was kidnapped from her village in Northern Vietnam and taken over the border to China nearly 3 years ago.
Check out the trailer below and their indiegogo campaign which just has days left.
Interview "The Skinny on Travel Tech" at Zero To Travel
Jason Moore interviewed me on his excellent "Zero To Travel" podcast where I answered all sorts of questions about traveling with technology. It's a great listen and Jason is a natural. Check out my interview (~60min) below, see the notes on my recommendations, and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here.
"Photography and Food Poisoning" Interview at Let's Go Blog
I was recently interviewed on the Flight Network blog "Let's Go" in a piece called "Photography and Food Poisoning with Dustin Main." Unlike most run-of-the-mill interviews, this one goes into some detail that you may or may not want to know about me (including a detailed retelling of a recent bout with food poisoning). It's a great read if I do say so myself, and my personality comes off in a way that my writing here doesn't quite allow. Here are some of my favorite tidbits:
LR: Would you cut off your own limb if you had to?
DM: I’ve thought about this more than one probably should. I’d love to be able to say YES, but I just don’t know. I also hope to never find out. Always hike/climb with a partner!
LR: What destination disappointed you most?
DM: Egypt. It was summer, it was hot, and aggressive touts were all over me trying to sell me junk. All I wanted to do was climb a pyramid. When you try to climb a pyramid at Giza, you quickly find that a host of underpaid Egyptian military men will yell very loudly and run towards you waving their machine guns in your direction. That’s when you stop.
There’s so much more to the story there, but that’s just one reason why Egypt and I don’t get along.
LR: Have fluids ever exited your body in a particularly embarrassing way?
DM: Geez, more times than I’d like to mention. As an example, just a few days ago I found myself with a case of food poisoning. By the time the night was through, I had vomited three times, crapped in two pairs of underwear and even the bed. My dearest apologizes to my neighbors, the guesthouse staff and my favorite laundry lady.
Interview for Lensbaby Artistry
In late November 2013, an anniversary of sorts quietly passed on by. Four years earlier, I had left Canada on a one-year, round-the-world trip. Now 30+ countries later, and I'm still carving out a path with a finish line that is yet to be determined.