Summer Travel Diary, 2014

Coffee Vision in Melbourne!
Coffee Vision in Melbourne!

I am currently in Melbourne, and about to head back home to the states after being abroad for nearly 3 months. A travel itinerary I had:

  • Berkeley to Los Angeles
  • Vancouver
  • Saigon
  • Singapore
  • Pulau Bidong (Malaysia)
  • Hanoi
  • Seoul
  • Tokyo
  • Hong Kong
  • Sydney
  • Melbourne

Traveling is amazing. It has given me the opportunity to meet so many incredible people. I value my travels through the individuals I interact with and meet, not so much the sights, foods, or landmarks I visit. (Side note: good coffee is a must, and incredibly memorable).

Shinjuku, Tokyo 2014
Shinjuku, Tokyo 2014

I feel whenever I leave home and come back– I am a changed person. I am not the same person I left. I feel blessed to have all of these life experiences which challenge my own thoughts, values, and beliefs. Traveling has opened up my mind to the rest of the world.

However I don’t want to travel constantly for the rest of my life. Ironically enough, the more I travel– the more I appreciate home. I crave home after being on the road for too long. I miss my friends, my family, and Cindy. I miss my own bed. I miss the regularity of a scheduled day, being able to cook eggs in the morning, to hit the gym, and drop off and pick up Cindy from school. I miss going to church, and seeing my regular friends. I miss feeling connected to a community.

I have made some incredible friends while traveling, but I feel that my deepest friends are the ones I can actually spend more time with back home. Sometimes when I travel too much, I feel like a tree without roots.

My buddy Sean Lotman in Kyoto
My buddy Sean Lotman in Kyoto

I love traveling and doing workshops, but I often feel that my best contribution to society is to stay at home (living a boring life) and writing articles, interviews, videos, and things for this blog. I have a really hard time to blog on the road due to unpredictable days, jet lag, and a hectic schedule.

I once read a quote that said one needs to have a boring and mundane life to do vigorous and violently creative work. I agree to this greatly.

I often get “the grass is greener on the other side” syndrome at home. I love my home (Berkeley, home of the hippies in California), but sometimes feel like I am “missing out” by not being in other more “interesting” cities (San Francisco, New York, Tokyo, Paris, etc).

Rainy day. On the way to Incheon Airport, Korea.
Rainy day. On the way to Incheon Airport, Korea.

However I live in an amazing city, and in 2015– I want to work on building up the photographic community in my own backyard (rather than always wanting to be somewhere else). When the artists first settled into Paris, it was merely because rent was cheap. Then with the hard work of the writers, photographers, and painters in Paris– the city really became a cultural capital.

Another thought that came to mind: in 2015 I am going to try to spend 80% of my time at home, and only 20% of my time on the road. I think this will be a better balance in both my work and personal life. At the end of the day, I want to be physically present for my loved ones. I don’t want to always be a “traveling salesman” who lives on a plane for the rest of my life. I want to see my future kids grow up– and be a loving and present father.

Minato, Tokyo 2014
Minato, Tokyo 2014

I never want to ever stop traveling– it is still a good way for me to not get “too comfortable” at home. Furthermore, I feel the most alive and fully fulfilled when I’m teaching and interacting with others.

Some plans I have when I get back home:

  • Work on more print-based things. Perhaps print out photography books (of my work and other photographers), street photography guide books, and also learn how to make color darkroom prints of my photos.
  • Produce more videos of me shooting in the streets (as well as others), and improve my video editing skills. Perhaps also record more street photography video lectures (similar to Khan Academy).
  • Produce and sell products: I currently have some prototypes of camera bags, straps, and accessories which I hope to start producing and selling. All handmade leather stuff, really beautiful quality– and functional. Stay posted with this.
  • Magazines: perhaps make some street photography magazines– by learning more design, and collaborating with other street photographers.
  • Exhibitions: collaborating with more photographers and gallery owners to put on some street photography shows
  • Local critique groups: spend more time printing my work, meeting other photographers, and sharing critiques and feedback with one another

I know I won’t be able to accomplish all of the things above, but some ideas that I aspire to do. And of course, feel free to “steal” any of the ideas above, I would love to see others doing similar things and spreading the love.

Home is where the heart is.

I’m looking forward to spending more time at home. I’m home all of September, and October, then off to Oslo, Stockholm, London, and Dubai in November. December I will be at home, January at home, February at home, March in Chicago and Toronto, April in NYC, and perhaps in Europe in the summer.

Kyoto, 2014
Kyoto, 2014

Thank you for the continual love and support you have given me– it means the world to me. This blog wouldn’t be possible without your continued readership and time, I value it so deeply.

Back at home with Cindy in Berkeley, first lunch together :)
Back at home with Cindy in Berkeley, first lunch together :)

I will continue working hard to be a servant to the street photography community — and dedicate my life and soul to promoting the love, education, and community of street photography.

Hugs from Sydney,
Eric

Written on my iPad from “Captains of industry” in Melbourne, 9/8/2014

Snapshots from the summer

A selection of my favorite snapshots from the summer (all shot on my Samsung Galaxy S5, processed in VSCO in-camera):

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10 thoughts on “Summer Travel Diary, 2014”

  1. I really enjoy reading your Travel Diaries man. It’s written sincerely with such a personal voice, as opposed to your ‘teaching’ articles (which I like too).

    I caught the travel bug last year, and now spend my time daydreaming about future adventures. Your thoughts on the grass being greener while your at home struck a cord with me. I’ve always wanted to travel for a long period of time, but have always wondered of the mindset of those year long backpackers.

    You’re out in these incredible places, lets get some hardcore street pics up in here!

  2. Hey Eric, thanks for your blog and the nice and interesting articles! I really enjoy to read it nearly every day. If you are in Europe, don’t miss to visit us in Munich. Just take a weekend or more, maybe you like to make a workshop here. I think you could like the city and the people here. We also have great coffee shops here (and best beer, Schweinshaxn, Hendl, Brezn, Weiswurst…) ;-)

    And sometimes you see some birds will bring the coffee to you ;-)

    See you, maybe in Munich
    Seb

  3. Sounds like a plan but let me add many great creatives traveled so much and lived in airports so much one of them in fact, died in an airport loo, the architect Loius Kahn. I am surprised that you have not developed a scene in your backyard yet that would be truly an amazing thing to do but I think a better schedule would be 60:40 just a suggestion also the idea to do a ton of workshops via skype online and open an online portal also sounds good.Best Kedar

  4. I just came across your blog while researching tips about film photography.
    Loving all the life and creativity in your shots. And I’m like this too, always thinking I’m missing out.
    Recently I realised I was missing out at home by always thinking ahead, of where I would be later.

    We must enjoy our time in the present and sometimes think less of the future.

    You will love London, I am sure. I love picking one of my film cameras and just wandering around taking photos. It’s an amazing city.

    http://www.whenyoudreambig.com

  5. Hi Eric. It must have been about 5 or so years ago when I first discovered you online – you had a small site and were doing community-based photography workshops in LA. Things certainly have changed since then! Will you be having any streettog meetups in the Bay Area any time soon? Thanks!

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