I really like traveling. I like it so much that it’s embarrassing to think back to just a few years ago – when I was content to be stuck in America. I mean – I was literally trapped in the United States. See, I was originally born in the Philippines and then moved to the US when I was three. I never did get around to applying for US citizenship, and my Filipino passport expired. So it was either become a US citizen – or try to get a new Filipino passport. Since I apparently detest paperwork and government processes, I decided that hey, I’ll do nothing and just hangout in the US forever. It’s a big country – why leave.
(Sorry – I learned how to use the stabilizer about halfway through.)
Enter Leah. On our very first date she let me know – yes, let me know – that she was planning on moving to Nepal in six months. I wasn’t in the long term plan and at the time, that was alright with both of us. Fortunately, I’m awesome (ha!) and Leah decided to put off Nepal for a few years.
Since then, she graduated with her Master’s in Social Work, I finally got a Bachelor’s in business finance, she got hired at CARE, and now I’m a photographer. I’ll save you some of the nostalgia trip of the past year and try to get to the point (because if you’ve followed our blog for even just a few months, you’ll know that I like the story too much and I keep repeating it.) Still.
We’ve traveled more in the past year across the US than I did in the 30 years before then. This next year we’re flying from Maine, to Florida, to Michigan, over to California and a lot of spots in between. Even if I’m going to the middle of nowhere Missouri, or Alabama – I get excited for the trip. Leah left for Delhi, India last Saturday and I flew out of Atlanta on Monday. With a stop over in Doha, Qatar (8 hours) – and then finally landing in Kathmandu – this is the first time I’ve been so far away – alone.
It’s not that I’m sad and pathetic (well sometimes I am!) – it’s that I know this portion of the trip would be even more fun if I had friends (and Leah!)with me. In case you haven’t noticed – I surround myself with people. Aside from all of the marketing/business and logistical reasons for having our Interns – when it comes down to it, it’s really about me wanting to work and hangout with people that I… want to work and hangout with. I need partners in crime – because with them I’m motivated to do more… um, crime? Well, you know what I mean.
This trip so far? I flew from Atlanta to Washington D.C. to Doha, Qatar, and then Kathmandu, Nepal. Not including the 8 hour layover in Doha – something like 26 hours in the air. The thing with traveling – is that to get the most out of it, you really have to start talking to strangers. This is something that we as Americans rarely do when we’re traveling within our own country, nevermind when we go abroad (the relatively few Americans that do.) On past trips I’ve had it easy because Leah’s kind of magical in that area. She’s not afraid to attempt the language – and to keep attempting it. Of course – Leah trying the language is cute – me trying the language, is eh – let’s just say it isn’t the same as when Leah tries. But I’ve done my best so far and I’m taking photos and videos – because I need proof that I was social!
So. Kathmandu, Nepal. Yeah. It’s great here – and I’ll admit that while it’s tempting to only go for the poster, frame-worthy shots, but there is more here than just monks, and really old people with deep canyon wrinkles on their faces. Walking around – it’s a little overwhelming and while you can easily walk away with a hundred photos of something interesting – but nothing new. So I’m figuring it out and I have some ideas. Because sure, I can come back with a hard drive full of the same shots everyone else has made – or I can risk coming back without anything impressive because I tried for something new. Like we tell our Interns – aim for something different, even if you miss. (Alright we don’t really tell them that – but it sounds nicer than ‘you better get THE SHOT or else you’re cut.’)
See you tomorrow.
Nepal. Kathmandu. Travel. Photos. Photography. LeahAndMark.com