How is everyone? It’s time to wake up. I am ready, willing and able. Where are we going and what are we doing when we get there? Let me set the stage for you?
Got back from Antartica the morning of December 14 and Lindsay immediately put me to work. Lindsay is my beautiful daughter who is my partner. The long journey of tax season started then. When you play hard you have to work hard. I have been experiencing tax season for over forty five years. You work hard, answer lots of phone calls and help people who are mostly uptight and very anxious. The work is a grind and you start to see the end around the middle of March. I don’t know how much longer I can experience tax season. Semi retirement is on the horizon. Furthermore, one of my two dogs, Marley, developed a lymphoma and over the winter, and we watched her get worse and worse. Dogs are special in my life. They become my soul mates and spiritual companions. Marley eventually passed two weeks ago. We had a very long and difficult winter this year. Lots of storms. My electricity went out, after one storm, and lived and worked off a generator for six days. Enough said. We should all always remember that life is precious and every day should be an adventure and blessing.
So where are we going and when? We leave for the airport on Sunday night and my plane takes off at 2 AM Monday morning for Cambodia. This will be my ninth trip to Cambodia. Why go there so much and what do you do there? I have been going to Cambodia since 2005. I have developed a love affair with the Cambodian people. I find their gentle nature and personality to be very soothing and comforting. It is the only place that I can get my soul and spirit refreshed. Will be spending eight days there. I work with a local charity named “Pepy Empowering Youth”. Google them. They manage and run a scholarship program for rural high school students. When Olivia, myself and Pepy first set up the program, in 2010, there were two students. Now there are thirty students.
Furthermore, Pepy has set up a high school program for candidates of the scholarship program. I go to some of the high schools and give talks with the high school schools. I also have lengthy sessions with the scholarship students and Pepy staff including field trips around Siem Reap. My photography has also become a good topic to talk about. I show the students where I have been and my experiences while there. Last year, the students loved hearing about my dog sledding experiences. When I showed them pictures of the Northern lights, their eyes lit up.This years trip will have a special wrinkle. When I was in Mongolia, last year with a small group of photographers, our local guide was a graduate student named “Zayaa”. Zayaa is a buddhist and has never traveled outside of Mongolia. One night, in Western Mongolia, I showed Zayaa pictures of Cambodia. She was mesmerized by the way the people live and I told her some of the differences in the way they practice buddhism. The following morning, I came up with the idea of bringing Zayaa to Cambodia and having her experience the people, their culture and religion. Trying to blend two similar and dissimilar cultures. She will be meeting people who have never seen snow and last year, where amazed by my winter clothes. She would be a great role model for the students and staff. That is happening. Zayaa is meeting me in Cambodia on Tuesday. I look so forward spending time with her, the students and staff of Pepy. We will be there until the night of May 16th.
Where to next? We both fly to Beijing and arrive there at 2 AM on May 17th. We will be meeting Andy, Kevin and a small group of photographers at a hotel. Both Andy and Kevin have become special people in my life. They are two of my photography confidants and have both become dear friends. They have taught me so much and I feed off them and learn all the time. After some sleep and reunions, Zayaa will leave us and take the Siberian Express back to Mongolia. I will join Andy, Kevin and the others for a two week photography trip in China. We will be traveling all over. More on China and the places will be visit later. Fly home from Shanghai on May 30th.
It is now time to pack. It will be so comforting only packing summer clothing. No gloves, sweaters, snow pants and warm shoes. My camera gear needs to be woken up as well. Every year, the first time I pick up a camera, I realize how much I love photography. Photography for me is a mental state of mind. I look at the world differently and experience all that it has to offer.
Hope everyone will enjoy the travels and hearing about this amazing trip and experiences.