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April in the Orient

April was a difficult month for both this year and last. Coming out of March being sick, feeling behind and scrambling trying to catch up and make up for lost time...struggling to get back in the groove of things, it just felt like there was never enough time to do it all. Even this blog post, in all its brevity, still didn't manage to make my self-imposed month-end deadline.

Meanwhile, last year in 2018, following the events of my last blog post, I had just left my hometown Chongqing and Wuhan and was about to embark on the second half of my China trip. I was really excited because I was about to visit cities that I've never been before and cities in China have so much variability from one to the next, it was almost as if you were visiting a totally different country each time. Of course, nearly right off the bat, I got incredibly sick. So sick in fact, when I went to take a painkiller, I put the bottle of meds I brought with me down on the ground and promptly left the whole …
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March in the Homeland

Due to unexpected delays, this post is actually more timely now than originally planned. On this date exactly one year ago, I had just finished my visit to my birth city and parental hometowns. The photos from my trip sat on my hard drive for a whole year until I started writing this post.

My initial reaction at first review of the photos was the familiar sigh and groan at the sheer volume. I try not to be too trigger-happy when shooting but it's easy to lose track in this digital era. I did a quick scan and filtered out the ones I liked most. However, on my second pass, I felt this sinking feeling in my chest.

These were my first couple picks (that I still really like):

But the sinking feeling was this weird sort of delayed shame. There were historic reenactors at one of the historic sites but all the photos I picked were of actual people going about their daily lives. I felt disconnected, invasive and intrusive. I felt like I was one of those bad tourists -- you know, those priv…

February on the West Coast

I don't usually travel for work so when the opportunity arises to go somewhere new, it's still fresh and exciting to me. However, I quickly realized that it wasn't as glamourous as I had anticipated.

I was actually really looking forward to seeing Vancouver again -- specifically, the beautiful scenery and delicious foods -- but in reality, I only got to see the office and my hotel room (not that those weren't nice in their own way). On Friday, I managed to squeeze out two hours until my train down to Seattle and I was determined to make the most of it. So I picked up my luggage and trekked out into the signature west coast rain.

I found myself alternating a lot between my phone and camera, partly due to the fear of rain getting on my camera, but also feeling the need for a wider lens for the architecture shots. It's really amazing how good phone cameras are getting nowadays and it's a good reminder for me to stay grounded to the photography and not get caught …

January in Japan: 2019 Travel Diary & 2018 Review

Normally, the first month of the new year blows by in the blink of an eye, but this month, I've been counting every single day.

I have to admit, it's a significant year in my life. Young me always looked forward to 2019 as I thought I would at last be of the ideal age: established enough to have a comfortable lifestyle and yet still have a fair bit of that youthful wild side. Now that I'm here, I have to say, I was right, but also way off. There are things I expected to have (e.g. my own place) but also didn't think of at all (e.g. two little furbabies). It's funny how it feels like I made it here and yet "here" is some weird abstract concept that just doesn't feel real.

Each day of this month has been counted for because I have high hopes and concrete goals for this year. This is my 4th year doing a year-long photography project and originally, my idea was to try to focus on pet photography. However, nearing the end of last year, and looking at all …