Blog.

The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.

     The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone was probably my favorite location in the park. I didn’t really know what to expect but was impressed by the scenic vantage points the park provided. All I could think of was when people first stumbled upon this massive canyon. There’s forest surrounding it so if they were on land and, in the literal sense, stumbled upon it that would be the end of their adventure. Lets hope it didn’t happen that way but it was a funny skit I thought through. Anyways, we visited the upper and lower falls after the initial outlook spot. I loved figuring out how to frame the scene from the various points of interest and create personal photos that I felt were unique.

     I don’t have a lot to say really because the views were breathtaking so I hope you enjoy the photos! 

5 Tips to Conquering The Great Wall of China!.

     This was my third trip to China and my second time visiting part of The Great Wall. Luckily the section we went to was different than before and much less crowded. Below are 5  useful tips on how to make the most of your experience when visiting! 

1. Good Footwear.

     Really I shouldn’t need to add this tip but the illogical process people must go through when choosing footwear always flabbergasts me! When is comes to traveling, in general, a good pair of shoes can make or break the experience. You don’t want flip-flops, or loose shoes, or really anything that you cant climb thousands of stairs with. On both my visits the stairs were abundant and pretty treacherous at some parts so sturdy based shoes are your optimal choice if you want to endure the less polished portions.

2. Bring Water.

     I’m not sure if there is a location on The Great Wall that is not exhausting but for the most part it is built on mountainous land. Sure there might be a gondola at some locations but I suggest going by foot for the full experience! This being said, just getting to the wall can be tiring so be sure to bring lots of water to stay hydrated!

3. Physically Condition.

     Fortunately, I’m in adequate shape but walking or climbing the thousands of steps is exhausting! At both experiences of The Great Wall there were times I could have fallen over in exhaustion, which would have been extremely dangerous due to the nearly straight up, not to grade, stone, stair ways. If you’re out of shape and still want to see the wall maybe just look at it online because not being able to walk the entire section you’re visiting makes the trip way less worth it.

4. Take all the Photos.

     On average I’m pretty conservative when taking photos. Even to the extent where I’ll jokingly tell people, "I don’t want to waste film," when they tell me to take a picture of something. However, for many of you it might be your only time seeing this wonder so embrace the inner tourist and take a lot photos! Likely most of them will suck, but who knows. Maybe there will be some gems in there and you can make a small book of the awesome adventure to look back on!

5.    Bring Friends.

     The Great Wall was built to keep people out so if you’re going to conquer it you need to bring friends! Once in a lifetime opportunities are better with people to share it with so ensure you have amazing friends around you for the excursion! There are multiple benefits to this: they encourage you to keep climbing, they can carry your water, possibly catch you when you faint from exhaustion, take your photo, and even reminisce with you about the experience! Those of you who I conquered The Great Wall with, thank you for making it a tremendous trek!

     I hope you enjoyed reading about How to Conquer The Great Wall of China. Be sure to check out the images below (some are also near The Forbidden Palace), share this with friends, or maybe even plan your own trip to China!  

Tourists' Killing Tourism.

     At first glance, tourists’ killing tourism may sound like an oxymoron. I do admit that tourists are the ones who fund the tourism industry but what is the expense of that symbiotic relationship? I’ll be direct; the aesthetic cost of tourism is that it funds idiotic ‘improvements’ to tourist locations on a global basis. I’ll elaborate on that point a bit more but I want to preface with saying our overall time in Cambodia was enjoyable and, as you saw in my last post, absolutely gorgeous!

     During second part of our day visiting temples we ventured to Angkor Thom and Ta Prohm. Angkor Thom was quite impressive and surprisingly only from the 13th century, even though it looked far more ancient. I don’t know what I would expect from any structure that old but we saw the Egyptian pyramids and they seemed to be holding up much better. Anyways, from Angkor Thom we drove to Ta Prohm where the iconic trees ooze over the old, decrepit architecture. It was a gorgeous day to be walking underneath the towering trees to go observe one of the many magnificent scenes our world has to offer. Right before reaching what we thought to be the end of the self guided tour we noticed a crowd of people walking towards the back of a temple. Like a dog chasing its tail, we followed them to check if the famous view we all came for was nested behind the next corner.

     As we slowly sauntered through the crowd and around the temple corner the towering tree revealed itself like a classic Polaroid photo! Almost instantly my admiration subsided and turned into dreadful dismay. There was a giant platform. Infested by tourists. Taking selfies. Covering the majestic scene behind it. It was honestly depressing because previous to actually arriving there I had only seen images from when the repulsive stage didn’t exist. You might think I’m being petty but think of the skywalk in Jasper. As convenient as the modern modifications might be, we are destroying the allure of untouched, naked, wild, elements that draws millions to travel. These modern eyesores kill the natural ambiance to many locations worldwide and butcher any possibility of creating a clean image of the place again. I won’t drag out my disgust at the attempt to make travel more accessible for those people who need to take that selfie to show their 50 Instagram followers; but it has caused a pandemic of obtrusive monstrosities that make the virgin landscapes look molested.

     I would love to hear what you think about the modern development of tourist attractions: is it positive or negative from your perspective? I realize there is an attempt to preserve the locations but rather than immersing people directly into the point of interest, taking a step back is a more appropriate movement to incorporate.

Angkor Wat, What?.

     From Myanmar we flew to Cambodia where our contact wasn’t able to meet with us last minute so we had to improvise as a team. Fortunately we didn’t let it faze us too much and planned an amazing morning trip to the world famous Angkor Wat! Skimming through all the popular photography websites you’re bound to see the iconic reflection photos with the temple in the background. It has been a while since I’ve browsed the various sites so many of the images had faded from my memory but I still had the iconic scene in my head. The problem I have with going to many of these gorgeous locations is that millions of people before me have stood in the exact same spot and have likely made every single kind of image imaginable! Regardless of this bleak reality, I try to think creatively and push either my post processing or composition in a dynamic way so that my work might stand out. It’s not often that I feel as though I’ve made a unique image but I know that I’ve attempted to push my creativity to he next level. It is this process that I push myself into and often find it pretty uncomfortable to delve into.

     Much like my creative process I want to push myself out of my comfort zone to try to excel in whatever I’m doing at the subsection section of time in my life. Currently I’m unemployed and back home, which leave my mind often infiltrated by ideas of how to afford a wedding and paying off the past 9 months of travel. One of these wild ideas is about to commence this week and hopefully it will succeed so that I can embark on other entrepreneurial pursuits. This being said, I am always open to working a regular job but trying to make it as a photographer, videographer, designer, or micro business owner is far more exhilarating! Some people get a thrill from sky diving, motor sports, or a multitude of other adrenaline injecting activities but selling something I’m passionate about to people who care, is my ecstasy.

     I truly appreciate you taking the time to read this blog and I hope you find enough value in it to simply share it with other people who might also see it’s value. Lastly, keep an eye out to see what sort of products I’ve been making over the past week! 

Children Calling.

Calling for attention.  Calling for affection.  Calling for affirmation.  Calling for affiliation.  Calling for acceptance.  Calling for advice.  Calling for amusement.

Calling for parents to love and teach them.

     The list above could be extended indefinitely but it consists of only a few needs that children require as they progress through life. When thinking back to when we visited an orphanage in Myanmar to teach English and spend time witnessing the reality these orphans were subject to; I unashamedly, ached for them. As you might already know, I have an agonizing hole in my heart for kids who aren’t fortunate enough to start with all the opportunities many of us in the western world have. Not only are they orphans; they are orphans in an impoverished country. Every day the self-sacrificial people who live with them have to simply pray for protein to feed and sufficiently nourish the 50 plus children. Dwell on that for a minute….  They are praying that their sustainable living projects will provide enough food for the kids. Can you imagine what that must feel like to be at the will of the weather, natural elements, and God’s provision to have enough sustenance to merely consume food? This life giving substance that these kids require to physically as well as mentally develop properly is the same gluttonous substance we gorge ourselves on regularly. The entire time with them I was on the verge of breaking into tears because I wanted nothing more than to help them and be there to assist each child in growing up into people who feel empowered to live rather than survive.

 

 “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style” ― Maya Angelou

 

     You may be wondering what I’m doing right now to fulfill this internal yearning and the answer is honestly nothing. Pathetic right? Other than dearly loving the kids I’ve interacted with I see it as almost useless to invest short amounts of time towards this problem since it will only increase that feeling of abandonment they have. You might be thinking I could sponsor a child. Sure that would make a difference and I might do exactly that this summer but I think what my fiancée and I have concluded is that it’s not a matter of if we will adopt, it’s a matter of how many will we be able to provide for. God willing, we will be able to give our love generously to as many kids as possible. I’m aware that it’s a bold proclamation but out of all the atrocities I’ve witnessed throughout my travels it’s this one where I feel my soul is called to be part of the change.

     Some of the images below are quite contrary to the stark writing I’ve presented but after being with them you feel more than what you see in their smiles. Even with their heavy past they worshiped God with a passion that brought me to tears. I envied their ability to unapologetically worship their omnipresent Father.