Photo by Rachel Goble Carey
Responding to the question I get so often, “How was Thailand?” is impossible to answer in a blog post, let alone a word or a sentence. The only thing I can say about it completely honestly is: it was an experience.
Those two months were so greatly varied, it’s hard to apply a label even to the “overall” experience. There were highs and lows, successful days of filming and “off-days,” moments of pride and moments of embarrassment, days of feeling beaten back by the insurmountably rampant sex trade, and days of hopefulness in SOLD’s work.
As far as the primary reason I went over there, to film footage for The SOLD Project, I think we were very successful, and I hope the short time I spared makes a difference in their work. I thought that seven weeks of filming would present challenges for finding something new to shoot, but we always seemed to be busy capturing footage. At the same time, I don’t feel like I needed to stay there longer to get what we needed, seven weeks was just about the right amount of time.
We traveled to the red light districts of Bangkok, the beaches of Phuket, the busy markets of Chiang Mai, the rice fields of Chiang Rai, and everywhere in between. I don’t have an exact count, but in total I captured around 35 hours of footage. I also put a short video together, which is embedded below (the amazing score was composed by my brother in law, Kevin). Working on this project made me even more passionate about SOLD’s mission, and I hope the video brings in support for them and helps raise awareness about the tragedy of child prostitution.
Although the video was the main focus of my trip, it’s impossible not to get attached to certain aspects of a country when you live there for two months. It grew into more than a project or a vacation or an adventure; it became my home. I used to think that traveling meant sampling a culture, getting a taste of it, and then going home. My perspective has changed, and I can’t imagine myself ever “vacationing” again after digging into a culture and feeling like a part of it. It has, without trying to be too hyperbolic, changed my perspective on the world. At least to some degree.
It may already be obvious by my being vague, but I’m still processing a lot of the trip. I fell in love with the country and didn’t want to leave, but at the same time I’m thankful to be back home with friends and family (and hot water). I’ve been enacting my plan for returning to school and finally finishing my degree, getting back to editing weddings and putting together my videography company, and working my old job at PathLight. The Bay Area is my home, and despite missing the culture, the lifestyle, the friends I made, and the language of Thailand, this is where I should be right now, and I’m content with taking the experience of Thailand home with me, keeping a part of the country alive in how I continue to live my life.
I’d love to go back some day, and in fact, I intend to. But if I don’t get that chance, I’ll always look back on those seven weeks and remind myself that that was one of the larger steps that made me into my current self. I’ve grown from it, in so many ways.
Please excuse the mushy-gushy language that might be out of character for me. There are still a lot of emotions and incomplete thoughts that I have about the trip, and I was even reluctant to post this before they’re all settled into place. I’ll post here in the coming weeks to share some of the more specific aspects of the experience. Until then, enjoy the video, and leave a comment if there’s anything specific you’d like to know about the trip.
To share on your Facebook wall, paste the following link to your status, and the video should automatically embed: