I had the opportunity to work with Andrew a couple of times, we're in the process of putting a music video together, in the meantime, here are some photos of our latest shoot
I had the opportunity to work with Andrew a couple of times, we're in the process of putting a music video together, in the meantime, here are some photos of our latest shoot
Every time I leave the country, or simply step out my front door, I'm fascinated at the variety of faces that I see. Two years later and I'm wishing I spent more time in the moment to go back and get to really know the people that I photographed. Comment below and tell me a story that jumps out at you form these people, I'm truly curious as to what everyone's story is, someday I'll get around to completing my own
Now generally I like to say that I'm a photographer and in my spare time I'm a barista, but the reality is, I'm not full time at either of these. A good family friend put it best, while my 9-5 might dictate that I'm a barista, photographer, banker, UPS driver, etc. who I am is so much more. So in my spare time I pour a little coffee and take a few pictures. Here's a few from a competition I was in a couple months ago with my co workers up in LA.
As we wrap up the year 2014 I can look back on all that happened this year and think to myself but one thing…. ok, many things. I guess a theme you could say came up through this year is “2014, the year nothing went according to my plan, but everything went according to God’s master plan.” Let me explain by rewinding the clock a little bit… ok, maybe a lot
New years Eve 2011
Now you’ve all heard the story about my running goal in 2012, and if you haven’t, the short version is I resolved to run 10 miles every day in 2012 because I felt like I was letting my running slide to the back burner and eventually off the stove. In 2012 I ran 10 miles every day (including running 2 marathons) for a grand total of 3660+ miles (can’t remember the exact milage as I ran serval runs that were longer than the required 10) I will never forget this year as it changed a lot of things in my life. This was the year after I had graduated high school, so with the pressure from my parents to either get a job and start paying rent, or go to school I was very quickly nearing the end of my rope and needed to get my act together. During the time of my running I was trying like everyone else to find work, literally applying to every place I could, getting false hope, then back to pounding the pavement. Eventually I gave up and decided that I was just going to wing it and work little odd jobs to cover my monthly expenses (fairly minimal at the time as I only had a phone bill and gas to pay for) and focus on making it through the year in running. God had a different plan as just a month after I gave up looking for work, I causally walked into Kéan coffee (when I say casually, I made a point to only wear shorts, tshirt, and flip flops) after talking to the manager, buying some job applications from office depot I was a gainfully employed member of society.
Fastforward to 2013 (I know you’re probably thinking BRANDON GET TO THE POINT!! but there’s a reason for all this)
June 2013: At LAX getting ready to go to Vietnam with a team from my church, I was super excited as the last time I was out of the country I was equipped with a nice camera and practically no knowledge of how to take great pictures, this time armed with gear out the wazoo and an eye for a visual story to rival national geographic I was ready. God really changed my heart a lot on that trip, as I’ve seen over the years in Cambodia and the Dominican Republic He is working in ways beyond my comprehension. I came home from that trip with a passion to help share what is being done in the world, the only problem, I was here in the US and the world was out there. I’ll be honest, my social skills and networking abilities are lacking so the only thing I knew to do was just tell people how passionate I was about telling missionary’s stories. Meeting with mission’s board members at my church, missionaries home on furlow, Emailing missionaries, Emailing missions organizations. From the missionaries and friends I kept getting the same message “That’s a great idea! I’ll be praying for you!” every pro has a con, and the flipside of that was I kept getting the message “we really like your idea, but we tried it and it’s just to expensive to keep up” from the organizations.
to compound all this, the little seeds of doubt kept getting planted in my head “How are you going to support a family doing free work for missionaries?” “How are you even going to find a wife?” “How are you going to find a wife that is willing to not necessarily have a home base as you’ll be traveling a lot?” “You won’t have time for relationships if you’re always on the go” these were the little things that kept creeping into my head as I was beginning to think about doing this full time.
Me: ok mom, I bought my ticket to China, this is really happening
mom: …… ok, this is really happening
Determined to do something big and a bit radical, I bought a ticket to China (originally intended to buy a one way ticket, but that would have opened a whole other can of worms) with the intention of starting a travel blog to inspire people to step outside of their comfort zone every once and a while. The more people I told about the trip the more I had to build it up for them. In reality I just needed a change in scenery, but the list of “reasons” kept growing as people weren’t satisfied with me simply wanting to go to China. There was a legitimate reason for the trip though, I really wanted to prove (mainly to myself) that it wasn’t that expensive to go to another country, this was so I would have some evidence to help in persuading missions organizations to send me out to document their missionaries. I’d say the trip was a success, the blog didn’t exactly reach as far as I wanted it to, but hey, as I said at the beginning of this post, God has a plan. I learned a lot in China, especially when it comes to keeping a budget, total trip cost approx (i really should have tracked expenses better) $1500 for 5 weeks in China, including air fare, visa, food, and transportation while there (mainly cause I walked everywhere)
December 2013: home just in time for Christmas, no job on the horizon and I was set to actually put my everything into getting a photography business going (still not part of God’s plan) come January there was a special car show I was going to be attending and in an attempt to convince my dad I was ready to put my everything into this I sold my camera (sounds counterintuitive, but I was trying to convince him to help me purchase a new camera) with the car show slowly approaching and me camera less the pressure was on. Thankfully we ordered and it arrived literally the day before the show. Looking back, this is where it all went wrong. Foolishly I thought it was my lack of quality in my work that was keeping me from jobs, the truth was, I was just awful at business and selling my work (not much has changed, I’m just still paying off the camera)
2014, the year Nothing went according to my plan, but all according to God’s Master plan
at the beginning of the year I was headed down the path to trying to make a million dollars and be financially successful so I could travel and support the mission idea I had. Now I know most of you reading this are shaking your heads thinking “BRANDON! YOU”RE DOING IT ALL WRONG!” I hear ya loud and clear, unfortunately, it took me a year to figure it all out. Thankfully God could see my hopelessness and slowly started turning me around. About 6 months ago completely over my head in projects that were more stress and frustration than they were worth I decided that I really needed to be spending more time reading my bible and focusing on God. Getting a little business advice from one of the elders at my church he broke all the numbers down and showed me “Brandon, seriously, if all these numbers are right you’ve planned to work a 120hr work week… there’s not even enough hours in the week for that! Even working a 60 work week (which is stretching it) won’t allow you the time to spend on your soul.” Spinning in circles feeling completely out of control, head clouded with the hovering debt from my camera, business not succeeding, getting discouraged feeling that no one was supporting me, I was a wreck.
Enter Grace (you have no idea how long I’ve been waiting to use this Pun) both Literally (my girlfriend) and figuratively (as in God’s Grace)
I began talking with Grace in July (wow, crazy to think it’s been that long as the time and our relationship has grown so much) mainly picking her brain about stupid photography stuff. Eventually we moved onto other stuff like travel, our love for Cambodia, and other random stuff. Now I had thought in the back of my head “is she the one? she genuinely enjoy talking to me, and we have a lot in common.” A few months later, I was out at Speedway with my family, texting with Grace as usual when I mention I’m kinda focused on doing some photography and video work for missionaries…. “…” is what she replied with. I told her I would call her in the morning so we could talk further about this. Let me just preface the conversation with GOD IS AWESOME!! We talked in the morning, and individually of each other we came to the conclusion that we wanted to do something with missionaries and photography, using our talents to help further God’s kingdom and helping missionaries tell their stories…. WEIRD!! I had been praying for wisdom on pursuing a relationship with her shortly after we had started talking, but had no idea what God had in store for it. I feel like God has been trying to teach me to rely on him more and more over the past year, in the beginning it was simply for work and the small things, then it was for the bigger things. I know I’m not alone in feeling like a complete failure, but thankfully God will makeup for what I lack.
Now: On the road to doing missionary documentary work (more on that later), a compassionate, patient, loving, most importantly God honoring, beautiful Girlfriend, and a future ahead God is working a lot of wonderful things in my life right now, and I seriously want to tell everyone! God is lighting the fire in my heart, there are still a lot of things that I need to work on, but I trust in him that if I stay rooted in his word, preach the gospel to myself daily, focus on him, his plan is infinitely better than mine ever could be. It took me until I got to the end of this post to realize I can’t quite share the real big news just yet as I am in progress of waiting on God’s timing. Soon though, soon ^_^
looking forward to 2015 Focusing on what God has in store Praying for his wisdom in everything.
So social media, it's this thing that just a few years ago we were talking about the new fangled Facebook and this video site called YouTube, who knew what a tweet was, or why people were going crazy with instagraming food (still not sure what's up with that). The main thing is, social media is part of our daily lives now and whether we like it or not, it's impacting our decisions, purchases, and what we do with our days. I wanted to think that I was totally caught up with the whole social media craze, then I started to break it down, here's my quick take on social media. First let's go back to the roots of it all
Media: normally picture, video, and audio that is created by professionals for our entertainment pleasure
Social: our circle of friends and family (all be it ever growing to a global scale) mainly the people that we hang out with on a regular basis, or simply added cause they had an attractive profile pic at the time.
Putting it all together Social media: random pictures, video, audio, and stories created not by professionals who do this on a daily basis, but all your friends and family, from the embarrassing pic of you getting thrown into a pool at a graduation party, to your bath time baby pics, it's all there for eternity past, to eternity future.
Now to figure out all this social media and how to use it in a way to attract business, as a photographer/wanna be blogger, I really need to remember to post regularly, and put some nice photos in every once and a while.
Time to write out the plan of attack,
Posting daily to Instagram, Microblogging on tumblr Hashing out my thoughts on twitter Being the comedian of the bunch on Facebook
Think I got this all figured out ^_^
approx 3 months ago Location: Coffee shop
"why hello Brandon!! I'm glad you brought your resume in, we're looking for pre-trained people to help bring our CONSISTENCY and quality up."
Fast forward a bit:
hey yeah dude we're just looking for someone who can CONSISTENTLY produce sharp and clean pictures
CONSISTENCY, CONSISTENCY, CONSISTENCY
it seems that the one thing that people want most in the world is consistency, just short of having a machine do the work, there's not much that anyone can do to find someone to consistently do the same thing, work with the same effort, produce the same quality
it feels that consistency has been a huge theme in my life over the past few months. From the struggle to consistently read my bible, to the decision of finding consistent work. I feel that the thing people enjoy about consistency is the safe warm feeling you get from knowing that your paycheck is going to be coming in the mail every second friday, or you can walk into work on monday and be assured to have work. I've fallen into the trap of the normal 9-5, relaxing in the consistency of work knowing that I'll be getting paid every second friday and tips make it not so bad.
For most people this is totally fine, go to school, get a normal job, get married, have a few kids, fund a 401k and college fund. The thing that sets me apart is I really want to do things differently, kinda make things challenging. I find that following the path that everyone else has already walked down is just too easy (not to say school is a cake walk, but lets be honest, if you work hard, you get get any degree program completed) resulting in a decent job where you make a few hundred thousand dollars each year, and live the typical American dream.
I quote this because I think that it totally encompasses the mind flow of an entrepreneur.
"we work 80 hours each week, so that we don't HAVE to work 40 hours each week"
starting a business and doing the things that you're passionate about will result in a ridiculous amount of work that over time will pay off, you can eventually be doing exactly what it is you want and get paid for it
I have a tendency to wander in my thoughts, so to bring it all back to the real message I wanted to convey in this quick blog post. In this life I feel that consistency is something that hasn't really been there (aside from God and my immediate family) I can tell you that I have been through about 10 phases of my life, cycling through friends every few years, spending time in different places. Through all my life, in all the inconsistency, God has always been there, even when I've not been following as closely as I should, he will be there.
moral of the story, when people in your life are inconsistent, God is CONSISTENT
So it's been about 4 months since I was in China, and a lot has happened during that time the most enlightening part, reality check.
I've only really ever been a runner or triathlete (endurance sports) so I'll just equate what's happened in those terms.
when you wake up that first morning and decide "I think I want to start running" that's a great thought, but it's the perseverance and continuing to train that actually turns you into a runner. As training turns into a weekly routine, you need to challenge yourself, make things a little difficult so you can grow. If your goal is to run a marathon or a 5K then at the end of all your training is the final test, race day. On race day there are several other variables that get added to the equation, stress, adrenaline, these throw all of your carefully detailed plans out the window. Because of excitement most people run too fast at the beginning of a race and eventually hit the dreaded "wall". Eventually you finish the race and run, tears streaming, into your parent's arms as they celebrate their achievement.
This seems like the generic "butterflies and daises" everything works out well in the end. Here's where we get to the title of this post, the reasoning why this is the blog post you never want to write, talking about the hardships, and the realities of what I'm trying to do
rewind to China, there's a few things that I don't believe I really touched on or explained. 1. It was freezing in China, I always talk about doing photography for the love of it, and I know there are probably photographers that have traveled to much worse situations, but one thing that makes my trip unique. I only brought one pair of clothes, I expected cold weather, but what I felt there was something completely different. seeing as I didn't bring a bike and my budget was limited, so I could only take a few taxis, I walked everywhere (averaging about 15 miles each day) even though walking was my only mode of transport, some days it simply wasn't an option because it was so cold that my feet were killing me (I only wore Vibram five finger shoes, for my next trip I'm definitely getting the snow version of them, and some socks)
2. budgeting appropriately. With everything being so cheap over there and it taking a while to get the conversion rate down, it was difficult for me to budget accurately, and I also had a hard time turning down my friends when they wanted to eat at "expensive restaurants". sidenote: I put expensive in quotes because with my budget of approx $9 per day for food, even reasonably prices places at $5 a meal took up most of my daily budget for food.
3. Chinese people, now that I've had time to calm down and look back and reflect I realize part of my frustration was due to my lack of communication with the locals, and the challenge that came with trying to learn Chinese. Most of my problems could have been solved if I simply put more time into practicing learning my Chinese and expanding my vocabulary to be able to hold a conversation.
4. stuff happens. with a week to go in my trip, I had to make a trip to shanghai to take the train to Hangzhou because the train from Chengdu to Hangzhou was a 38 hour train ride that cost $180. a flight to Shanghai, night at a friend's apartment, and a high speed train ticket totaled $250 and only took a total of 4 hours travel time, and an extra day to explore Shanghai. I was really excited because I was told about this 6 story camera store that basically has everything. I walked around there for about 3 hours looking at all the cool cameras, lenses, tripods, etc. I was in the market for a tripod as I didn't own one and would like to have one to expand my photography (I was borrowing a tripod from a friend for this trip) I must have walked into at least 25 shops looking for a solid (chinese knockoff) tripod that I could afford for relatively cheap. I found several that were an amazing deal, but were still out of my current budget. One of the shops I was in had some tripods that looked solid, and were a good deal, but when I went to test and see if the quick release plate on the ballhead matched the plate I already had on my camera the lady at the store grabbed at my camera to tell/show me that it wouldn't fit, this knocked the camera out of my hand, falling from about 6' onto tile, bouncing off her ankle before crashing into the floor... I was stunned, I quickly picked up the camera, turned it on to make sure it worked, clipped it back onto my strap and left the shop. Not thinking much of it I got on the train headed to Hangzhou, where I would be for the next 10 days. Upon arriving in Hangzhou in the late afternoon, I was looking around for a hostel. I pulled my camera out of my backpack to take some pictures, that's when I found out that the image stabilization/focus on my lens were broken, the frame through my viewfinder wobbled around when i hit the focus button... so I arrived in the place that is described to have "some of the most beautiful landscape in China, and my main workhorse zoom lens, broken. Upon returning to Shanghai, preparing to go home, I stopped by the store, I realized having come back a week later my chances were slim to none that they would fix anything but it was worth a shot. After about 20 mins of arguing, she yelling in chinese, me trying to explain that I didn't understand Chinese, and to type what she needs to say into my translator a really nice American born Chinese man walks in an offered to help translate for me and help me out. Eventually things got fixed (the day before I returned home)
I've been bouncing from job to job, doing whatever work comes my way. For an extended period that meant working in an office, sitting at a desk for 8 hours each day, watching time and opportunities tick by. I can now understand what school debt is like, the cool part about it is I didn't have to spend 4 years in school and come out with several hundred thousands of dollars of debt, significantly less than that, but still a lot considering my job situation it's a lot.
all this in mind I realize that there was a bigger plan behind what I really wanted to do with mission possible, in the beginning it was a reason to force me out of my shell and go actually talk to people in the world. I'm going to write up the big picture behind what I really would like to do over the next couple days
until next time Brandon Goodyear
As I've come to find, writing and maintaining a blog is a lot of work, especially when I'm in progress of starting new ventures (the blog being one of them, but still only a small portion of it). After watching the stats there's only a small amount of people actually viewing the blog, so to save a bit of my sanity, I want to hear from you the readers about what to write about next. I'm also going to be making the posts a tad bit shorter as to keep them a bit more consistant on posting (my last post took 3 days of typing it up, working it in to my schedule) so, comment below on this post (or on the facebook page) what you want to hear about next
Xi'an (terra cotta soldiers, Bell tower, Water show, Drum Tower, Muslim Street)
Hangzhou (10 days of beautiful landscape, west lake, mountian hikes)
Travels (experiences on trains, planes, and taxis)
Food (steamed buns and soup)
Having only been in Beijing for not even a day I was set to go to the great wall with no idea of how to get there or what to expect. Enter Ruth and Codie, two English girls that were in my room at the hostel. I didn't get to meet them the first night as I was asleep when they got back to the room. As I was getting ready in the morning I asked if they had any plans for breakfast, and if I could tag along. On our way down to the cafe downstairs I got a message from Mike with the plans for the day. He was still waking up and getting ready so we were set to meet in about an hour and a half from then. Perfect, I had plenty of time to eat breakfast and meet Mike at the subway stop. while waiting for breakfast I found out that the English girls were going to the Great wall as well, and they actually had a plan, at this point I figured we could meet up with Mike and all head up there together. This is when Mike messaged me again and said he was heading out to the subway. I immediately tried to respond and tell him that I wasn't able to make it right now, I was still waiting for my food!! (I wasn't even gonna consider hiking the wall on an empty stomach) Before I could respond (basically right after he sent the message) he left so I had no way of communicating with him. Breakfast was expensive so I wasn't going to just leave it (or the English girls who actually knew how to get to the great wall) Risking not being able to find Mike I waited for breakfast and headed out with the girls at the time we had originally agreed on. When we got to the subway stop that the buses were at I quickly looked around, Mike was nowhere to be found. I realized that this totally messed up the plans for the day, but I couldn't do anything about the communication issue. sidenote: it turned out that Mike actually got to the subway station 20 mins after I got there, thus leaving late even for our original meeting time... oh well, thankfully everything worked out. Looking for the bus we were supposed to take to the wall we were told that we were going to take the slow bus and to take this other bus that a nice looking lady told us to take (keyword "looking") mistake #2 actually taking that bus... turns out that this is one of the biggest scams in China, ended up taking the wrong bus to a city that was about 15-20 miles from the city we needed to go to. This was when the English girls lost it, they had been scammed so many times on their trip and this one just pushed them over the edge. So we're in a city that we have no idea where we are, about 45 mins from the great wall, they were walking in circles muttering to themselves about how they didn't like getting scammed. Seeing as we had to play with the hand we were dealt, I opened my map so I could figure out where we needed to go and start negotiating for a taxi. Turns out, we were closer to almost and hour away from the great wall, but because there were 3 of us, we were able to split a taxi for $5 each (kinda outrageous, considering the bus was only $2 for twice the distance) but we had to get to the wall regardless of cost. Finally on our way to the wall, things were finally going good. To add icing to the cake, as soon as we got to the wall and were walking up to purchase our tickets to enter, who would show up, but Mike! he took the right bus (got off a couple stops early, but still got there quicker than we did) After buying tickets we headed to the lift to ride to the top of the wall. This was a funny sight to see because we thought we bought tickets for the enclosed gondola when we actually got tickets for the lift ticket which was like a ski lift to the top (lets be honest, it was a pretty sketchy lift too). Once again the girls flipped when they saw what we were going to be taking to the top of the wall. It took them two lifts before the actually got on one. I had to laugh just a little, only to keep my mind off of the fact I was dangling 200 feet above the ground with only a sketchy lift carrying me up towards the wall. I'm deathly afraid of heights... yeah, it took every ounce of strength (and a lot of prayer) to keep calm on my way up. Safely back on solid ground we started walking to hike the small portion of the wall we were at. I had no idea that the wall was as steep. At some sections it was just like climbing the stairs at Angkor Wat, just like the temple, there weren't very good hand rails. After an exhausting hike to the end of the wall (end of the portion we could see, the wall was only partially rebuilt as a result hiking the rest of the wall requires climbing gear and preparation for several days on the wall. After taking in the scenery for a few mins we started walking back to take the bobsled back down to the entrance. It was quite a fun way to return to the enterance gate at the bottom of the wall. About half way down Mike flipped his sled over, as well as losing his hat in the wind. The hat got recovered and returned by someone riding behind him. We got to take pics with the dressed up "soldiers" grabbed some food (I hate to admit we got subway because it was the only restaurant there). To end the day we caught our taxi to the right bus, and got safely back in town. At this point the English girls decided to head back tot he hostel to get dressed for a night out on the town. Mike and I headed to a coffee shop where John was hanging out. After a decent subway ride and walking around the area for a while (it was quite a challenge to find the shop) we eventually landed at the bookworm coffee shop. From there we went to a fancy restaurant so Mike could try duck. Successful day seeing the Great wall, eating some duck, and enjoying Beijing.
Bullet train to Beijing, what an experience! My first solo "flight" of the trip, the 5 hour ride from Shanghai to Beijing on (though I didn't know it at the time) the fastest train in the world. I knew that my trip was going to be longer than the flight, but I was willing to wake up super early to get to Beijing before Mike and John. My train ride had an exciting start as I lost my ticket immediately after boarding the train. I didn't realize this though because I was focused on getting food (I skipped breakfast to make the super early train to beat them to Beijing). Funny thing is I still missed the 7AM train due to rush hour traffic on the subway. To make things better, I missed the 7:30, 7:45, and 8:00, trains. This was due to my not knowing which ticket window to go to or where to actually buy a ticket. Once I bought my ticket (about 20 mins before my departure time) I had to figure out where in the world I had to go to board the train. With my luck the boarding gate was on the other side of the station, down stairs and across another platform. With ten mins to spare I made it on the train. Skipping breakfast might not have been the best choice in the world, but since I got on the train pretty early I grabbed a seat in the dining car. Breakfast was an instant train food, but I was welcome to eat whatever I had in front of me. Focusing on food I wasn't thinking at all about the fact that I would need my ticket again. Sure enough, 10 mins into the train ride the stewardess came around collecting tickets to scan them. I frantically looked for my ticket and realized that it was gone, like no idea where it could be, possibly left in the gate gone. Thankfully I made friends with the guy sitting across from me and he was able to translate my issue to the stewardess. She continued to come around and check to see if we made any progress on finding the ticket, eventually they accepted that it was gone and simply told me that I'm fine for now, but leaving the station will be an issue. With this in mind I was starting to stress a bit, but there was really nothing I could do about it so it was just time to relax and figure it all out when I got there. Approximately half way through my ride I got message from John it read "we missed our plane by 3 mins, but don't worry about it, we'll figure it out, you'll just be on your own for a little while." So that happened, I was on a train by myself, going to a place that I had never been to, and my only point of reference that I have is an app that shows me a map of the subway system. I wasn't too scared, I mean it was Beijing, the Olympic city, Capitol of China, it couldn't be that scary. So the train came to it's usual controlled stop (I'm really impressed with how smoothly the train accelerates and slows down, you barely know you're moving or stopping). So the train is coming into the station and my ticket issue is brought to the forefront of my mind, at this point I remember that I had taken a picture of my ticket to send to a friend, hopefully this will get me through the gate. Seeing as getting my bag (40lb backpack) situated to get off the train took a while I picked it up off the floor to start getting it strapped on. Take a shot in the dark as to what was under my backpack? My train ticket... Of all the places I looked didn't think to move my backpack to look under my seat. I exited the station with no problems and was set loose in the Beijing train station. At this point I realized the only thing that made me feel good was that there was a starbucks there (free wifi) and the station looked just like the one in Shanghai. I decided to just take the subway to Tienanmen square because it was in the center of the city (I figured being in the center of the city meant that I would theoretically be closer to more things). Tourist tip for visiting Beijing: don't take the subway to Tienanmen square on the day you arrive in Beijing, go to your hostel, rest, then if you're up to go tour the square, go tour the square. It was very underwhelming to be tired, cold, ready to crash, and I just "stumbled upon" Tienanmen Square, it makes something that is a huge tourist area and large historical place seem like a place that you just get to hang out at downtown. After wandering around Beijing for about 10 mins I bought a beanie, it was freezing!! Continuing to wander for another couple hours I realized I had to find a hostel soon as the sun was starting to set and I didn't want to wander the streets of Beijing at night. I found a hostel a few subway stops away from where I was at. Thankfully this hostel was super clean with a nice comfortable facility. This broke my nervousness about staying in a hostel.
with a nice home base I headed back out to explore the area around my hostel. I had a long day ahead of me as I was going to the great wall the next day. More on that in my next post =)
My first full day in Shanghai was pretty eventful. It started out with breakfast at the hotel (kinda wanted to wander the streets, but hey, not gonna pass up free food). Breakfast finished we flagged down the most reasonable taxi we could find to go to the expo center for the competition (sidenote: a little bummed, I missed the first day of the competition which of course was the latte art day :( still got to see some pretty cool art) I've seen some pretty crazy driving in my day (Cambodia, Vietnam, downtown LA, ;) The taxi experience in Shanghai was nothing like I have ever seen. The drivers are pretty fast, don't use their blinkers, and if there is a line of cars waiting for a light, they'll pull up next to them (splitting lanes) and stick their nose in front of them to cut back in. After the eventful taxi ride we had to walk all the way across the expo center (about the size of 10 football fields? it's pretty big) we had to walk through several show halls (wine center, food, industrial equipment just to name a few) Eventually we got to the hall with the Ultimate Barista Challenge, all the way in the back next to the VIP lounge (conveniently I had a VIP badge, though I never tried to go into the lounge, too busy) Day one in the can (almost literally, I really wanted to shoot film this trip, just a bit too expensive) we got to spend a little bit of time back at the hotel resting before heading out for the night. Turns out one of Mike's old time friends lives in Shanghai and wanted to hang out for a night on the town. I tagged along, what I didn't expect was the most expensive meal of my entire life (ok, in reality it was only $10, but when your budget only allows for $2 that's like almost 2 days worth of food!!) I will be honest though, that was a pretty good burrito, yes I said burrito, she was a stereotypical expat "surviving the streets of China" while making ridiculous amounts of money. Crazy night on the town behind us I decided to wake up really early and meet my China connection (a friend from Kéan back at home) by his apartment he was staying at (pretty much in the center of Shanghai) All this would have been great except for two things 1: my lack of coffee (going from about 1-2 large premium coffes a day to nothing) 2: lack of food (for a food festival there wasn't a ton of samples that I could piece together for a decent meal)
so waking up at 7AM with a little bit of energy I decided to follow his directions (which as soon as I left the hotel wifi I had no way of contacting him) to this coffee shop in the middle of downtown Shanghai (the only map I had was a map of the subway routes and the address to the place I was going). I totally forgot that I was taking the subway at rush hour, though this was only a minor problem because it meant that I had only to follow the million other people that crowded the walkways of the subway to find my next transfer station. I cannot tell you how grateful I am for the subway system in Shanghai and Beijing, I could literally walk until I got lost somewhere in the middle of nowhere on the other side of the city, find a subway station, and about 25-30 mins later (depending on traffic) be back in the part of town I recognized. This time however was my first time navigating the subway system, thankfully with my map of the routes it was extremely easy. Navigating the subway is the easiest thing in the world, understanding where to go after that was harder than solving a rubik's cube. I got off and walked around the block a few times asking people how to get to the address I had (I didn't have a map at the time) eventually after taking the REALLY long way around I eventually got there, logged on to the wifi, and messaged him that I was there. I got a coffee and a croissant to help with my skipping of breakfast before we headed out in search of the famous Shanghai Apple store (when it was built it was the largest structural glass building in the world) from the map we had we found "an apple store" (There are 3 in Shanghai) but not the one I really wanted to see. Conveniently it was only 3 subway stops away, just a convenient it was right across the street from the pearl of the orient TV tower (normally seen from Nanjing road along the Pudong skyline, Google it, it's pretty cool, I'd show a picture, but it was very smoggy and overcast the day I got to see it, so my picture doesn't really do it justice. Small sightseeing trip aside, we headed back to the expo center to watch the last day of competition (the alcoholic coffee beverage). The competition seemed to be running a bit slow because the judging had to be translated (English to Chinese, and Chinese to English). Funny thing is one of the judges was Russian, so the best translation line was Russian to English to Chinese, then back for the response from the barista to the judge. Mike got to compete 3 times that day, first against the ultimate barista from Russia, then got to compete against the Chinese challenger. Mike won all of the competitions (pretty cool knowing the world champion barista works at the coffee shop I worked at. The funny thing about the food festival is as soon as the clock hit 4PM take down of the exhibits began, and by 5PM there was a surprising amount of the show was totally broken down. The baristas were working on cleaning up the area and breaking down all their equipment. I was going to help move stuff around, but by this time in the day I was completely drained and a little nauseous from dehydration. It didn't help anything that all I had to eat that day was the croissant at the coffee shop and a small lunch a couple hours earlier. At this point I realized I desperately needed water, and surprisingly for a food show, it was quite a challenge to find a simple bottle of water. Eventually I was able to get at least a cup of ice, then remembered that Mike had a five gallon jug of water for the competition. Drained, not feeling good, barely able to move, I sat down with the jug of water and started sipping on it. Shortly after drinking a bit of water I really felt like I had to vomit, so I got up, and started walking to the bathroom (which was on the other side of the expo center, imagine crossing to another terminal in an airport) It was really hard to keep it all in, thankfully I made it past all the exhibits (the show didn't take up the entire room, so there was a large part that was empty) but I didn't make it that much past it, lost all my lunch and the water I had drunk in the past couple mins. At least I felt much better, but I had no food in me and I now had to wash my shoes and my pants (didn't get all over it, just the around my feet). Thankfully we were taking a taxi back to the hotel (the closest subway stop was still almost a mile from the hotel) and I was not in shape to walk. I got back to the hotel, showered, washed my shoes and pants, and crashed for the night (around 8). I bought 3 liters of water at the convenience store across the street to start rehydrating so I can function for the rest of my trip.
Something that I have to start my story of my journey off with is, I have never flown alone, or spent any amount of time out traveling alone. So when I say this is a new experience and out of my comfort zone, I really mean it, I was terrified before leaving for this trip. I'm a details person, I prefer to shoot with telephoto lenses, I really struggle with seeing the big picture sometimes. That being said, the beginning of my trip will seem like a lot of random notes, but that's all I really had to work with because the real awesome stories didn't come until I had boots on the ground and were walking all around China. I knew the trip was going to be good simply because the lady helping me get checked in to my flight was a nice Cambodian lady (I really love Cambodia and the people are very nice) when she was looking through my passport to check my visa she noticed my Cambodian visa (from my trip over the summer) I was able to whip out my limited Cambodian and say "Hi how are you?" this got a laugh. Checked in, got to say good bye to my family and head for the security check line. I gotta say, I really liked how quickly I was able to get through security checks and to the terminal I was going to be at. That being said, once I got to the terminal I realized that's about where the end of the benefits to traveling alone end, you get through lines quickly, but you also have no one to hang out with or talk to once you get there. Enter "the blog from beyond your comfort zone" this is the moment where I realized that talking to complete strangers is exactly why I was going to China. I can't remember the guy's name, but I met a graphic designer who was headed to florida to see his sister. Just a short hour or so later I was getting on the plane, again, getting on the plane getting situated totally awesome cept for the point when the nice looking English speaking middle aged Chinese man asks if you could switch seats with a friend... I kinda booked the window seat for a reason, and you're asking me to switch to a middle seat?? The end result wasn't much better as he switched seats, so instead of someone that I could actually hold a conversation with, I got stuck next to an older Chinese lady who didn't speak any English. Granted she did help by waking me up so I could get my food (more on that, American Airlines is losing points in there customer treatment). Thankfully I booked a window seat on the side of the plane that only had two seats on the side, so I only had to climb over one person if I needed to get up and walk around.
The flight, it was long (13 hours) I'm used to long flights going to Cambodia, but there were a couple things that made this a bit different. Normally we fly EVA air to Cambodia (by far the best airline I've flown to date) the cheap flight I found to China was on American, I figured "what's the worst that could happen" didn't expect what I got. The food was, well, airline food, cept not quite the quality I was used to. The service, lets just say the delivery of food to pickup of the tray was about 2.5 minutes. I was barely starting on my meal by the time they were coming around to collect the trays. So I got to enjoy sitting there with my try for about an hour before I got up and brought it to the back on my way to the restroom. first world problem warning: the in flight entertainment was kinda lame, the movies were on a time schedule (like going to a theater) so I ended up not watching movies there, thankfully I had some on my tablet. Ok Airline rant over, my head felt like it was going to explode when we were coming in for a landing (eyes watering, nose running, ears ringing) I kinda looked like a mess and really wanted to take a shower (haha, shower, yeah...)
So, Culture shock, the thing that most people experience when they travel to a new country. I had a severe case of it when I got to Cambodia, because it was super hot, the people spoke a different language. When I arrived in China, I got off the plane, almost immediately met with a friend I had seen just hours earlier in California. To cap it all off, the weather wasn't much different from what I had experienced back at home (kinda chilly, but nothing to different). Basically when I arrived the culture shock that I was expecting just wasn't there. That said, culture shock came about a week later when I got to really experience the culture. My first few hours in China were pretty cool but not filled with too much exploring because it was 9PM, so we headed over to find the hotel that Mike (manager from Kéan, competing in the Ultimate Barista Challenge Shanghai) was staying at. To get there we took the Maglev train (4th fastest train in the world) unfortunately is was running at half speed, so it was only going a measly 185mph... =D (btw, fun fact I didn't know until literally right now as I was researching the fastest trains in the world, the train I took from Shanghai to Hangzhou technically is the fastest train in the world, I believe it tops out at 305mph, like the maglev I don't think it was at top speed, but it was still going pretty fast) After the Maglev we took the subway the rest of the way to the hotel. After dropping my stuff off we went out to grab some food I was hungry and they hadn't had dinner either. First meal in China, hotpot from a hole in the wall street restaurant, it was kinda spicey, but there was meat, some lettuce, meatballs (think Phó steak in hotdog in meatball form). After dinner we went back to the hotel and crashed as we had to be up relatively early for the competition the next day. Culture shock (I have a tendency to have very scattered thoughts no matter how much I write things down) the main culture shock that I got upon arriving in China is that there is a lot more money in China than anyone realizes. While they have their fare share of middle class and poor people, there are a surprising amount of very wealthy people. For example (this was a peeve of mine) the majority of Chinese people all had really expensive cell phones (like the latest iPhone, galaxy note, or other chinese Android phone) I didn't mind the phones as much, people have phones, that's how the world operates, the thing that really got to me was that the majority of chinese tourists were walking around with $10k+ of camera gear around their necks (WHAT!!!!?!?!?!?!) now if they actually looked like they knew what they were doing with it that would be fine, but they were typical tourists!!! OI!!!!! yeah... anyways the thing that was a huge shock for me was that out of any given hand full of people on the street, most of them probably made more money than your average American (hence why they were out walking on the street and not working in a factory) So culture shock of China #1: They probably have more money than you do
Tomorrow I'll be going over the competition and the experience I had running around a trade show room floor
TTFN, Ta Ta for now ^_^
P.S. the featured pic for this post was our ghetto pour over solution we had to make coffee at the hotel
Now before you start freaking out about what does crash landing mean!!!?!??! Everything is totally fine, I just miscalculated my expenses for the trip, so instead of having 6 months worth of resources, I really only had 1 months worth. The reason everything is totally fine is I bought a round trip ticket, so even though I'm close to running out of money (have enough to last this last week) I have a return flight already waiting for me on December 17th.
With all that clarified the thing I wanted to talk about today is the other side of the journey that you doing normally hear about in the mission recap. While traveling is fun, and there are a lot of great things about it, it's not all butterflies and daisies.
First, as I referenced in the beginning of the post, always budget your trip, running out of money sucks (it also tests money saving skills). Second, not everyone you meet on the street is a kind helpful person, I've had my fair share of meeting the not so helpful people. Third, the things that seem like fun in the beginning (only bringing one pair of clothes/shoes) turn into bigger problems when it gets really cold and you have nowhere to wash your clothes (only problem with not having a private room)
These are the universal things that you can experience pretty much anywhere, but there are a few things that I didn't prepare for that became a bigger issue on this trip. VPN (virtual private network) the great firewall of China is a real thing, and you don't have access to setup a VPN while you're there. What this means for you all is posting to the blog is much more challenging and can only be done from my tablet (which doesn't have my pictures). Thing to consider for next trip, make sure I can post (though in my defense when I checked from home WordPress was in the clear). Camera, now my camera still works (kinda) when I was looking at a tripod, testing to see if my quick release place would work on it, instead of simply motioning and telling me it wouldn't work, the lady at the store grabbed at the tripod causing my camera to fall about 6' onto tile... Camera is fine (aside from the fact that it is really dirty, old, and well used) the lens on the other hand the image stabilization is broken, and there are issues with the aperture. It kinda bums me out because that was my main lens that I had used for the majority of the trip.
Well, I'll be home in a week just wanted to give an update on where I'm at, (I know this one makes the trip sound like a drag, once you see the pics you'll see, it's really a blast)
Not sure if I'll post before I get home, if not, c ya when i'm back on the mainland Brandon Goodyear
I'm gonna start off this post by asking a simple question When you turn in your shower in the morning do you wonder if the water will get hot? Also after your shower do you simply walk into the kitchen and put on the kettle for some coffee or tea?
The reason that I start with that is the past couple days have been interesting for a few reasons
1. Due to budgeting I've had to ditch my adventurous outlook on food for the reliable cheap steamed buns that I can get pretty much anywhere (approx $2 for a meals worth)
2. My shoes stink, like smells worse than stinky tofu (which is pretty horrid) and I can't seem to find any that are in budget and look comfortable enough to be considered for purchasing. (Also can't find any pants that look nice since I haven't washed mine since week two... Yeah, they sink too)
3. I wasn't feeling well after drinking some milk tea last night (lactose intolerant) and the one time I really needed to take a hot shower there was no not water in the hostel (I also was trying to wash my shoes)
4. So washing my shoes in not quite warm water, they're better, but I had to wait until around 2PM before they were dry enough to wear (still pretty damp, had to dry out with my towel a bit)
I will say I am thankful (though not always available) for the hot showers, the always available hot water for tea. Hostels have been really comfortable and (though not as much at the recent hostels) I've had the opportunity to meet a lot of really cool people.
There's a little cafe next to my hostel that has really good Wi-Fi (really good... Basically things actually load in this lifetime) and it's warm with comfortable seats.
Well, I've got 10 days left in this journey, many more pictures and stories to tell when I get back to faster unfiltered internet
Until next time Brandon Goodyear
Well, I accidentally checked out of my hostel in Xi'an a day early... Eh that's OK though, most of the really cool things in Xi'an require a relatively long bus ride out of the inner city, so I saw a majority of the sites within just 3 days. The main highlights of my stay in Xi'an are getting to meet two French guys. One was at the hostel I was staying at, he was a little scruffy, looked well travelled. Turns out he rode his bike from Germany, through Russia, across China, he was headed to Beijing when I left the hostel. We connected because he saw me working on my pictures and was interested in my work. The second guy I met happened to be visiting the Xi'an city wall, he saw me setting up my tripod, and he said he was a shanghai based photographer who happened to be in Xi'an on assignment. He was photographing a student in a study abroad program. I got to hang out with him, get dinner etc. Talk photography, he does a lot of commercial photography and hotel architecture, he said he enjoys photographing hotels because sometimes he gets to stay in some amazing suites. And his name is Raphael... French photographer, named Raphael, this was definitely like something out of a movie.
The main thing I tried to do in Xi'an is walk around and see what the city has to offer. Generally when I walk around a city I look not only for cool stuff, but I try to familiarize myself with the area so I can get around without having to rely to heavily on my map. Xi'an is a small enough place that I was able to figure out where I was going pretty quickly. This was beneficial because I was only there for four days. I was happy to find there was a market street (like a more traditional market like what I'd find in Cambodia). I walked around and got to see the over abundance of stuff, from touristy I <3 China t-shirts, to the unapologetically knocked off ray bans, beats by Dr. dre, to the little trinkets and jade statutes. Normally I like to walk through just to get the experience, but seeing as I have spent enough time in the markets in Cambodia /Vietnam, and the fact that I was actually looking for something, I didn't have the same perspective as a tourist looking for a trinket or a novelty knock off item. I was able to find the backpack I was looking for (mainly to off load stuff from my camera bag, so I could walk around town without lugging around 40lbs of gear) this backpack and messenger bag are perfect, when I want to take my camera, tripod, couple extra batteries/lenses the messenger bag is the perfect size, the backpack is super small and holds my computer perfectly yet expands to hold a weeks worth of clothes. Super happy about my find, really bummed I didn't have more room to pick up one of the many nice (old and well used) film cameras in the market.
I'm a little tired from my wild adventure this morning from arriving in Chengdu trying to find my way to a hostel, more to come on that later ^_^
Until another short story comes to mind Brandon Goodyear
Before I left for this trip I went through several stages of nervousness preparing for the trip. 1: before I purchased the ticket. I just got back from an awesome trip in Vietnam, Cambodia I can totally do this travel the world on my own (mainly because groups seem to travel really slow and you have to deal with communicating plans to people)
2: right after I purchased the ticket, super excited that it actually was happening things were falling into place
3: total panic... !!!!!! AAAAAAHHHHHH just realized the scope of what I wanted to do/reality of it all
4: gear... I had to realize that I was OK bringing the camera setup I have, and I needed to enjoy the trip, take the best pictures possible with what I have, and eventually I will be able to purchase new gear in the future (totally kicking myself now, because my camera bag is waaaaaayyy to big and bulky, but necessary)
5: money, feeling confident that I'm gonna have a ton extra saved up (saved my butt because if I had what I expected to have, I would run out after the money in my pocket runs out)
That's all in the past, but important to know I can sound super confident on the outside, but there is much more going on inside in my head. So onto now. I've been here a little over two weeks, I flew here alone, I took the train from Shanghai to Beijing alone, train from Beijing to Xi'an alone. Despite me traveling alone, I was able to meet a friend both in Shanghai and Beijing, and on both trains I got to know the person I sat with and they helped me out. The guy on the bullet train from Shanghai to Beijing helped when I lost my ticket shortly after boarding the train before the ticket check. On this last ride from Beijing to Xi'an the guy in my cabin helped by showing which stop I was supposed to get off at so I didn't end up in the real middle of nowhere with no way of getting back :p
As for exploring the city, at the hostel in Beijing I met two English girls who were headed to the great wall the same day I was going and they knew which bus to take (funny story about our travels to the wall, more detailed post when I get home and can type on a real keyboard) the next day I was relaxing in the coffee shop/bar downstairs at the hostel working on pictures from the wall, and the rest of the trip that I hadn't gotten to. That's when I met Douglas and Ju they were headed to the forbidden city, so I got to hang out with them for a day.
All these little anecdotes will all be more detailed when I get home and can type out the notes in my notebooks
Anyways, in about to head out and get some night shots of the bell tower and drum tower in Xi'an thanks to my new roommate who knows the city (he's a local)
Thankfully my hostel has some decent Wi-Fi, so I'll try and post again tomorrow night if I'm not to tired
I have now been in China for about two weeks (if I bothered to count the days I could give a more accurate time frame, but it's been a while and that's all that is important) thus far into the trip I can say I really am a countryside person, if I was a bit more prepared for cold weather I would prefer to spend more time out in a hut in the mountains because the scenery is much nicer and it would provide a much better experience spending time with more traditional Chinese people living off the land, enjoying tea and the things you think of when you hear Chinese. To contrast, the thing that I have noticed about the people in both Beijing and Shanghai is they are always busy. One thing that we don't realize in America is Chinese people work about 10 times harder than most people in the US that is why even though China is still rebuilding itself, it went from nothing to one of the top five most powerful countries in a span of 30 years. What this means for me, a traveling "tourist" is everywhere I go in always in a rush of people heading off to work. It makes me realize I need to figure out how I'm going to make money from here on out (that's for another time, I need to enjoy the country)
This is just a personal thing that if you think about it is less personal and more just how people think but here's my spin on it. As a creative person I'm always looking for something that I can photograph to create a need piece of art or something that people will enjoy. If you mix this with the tourist mentality of needing to see anything and everything you get a restless trip where I'm staying up until 1am every night, trying to wake up at 7am to enjoy the early morning city, realistically getting up around 9, next thing I know it's lunch time, and I haven't even had breakfast. I didn't realize how long it takes to tour places until I actually went to look at places like the art district, to really enjoy these places you can't see several things in one day. This serves a problem because now it takes weeks to really explore and see a city instead of days. I know I have weeks (well only 3, but whatever) I still want to see a much as I can while I'm here, then plan out my next trips (hopefully somewhere it's a little warmer).
I know this post is titled the elevator pitch for Beijing so here's a little bit about Beijing. I really like it, mainly because even though it's a city with all the fancy skyscrapers, and it's kinda a tourist trap, the only place I see at ton of white people at is the hostel where I'm staying. Surprisingly there are not as many tourists here as I expected for the capitol of China, the main place people come to to see the biggest attractions(the Great Wall, Tian'anmen square, the forbidden city, etc.) Probably because it's winter, so it's freezing and make it a bit to actually spend any extended period of time out and about without full on snowboarding gear. Anyways, there aren't a ton of tourists and expatriates which is nice because it means that I get to spend time amongst more Chinese people, the only problem is, they don't speak English period, and since I don't speak Chinese, communication is a bit difficult. If I wasn't on the go as much and could settle down in a city for like a few months I'd spend more time practicing my Chinese, at the moment it's a challenge to spend enough time practicing, as well as getting out to actually see the city around me, as well as having time to keep you all up to date on my travels.
Well I've spent the last few hours at a coffee shop by some universities (one is like the Harvard of China) working on this blog post. I'm headed out to grab some food, check out the university, then head back to the hostel, pack up my stuff, then I'm catching the train to Xi'an hopefully I'll find a cheap hostel there
Step one: Plan out your trip ahead of time, make sure that you pick a place that you can post daily from. Enter Brandon Goodyear, Noob travel blogger
first place of Exploration: China
#1 country with the most internet restrictions: China..
with all the pre trip planning that I did I figured that spending a month in China would be pretty awesome (don't get me wrong, I would move here if the opportunity arose) but the one thing that never crossed my mind until my plane landed and I spent a few days in Shanghai. China tracks you, like 1984 you don't wanna think about it tracks you. Thankfully I make sure to get a local sim card so I have internet access on the go (mainly for maps and the occasional opportunity to upload a pic). The reason that having a sim card (basically a local phone number) is important is because to log on to wifi anywhere you need to put in your phone number so they can text you an access code that is specific to your phone number which is checked in with your passport. All this tracking aside, it feels like half the internet is blocked here in China, the biggest ones are facebook and Google. It also happens that wordpress is blocked here as well (makes writing for the blog a bit of a challenge) In case you're wondering, I'm using remote login to a computer back at home and using that to write this post. BTW if you haven't figured it out by now, I still don't know how to update tumblr, so yeah, ditching that effort for now.
This past week in Shnaghai & Beijing have been super busy and nonstop!! In a nutshell I spent the first 4 days in Shanghai at the Ultimate Barista Challenge, got "lost" in Shanghai as an adventure (wasn't really lost cause the subway system here is so great I can just hop on and get to wherever from wherever), Took the bullet train to Beijing (lost my ticket right after boarding the train, right before the ticket check), Went to the great wall of China (it was great;) relaxed and went through some pictures, went to Benhai Park today with a russian Guy from the hostel I'm staying at. As I said in my last post I've been writing in my notebook everything that Ive been experiencing here, intended for blog posts. Depending on how open my schedule is there is a chance I will mass write all my posts when I get home.
Thank you for being patient, I really can't wait for mission possible to be a place where you can read about some of the best travel places in the world.
Until next time
Waking up on the wrong side of the bed, kinda hard to do when you are sleeping on the floor... Ok no really, I wish I could hop in a time machine to rewind back to the day I landed here. Since I landed it has been one nonstop adventure after another. When I got off the plane the only thing running through my head was "if you leave the airport you did something wrong" so as I'm walking through the crowds of people I'm looking for the entrance to the maglev train so I can at least get to the center of the city and find the people I'm supposed to be meeting up with. Thankfully my friend who has spent a lot of time in China came and picked me up at the airport.
THIS IS A TEST OF THE EMERGENCY ALERT SYSTEM!!
Ok, so not really, but I did just find out that wordpress is kinda blocked here in China (so unplanned I didn't even check to see if I could update my blog) anywho what this means is that I'll be moving things over to my tumblr page (not really sure how tumblr works, so just search for Brandon Goodyear, I'll update my pic and info tonight)
I'm just barely able to get this post out from my phone, hopefully in a couple days I'll have my remote login to a computer back at home setup so I can continue to keep everyone up to date, I've been writing like mad in my little note books I brought with me
Until I can find a decent wifi connection Brandon Goodyear
Now as we are getting closer to launch day (leaving 6 days from today) I'll be honest, I'm going out of my mind crazy!!! now I can seem calm on the outside, but I'm starting to get a little nervous about what gear I'm bringing what gear I should be bringing, what gear I should be leaving at home. The list of details is endless and driving me crazy. Now, hold on to your hats because I have now come to realize how much I actually like writing (this will come as a shock to anyone who knew me in school... I. Hated. Writing.) This new found love of writing seems to come from my time in Vietnam (at least I'm going to attribute it to that) having people interested in what I had to say was a new feeling for me. Building on that I am now on my way to going to China, and hopefully will be laying out the ground work for a community of people how vastly different the world is viewed, starting out at the extreme contrast all the way across the ocean, eventually coming back to my home town in California. Stay tuned, later today I'll be getting the online store put together where you can buy wallpaper packs, prints. Coming soon mini video documentaries and stories from around the world. Until next time Brandon Goodyear