One of my life dreams was to travel, and I’ve been on the road for the last decade+.

What have I learned? Some personal reflections, also distilled in TRAVEL NOTES:

How Cindy and I first connected

When I was in college, one of my dreams was to travel the world and backpack through Europe. In college Cindy taught me the ropes: traveling on the cheap, backpacking, Ryanair, hostels, etc.

Cindy as the original ‘free spirit’. She gave me wings.

map cinderic travel map pin

Why I wanted to travel

Seoul, 2011
Seoul, 2011

Firstly, why did I want to travel?

Perhaps it was a curiosity of the world which drove me. Also my desire to experience novelty, and to photograph new things.

What I’ve gained from travel

Saigon, 2016 #cindyproject
Saigon, 2016 #cindyproject

What have I gained from traveling?

Firstly, traveling has made my life 1000x more interesting, fun, and exciting! I’ve discovered new modes of living, new modes of interaction, and a vast variety of cultures. In this sense, traveling has made me more open-minded, tolerant, wise, and loving.

Secondly, traveling has afforded me the opportunity to make unique photographs. Most of my best photos have been created while I have traveled, lived on the road, lived nomadically, etc. And the interesting thing — my notion of ‘home’ is different. My mom is traveling constantly, my sister lives in LA, and Cindy’s family is in SoCal. My only ‘home’ is Cindy. I don’t really think of a house as a home anymore (because I have never had a childhood home, and my mom has never owned a physical house). Thus, the notion of ‘home’ isn’t really that important to me. Also growing up, I spent a lot of my formative years in so many different places (Alameda, Bayside/Queens-New York, Castro Valley, Westwood-UCLA, West LA, East Lansing, Hanoi-Saigon, etc). I feel “at home” whenever I have wifi, coffee, and Cindy.

Challenging consumerism/materialism

Another interesting thing about travel:

It has made me less materialistic.

I think the religion/ethos of America is this:

Accumulate more things, possessions, etc — and you will be ‘happier’.

I’ve actually discovered through living nomadically the opposite:

The more things you possess, the worse your life.

Having more stuff means more stuff to maintain, more stuff to store, more stuff to organize. This just wastes mental power. I would rather have a few possessions/tools which empower me, and focus 100% of my efforts towards creative production than to have lots of objects to distract me.

Can traveling help you?

Now the million dollar question:

Can traveling help me?

I think so. I honestly believe that any form of traveling is a ‘net positive’ to any individual. Either it can teach you what you appreciate about “home”, or it can give you the opportunity to ‘get outside of your comfort zone’ to think new ideas, new thoughts, and to have new experiences.

So long story short:

When in doubt, travel.