Ganesh Artist’s Colony

Off a side alley near Suthep, artists in Chiang Mai slowly carve a monument of traditional Thai art.

Home to the world’s largest wooden Ganesh statue, weighing five tons and carved from a single tree, this artist’s colony is funded by a wealthy patron who sees it as his legacy. The main building is built with thick wooden planks covered top-to-bottom with detailed painted carvings. It’s a beautiful, peaceful, inspiring place.

Bali Vibes

It’s a bit of a cliche, I know… but despite the hordes of partiers who end up in nearby towns, Bali—specifically Canggu—is a great place to start a long trip. It’s cheap, accessible and there’s a great digital nomad community centred around Dojo Coworking. It’s been a great spot to get into the rhythms of nomadic travel and meet some fellow work-while-wandering friends.

The people are the best part. My first night in Canggu a fellow nomad took a few of us new arrivals around to his favourite hotspots. It was a great kickstart to meet some friends and find some regular haunts. As I’ve seen before in my travels, if on your first night in a new place someone local invites you out, it’s a good sign. Canggu is no exception. A small group of us from that first night ended up forming a core that would travel to nearby adventures on the weekends, grab meals together and generally commiserate.

Surprisingly for me, many of the people trying out the nomad lifestyle are in a similar life stage—30’s, had some success, trying something new. A beautifully large proportion of them are women. So far I’m the only full-time filmmaker but hopefully that’s just a matter of time.

The downside to Canggu is that it’s very, very touristy, and the prices & culture reflect the mostly-foreign population. So while it’s a great place to get my feet wet as a traveler it’s not a leap as far as I’d like. It’s more a tropical party-town Portland than a cultural excursion. So we’ll see where I’ll end up next…

One upside: Canggu is a convenient place to practice my scootering, in particularly my Darth Helmet impressions.

I’m sensing a fashion trend.

Learning To See

In five minutes, here’s an image I made:

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Here’s the original:

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Not nearly as pretty, right?

This took about five minutes, shot and processed on my iPhone (my app of preference is SnapSeed, if you must know). An insignificant image that makes a point:

The art of learning to see isn’t about the tools. It’s about learning the tools like you learn a language. We know that language influences thought, and thought in turn influences language. These visual abilities are just another tool in the language toolbox, like grammar and punctuation, that aid in our ability to see the world—and speak—in new ways.

Sometimes I feel like we nerd out on the details: which lens, which app. This can be like happening upon a conversation of copy editors discussing em-dashes, predicate objects, and the Oxford Comma. It’s useful as a practitioner to know and discuss your tools. And occasionally, as a learner, it’s good to break down work you admire to understand how it’s made. But…

Language is something you use to communicate. It’s the art of hearing your voice projected into the universe, or receiving those artful words from someone else, that gives what we do its enjoyment.

Tools, art, photos; understanding, learning, discovery—all good.

Then, speak. Let your voice be heard, through the intuitive art of seeing and creating.