31 January 2020

Almost Ready for Vietnam. I'm Scared!

Art Model, Que ©2020 Terrell Neasley
"He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’ve got my visa for Vietnam in hand, now. Next is to book the flight, which will be within the next 10 days. I gotta tell ya. I’m just a little bit fearful! This will be a totally new experience for me. I do not understand Vietnamese at all. I cannot even say “Thank you” or “Good Morning”, yet. Nonetheless, I have a 3-month visa and I don’t know what to expect at all. This will be an absolute different experience for me than going through Central or South America.

[Update: Got the ticket the next day. Now just need to find a place to stay!]

But this is what this whole experience is about. NEW THINGS! New faces.Take wings to new places. My life has been about doing what I was afraid to do since I was in elementary school. At least, that’s where it started. Fighting back bullies. After a while, it became habit, because the realization soon hit me. Most of the things I feared were jokes to begin with so what does that make me? I’m not saying you gotta be stupid. Neither do I want you to check your common sense at the door. But how many times have you feared the dark only to later turn on the light and see your fear disappear. You realize you have been scared over nothing. How many opportunities have been lost because you didn’t take the job out of town; ask that girl out on a date; or taken that trail less traveled.

Art Model, Que ©2020 Terrell Neasley
So yeah, I’m scared to go. It’s human. It’s natural. And there is nothing inherently bad about being afraid. What you do about that fear is the determinant. So I’m going. I have my visa. But it’s always been said to me, “It’s not real until you buy that ticket.” And then just as well, “Pics, or it didn’t happen.” I’ll have my ticket soon. I’m pricing flights, checking flight times, seating, etc. I gotta have good seats flying that long. I’m looking at 26-hour flights. Not all in the air, at once, but I saw some 15-hour non-stop stretches on the itinerary. NOT looking forward to that. That’s the main reason I won’t be back so often as I was backpacking Central or South America. No matter where I was down south, I don’t think I had a single flight that had a stretch longer than 6 hours.

"I must be a mermaid. 
I have no fear of depths, but a great fear of shallow living." 
~ Anais Nin

So what will I do in Vietnam? Short answer… I do not know. More thorough answer. I’m not sure, BUT I will get to Hanoi and spend the first month in Northern Vietnam (not in Hanoi) and just sit for a month, reading, writing, and taking in my surroundings. After that, I’ll explore more of Northern Vietnam for a while and begin making my way south. Along the way, I’ll look for opportunities to check into Laos. I have a multiple entry visa for Vietnam so I will be able to leave the country and come back as long as I want within the 3 month time I have there. I am not certain just yet if I qualify to extend should I so desire. Beyond that, I’d like to do the same thing in Southern Vietnam around Ho Chi Minh City and get some shots around the Mekong Delta.

Art Model, Que ©2020 Terrell Neasley
Nothing about any of that is written in stone. It’s all tentative. After Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and of course, Thailand. I have to hop down into Indonesia at some point, make my way over to Papua New Guinea and then, the Solomon Islands. Who knows after that. Shall I try the South Pacific again? Australia, New Zealand? Or head back up into India? You can’t hold me to any of this. I expect it to take a while. Quite a while before I get back stateside again after leaving this time. But that’s okay. I have my passport renewed and I got the 52-page book this time.

I’m not upgrading the cameras. I can’t get the Sony a7R4 without upgrading to the Sony a6600 as well. I refuse to pack different batteries. So I’ll continue to run with my a7r2 and the a6500 for now. I wish I could handle the weight and do a drone, but another reason I don’t are international laws that regulate flying them. Vietnam says it’s legal, BUT… and there’s always seems to be a BUT someplace… you have to submit a 14-day notice to the regulating authorities. So you can do it, but you have to plan it 2 weeks in advance. Otherwise, you are in violation of Vietnamese law. I don’t need to be in violation of Vietnamese law.

Art Model, Que ©2020 Terrell Neasley
I'll keep you abreast of my situation when I leave, but I'm looking to be gone within the next 10 days or so. And thanks for being supportive of my blog. I appreciate the readership and am grateful that you've found my stories worth your time. I plan to do even better. Stay tuned!

20 January 2020

Someday Equals Never

"'Someday' sounds a lot like the thing people say when they actually mean 'never.'"
~ Is Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood), Westworld

Wow! Two months since my last blog post! Yep, ya boy took a little time off to visit the US for the holidays, handle a little business, and prep for the next adventure. I chose to stay in the US a bit longer this time around, as I believe it will be a little while before I get to come back. My next stop will not be French Polynesia as I had originally suspected. I can't seem to figure out a way to do that trip the way I would like, which entails sailing. But in addition to that, the next stop would have likely been Australia and I have no idea how to navigate around the fires down there. I'm not interested in taking pictures of the aftermath. That's not my thing right now.

Instead, Vietnam is the place I gotta be, as soon as I figure out how to get a 3-month visa which has to be done in advance. I'm trying to decide if I need a multiple entry one or not. I don't think I have any plans on leaving the country and then coming back. But dang... you never know what opportunities might arise that might take me to Laos for a quick turn around. I'm eager as hell to start this journey, but this won't be for another three weeks or so.

I know every year, for the last two years, I keep saying this is a five-year journey or 5 more years. I'm not going to break that trend this year either. I mean, honestly! I feel like this leg of my trip is where my adventure really begins! JUST HEAR ME OUT! Going to Central and South America is cool. I'll never forget the lessons I learned there. AND I will be traveling back there often. I LOVE ME SOME LATIN AMERICA!

That being said, I had already traveled there multiple times before starting this trip two years ago. While each country is distinct, there was still a familiarity no matter where I went. Well, except for Argentina. That place was a bit more confusing because the Spanish was a little different and you may think your talking to White people from Europe... but nope, they are LATINA... of European descent! I routinely walked up to somebody thinking they were American, pero NOPE. Ellos no hablan Ingles. I made some great friends there and can't wait to return. I love you, Ushuaia!

So in truth, heading to the other side of the world will be something totally different, absolutely different, and entirely not the same as anything I've encountered before. Not counting South Korea. I was a soldier there and Vietnam is not South Korea, anyway. So that's how this is going down. The adventure begins in Vietnam and I'm guessing I will see two years on that side of the planet before I return to the US again. That's what I suspect, anyway, but I can't say that with certainty, of course.

On another note, how many of you have complained that I don't shoot nude men? Well, I hope you are happy now as I begin the year with my first nude shoot of Art Model, Que. He was introduced to me by my friend who surprised me saying she had someone available to model for me. I felt like was a good opportunity to try something new or at least something I hadn't done in a while. It was a short session, but I wish I had this guy in a studio! I had a deep longing to be back in my studio in Vegas, but... *sigh*, I know that's not possible anymore. When I get back there, though... I WILL REBUILD!

Lastly, let me just say this. It's been my experience that "somedays" do not come for most people. I was picking at my daughter the other day, trying to convince her to do Disneyland without the kids. DO NOT JUDGE ME! Anyway, my kids know me and I have a penchant to antagonize. When she said, SOMEDAY! I blurted out. "Someday equals NEVER!" and as soon as I said it, I thought, "BLOG POST!"

So let me encourage you on whatever it is that you are somedaying about. Put a date on it. Make an actual actionable authentic agenda on how you will do it. Granted, this is just my opinion, but somedays are never acted upon unless it's being gifted to you somehow. If you want to travel, however, and you have a "but-something" just understand me when I say there is likely a way around it.

BUT-money, BUT-kids, BUT-time... I've seen or heard this, and lots more. If it's something you want to do though, I'm here to tell you that it's doable. In my travels, I've come across a wide myriad of people along the way. I've traveled with broke people AND people with kids. I'm not saying you have to travel the way I do for extended periods of time. That may not be your dream or desire. But to head out for a month or three... that's doable!

Particularly if you are young, I suggest you do it now! It's easiest! And I had to learn this myself. I learned this from some young Israelis in 2015 traveling through Nicaragua and again in El Salvador. A couple of young girls who were traveling together told me this is what they wanted to do before starting a family, careers, or service in the military. They just took a year off after school to do this. I am not certain I would have trusted my own kids doing something like this so soon after high school, but I realize kids outside the US are raised differently, to begin with.

They are already used to interacting with people of other languages and they are already used to traveling to other countries. You think a guy from Belgium believes his country is so great that he should never leave it? No. He learns about Germany, Holland, and his neighbors and not just from a book. He visits his neighbors. So when it comes time to visit the other side of the world, he's glad to meet you! My Jewish friends taught me a lot about traveling like this and they are not afraid to venture out into the world. Maybe they are more prepared. But the only thing that makes those that do different from those that don't is a lack of fear. And that right there can be easily solved with a liberal application of education! Not necessarily college, but rather information.

In other words, lose the BUT and put a WHEN over your someday. Start asking questions. Maybe your someday has nothing to do with travel... same thing applies. Start asking questions. Google possibilities. Regardless, don't let time slip on you. All that does is make more regrets and an abundance of "should'ves" in your life and who needs more of that. I'm all about making more stories.! It was not pleasant for my knee, but I hiked a mountain and crawled down into an ice cave in a glacier a few months ago. It took me 36-hours and a grand to fly back home. But I have a story! AND PICS! 

Yeah, Get more STORIES AND PICS!!

BTW, thanks Art Model, Que for your participation in my art.

Have a great 2020. Let's do this!