Through out my life I have travelled quite a bit however on December 2013 I planned one of my life’s most adventurous and inspiring trips; I decided that I would backpack through three countries in South East Asian (Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.) However, unlike when I travelled to India I wouldn’t be able to stay in the same location for long periods at a time; I would be constantly on the move and realistically carrying around all my equipment wouldn’t be convenient. I was in quite the dilemma because I wanted to capture the world around me and how could I do that without my equipment? After a while of thinking it hit me. An epiphany you could call it; I wanted to do something bigger than this trip, something bigger than me. I wanted to make a difference with my work; I wanted to give people the same joy I get when I look back at all the images and memories from my trips.
That’s when I thought of the “Giving back with Polaroid’s Project.” I wanted to provide all the great people I met during my backpacking trip a moment of happiness captured in a Polaroid. That’s when I set out to find a vintage Polaroid camera, however the problem with going vintage is that I would not be able to keep a copy of the image for myself, nevertheless with a bit a research I found the Polaroid z340. This camera has the ability to instantly save the printed images into a memory card and has the option to add some cool effects; Problem solved!
My first stop was Thailand and I just utterly excited to get started. As I walked about the various towns and villages I stopped and asked people if they would like to have their picture taken; though curious as to what was happening, everyone happily participated. Little did they know, they were actually going to receive a copy of their images and that was the emotion I wanted to capture…that moment of pure bliss when they saw their picture for the first time. It was plainly written on their faces, through their smiles, through their eyes and their laughter of how happy they were. I felt this rush of delight each time I saw a smile on their faces and I knew I accomplished what I came here for…to make someone else’s day a little bit brighter.
I noticed that when I went on in my trip that the quality of life in Laos was much poorer than that of Thailand and Vietnam; and through this observation I noted that the emotional response and appreciation from receiving their images was higher.
I learnt something that day…these people have “nothing” compared to the lives we live here and despite that they live with smiles on their faces. I learnt that we should enjoy the little things in life and not take them for granted. The people of Thailand, Vietnam and Laos have inspired me to enjoy the summer breeze and that first snowfall, the smiles on my friend’s faces and hugs from my family; because everything that could ever make me happy is surrounding me.
I set out to make people smile and I came back with a new perspective in life. Thank you to everyone I met during this inspirational trip.