What I’m Grateful For


Dear friend,

I am currently with Cindy in Hanoi, experiencing our first Thanksgiving away from home.

I wanted to use this opportunity to reflect what we’re grateful for.


Hanoi, 2016
Hanoi, 2016

Thanksgiving (besides a chance to get fat, go Black Friday shopping, and have lots of leftovers) is the best opportunity for me to reflect, share what I’m thankful for, and also think of my loving friends and family.

Giving thanks

Hanoi, 2016 #cindyproject
Hanoi, 2016 #cindyproject

I’ve found that in life, happiness isn’t about what you have. Rather, it is being grateful for your life, your loved ones, and the fact that you are alive.

Off the top of my head, here are the things I am grateful for my life:

  • Grateful for all the great coffee shops in Hanoi
  • Grateful for modern technology, which allows us to video call back home, and see the faces and voices of our loved ones
  • Grateful to be in Hanoi with the love of my life, Cindy
  • Grateful for social media, the internet, and technology to share ideas, images, and information all around the world
  • Grateful for modern digital photography to democratize photography and access to the masses
  • Grateful that I have the opportunity to blog, share ideas, thoughts, and information — the privilege to be of benefit to others
  • Grateful for my health, my few possessions and tools, and grateful that I don’t desire anything besides the life I already have

Being human is the greatest gift

Tuyen Quang, 2016
Tuyen Quang, 2016

Above all, I’m thankful for being a human being.

There is nothing more priceless than spending time with other humans— especially close friends, family, and (kind) strangers. I have found the biggest benefit in street photography is for me to have the chance to open up my heart to others. Before street photography, I was shy and timid around strangers. Now, I can have a half-hour long conversation with anyone I meet in the streets.

Street photography has also been a tool to help me be more curious and passionate in the world. The camera is a tool to better appreciate life. To find beauty in the mundane.

If no other human being existed in the world, I would not want to live. After all, what is all the money, wealth, power, and devices in the world worth — if you didn’t have anyone to share it with?

We’ve all heard it before…

I know this is trite; but always count your blessings. I count my blessings in terms of all my physical possessions (laptop, backpack, smartphone, camera, clothes) but more so the amazing love of humanity. I’ve been so amazed by the amount of love that Cindy and I have gotten from our new friends in Hanoi. Not only that, but our connection with our old friends back home.

What are you grateful for?

Hanoi, 2016 #cindyproject
Hanoi, 2016 #cindyproject

What are you grateful for? What are some of the blessings you have in life?

No matter how shitty your life situation might be, you still have things to be grateful for.

Are you grateful for the internet? Modern technology? The chance to live in a world where you can connect with anyone?

Are you grateful for your few, meaningful friends, and family? Are you grateful for your health? Or are you grateful for the fact that you are alive?

Are you grateful for your ability to walk, talk, and see the world? If you are somehow disadvantaged physically — what are some of the other blessings you have?

If you’re alive, you have the greatest blessing of it all.

Share your love

Hanoi, 2016 #cindyproject
Hanoi, 2016 #cindyproject

So this holiday season, use it as an opportunity to share your appreciation for your loved ones. Think of how you can continue building upon your skills, passions, and talents. Think of how you can continue to empower others, and empower yourself.

Your heart is unlimited — in terms of how you can help benefit society.

Not only that, but you already have all the tools to become the best version of yourself, and to help drive society forward.

Thank you for always supporting me and Cindy, following this blog, and sharing the information here with others. I couldn’t have done any of this without you.

Love from Hanoi,
Eric and Cindy

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