” I am exhausted! I worked nonstop in Hong Kong for the last 4 days, sleeping 4 hours per night; my brain is fried and writing is not coming easy. But I am so so so excited about the next few weeks! After a long wait, I’m finally on my way to Hanoi, Vietnam!
I loved Hong Kong and i am so happy about all the adventures I lived and the lives i crossed path with, but I am ready to spend some time in a less-high-pace/less-crazy-packed environment!
I’ve been working like a maniac these last few months and I think my mind needs to disconnect a bit from everything, from work and the fashion photography world especially.
I don’t know what it is but I’ve been feeling like something is missing lately. So many questions keep popping into my head “Who are you really?” “Are you doing the right thing right now?” “Do you really want to pursue this quest?” “Do you still want to be a fashion photographer?”
We are landing in 10 minutes, the show outside my window is breathtaking, the sun is giving the last bit of light to today, orange and pink pastel tones in the air. I can see the green rice paddies from up here. Oh Vietnam we’re going to like each other, i already know! “
January 11th 2016, 8.30 PM – Hanoi [Waiting for food in Hoàn Kiếm]
“Today was the first full day in Hanoi. I’m already in love!
Everything looks like nothing I’ve seen before. I love the restaurants’ little tables and plastic stools out in the streets. The colors of the food. The intimidating stream of scooters and bikes you need to throw yourself at to cross the street. The strong coffee dripping into condensed milk and the tangled power lines…
People are so kind here, they look very happy. Everything around is a perfect picture. Speaking of that, I got a few good shots today, I have a feeling it won’t be hard to find Beauty here, please be good to me Vietnam! “
“I’m in the middle of Magic right now! On a tiny old boat, cruising around the countless little islands of Halong Bay in the dark night. Around us just silence and darkness, it feels wrong to talk, it would be likebraking a spell or disrespecting the ancient gods hidden in the water and on the trees of the islands. Words can’t really describe the daunting beauty of this moment. Only the stars are missing but the clouds are about to open up.
I feel like I’m inside an episode of LOST right now…to be honest, i never felt more lost myself. I feel different. Something is changing… what are you doing to me Vietnam? “
[SIDENOTE to ruin the romance for all of you, while I was thinking all this poetical stuff I was incredibly sea sick and about to vomit but I didn’t let that stop me from feeling philosophical lol]
January16th 2016 – Hanoi [killing time in Hoàn Kiếm, waiting to go to the airport]
I just got back from Sapa, a beautiful village lost in time in the middle of green, yellow mountains and rice terraces. I had an amazing time there. I spent a whole day walking through those mountains with two women of the Hmong tribe. At one point on the way down a big mountain, we stop for a minute and look at the panorama.
I almost broke up in tears when I realize what was in front of me. It was one of those moments where everything feels surreal and you start asking yourself weird questions like “Am I really here? ” “How?” “Do I deserve to be seeing this?” “Am I worthy of it?”. It was one of those moments when you realize how lucky you are to be standing right here, right now and witnessing such dazzling beauty! One of those moments when you truly understand and appreciate life & being alive so much you simply feel like crying.
And then all of a sudden it hits you: “I am so fucking grateful! Thank you Universe! Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!”
When the view is so beautiful it hurts all the bullshit disappears forever. You realize THIS is what matters. THIS in front of our eyes. THIS, surrounding you. These people standing next to me, I don’t really know them but they matter so much, we connected, purely, humanly. They are what’s important, , you, reading this, you are what’s important; We are all important, we are all the same…humans! Connecting to one another is what’s important.
When the highest form of beauty presents itself to you, when what your eyes are witnessing exceeds any expectation of your imagination, that’s when something inside of you switches…great, I’m fucked!
January 25th 2016 – Hoi An [bench in a temple]
I’m sitting in a temple in the heart of this ancient town by the water in central Vietnam. I’m so happy to spend the next few days in such a pretty place. It’s so peaceful here! Everything in Vietnam seems to make you feel calm…I wish I had a little more time here. I am not entirely sure I’m ready to go home…
I have enough good shots for the project , technically my job is done and I could take the next few days off and just enjoy Hoi An, but i feel like there’s so much more to capture, so many more stories to tell. There are so many strong women in this country. Lyn, the owner of the small hotel I’m staying at, is one of them. She is such a nice person, so kind and helpful and so damn genuine. She shines light and love from every angle. She used to work for a hotel and now she opened her own and manages it with her sister. They both work very hard and they are both so genuinely nice! I admire Lyn, she’s a dreamer, just like me.
[NOTE FROM THE FUTURE I regret so much not taking her and her sister’s picture! ]
I never felt this calm and serene in my life, i think I am starting to understand what’s changing in me… i think I’ve been looking at life all wrong for the last few years!
“Goodbye Vietnam. I don’t think I’m ready for this. I don’t want to say goodbye… I’m looking out the window, trying to frame everything eternally into my mind to bring it all back with me to NYC. The green rice paddies, the banana leaves, the smiles of the people, the old way to do things…My eyes are filled with memories and melancholy and my heart is drowning in bittersweet sadness. It’s always like that when leaving a place where good memories were created.
I will miss you, Vietnam! You stole my heart! I fell hard for you, I keep falling in love with places much more than I ever do with guys. It’s always so hard to go back to my regular life and the familiar streets and names and faces after a trip like this one.
How can one forget? How can one go back? not just home but to who he/she was before. Once you witness and experience certain levels of Beauty and human connection one can not go back. Once you find yourself looking at life from the top of a mountain, or the middle of the jungle you finally get the bigger picture…that no one knows shit! That all the bs like numbers, title and Hierarchies are nothing more than manmade nonsense. And that the clock is ticking and we don’t have much time left to start loving each other and save the Beauty the world gave us.
Thank you, Vietnam!
Thank you for changing me. Thank you for making me realize this quest matters more than breathing to me and thank you, with all my heart, for making me understand who I really want to be: a better person! “
SIDENOTE [ I cut out the part where i describe the 40 minutes of pure panic at the airport in Hanoi when I realized my hard drive containing ALL the shots taken on the trip was gone and i turned into a nazi caporal and started leading half the airport secuirity guards to get my hard drive back…but that’s another story for another time 😉 ]