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The Perfect Storm is almost over


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#1 the_traveler

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 16:31

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For the last two weeks I have felt like I have been in the middle of a 'Perfect Storm.' I am leaving early Saturday morning for three weeks in Thailand and Myanmar, leading three other photographers. At the same time I am refinancing my house to take advantage of very low interest rates that will save me several hundreds a month. (the timing is not my choice; married men will understand that.)

My wife, either from an excess of zeal or a punishment because I was going, gave me a list of things that just had to be done before I left. It did strike me that certain things were excessive and unneeded - like cleaning out the garage, neating up the basement and rewiring a light that looked unsafe. I drew the line at moving a 200 pound treadmill to another spot in the basement in case she'd like to use it.

Well, if I die over in Asia, the house will be in great shape for her new husband.

The single brightest note is that Old Guy (Eric) very generously loaned me a D7000 body to use as a backup (lighter and much better than my D200 option)

Organizing the trip has been 40 or 50 times more complicated than the other times I've gone. Typically I make a hotel arrangements for only my first night in country then just wing it, finding hotels as I go. This time I have my hotels for each night in the three weeks settled (and most transportation).

Two factors have contributed to the need for preparation. Myanmar has become the tourist destination du jour for adventure travelers thus the tourist infrastructure is packed full. And, I am taking three other photographers, friends, who have either never traveled outside of the West or have never traveled unless in an arranged tour. (I guess I am the 'arranged tour' this time.) So they require a good deal of hand-holding.

I couldn't take the chance of arriving in some town and finding no hotel rooms or having to split up. That would add unnecessary angst and problems. (Try figuring out who gets the fleabag and who gets the upgrade.)

So I found a tour agency in Yangon with a good reputation amongst my acquaintances on Lonely Planet and worked with them. Fifty or more emails and five phone calls later, it is done.

On Saturday we fly to Thailand; what with the very long flight and the time/date change, we get there Sunday night. After a day to recuperate, buy what we forgot and for me to get examined for glasses, we fly to Mandalay Tuesday morning then go on to Bagan, Kalaw, Pindaya, Inle Lake, Yangon. Then while two people fly out to Bangkok and on to Vietnam, one friend and I go to Mawlamyine (to visit Nyi Zaw and his family) then to Hpa An, back to Yangon.

Last we fly out to Bangkok where we do a bit of touristy stuff, I pick up my new glasses and we fly home – exhausted and, hopefully, with lots of great pictures.

The details have been exhausting. There are 3 documents open on my desktop all the time: a to-do list for me by the day, a status document for all the refinance stuff for my wife and a list of all pertinent hotel, airline, travel data that gets uploaded to my travel email account on the last evening.

I feel like I am juggling more detail than the moon landings.
In any case, you'll hear almost nothing from me until after the 25th of February.

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Lew

My latest photo oriented blog posts include "Getting to a Final Image - some words for a new photographer."

Pictures and the occasional blog posting about photography and travel at http://lewlortonphoto.com

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#2 Rags

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 17:12

Have a good trip Lew, look forward to the pix.

Rags

#3 DougB

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 17:42

I'm off for 3 weeks in Spain & Portugal. The others all want every room, etc booked in advance. I'm like you & just go & see what there is. Much more enjoyable - which is probably why I'll be leaving the group for several days to travel on my own.

Lew - have an awesome trip & no probs. Your wife should be happy with the house ++++
Regards
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#4 afx

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 17:52

Have a great trip!!

All my South Africa trips have been book the first night and the game reserves/parks in advance and make up the rest on the fly. Worked out ok so far, but I would not do it again over the Xmas holidays, way too packed then ;-)

cheers
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#5 the_traveler

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 19:07

We'll see if they are all still friends after the trip.
Much depends on my relaxing.
Lew

My latest photo oriented blog posts include "Getting to a Final Image - some words for a new photographer."

Pictures and the occasional blog posting about photography and travel at http://lewlortonphoto.com

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#6 olivier

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 19:21

Good luck and don't forget to enjoy the trip, now that you are done with the "administrative" chores.
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#7 Bart Willems

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 19:43

Lew, we're in the final stages of organizing an off-site event for 200 attendees. Had I known your talent for organizing these things I might have employed you! :)
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#8 the_traveler

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 19:50

Thanks, Olivier, if I can steer my spouse through France and Italy and not get arrested for murder, I can do anything.

Bart, moth my wife and I did a lot of meeting planning for our respective organizations.
Thank God that's over with.
If the meeting perfect, no one notices, if there's a screw-up, everyone looks at you.
Lew

My latest photo oriented blog posts include "Getting to a Final Image - some words for a new photographer."

Pictures and the occasional blog posting about photography and travel at http://lewlortonphoto.com

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#9 armando_m

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 20:24

Have a fun trip !!

Regards,
Armando 
 


#10 Colin-M

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 22:53

Hey Lew, hope you and your group have a memorable trip.

Does this count as "travel in SEA"? Time to put your son's advice to the test ;)
Have a good one - sounds like you won't miss being at home for a few weeks!

Edited by Colin-M, 30 January 2013 - 22:58 .

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#11 oldguy

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 05:33

Hi Lew,

Wish you the very best on your journey. I will be leaving on Feb. 9 to Nam, Cambodia then Thailand. Back home on March 9.

Be SAFE,

oldguy
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#12 Larry

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 06:41

Lew, I would say you have it all too easy still. I often do what you are doing (tour organizer and guide) on a regular basis quite often whenever I travel with other family members. :wink:

After all that .... have fun! :D

Edited by Larry, 31 January 2013 - 06:42 .


#13 the_traveler

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 13:55

Hi Lew,

Wish you the very best on your journey. I will be leaving on Feb. 9 to Nam, Cambodia then Thailand. Back home on March 9.

Be SAFE,

oldguy


You, too, Eric.
If you have an extra half say in Siem Reap, try to get to the land mine museum (7km south of Banteay Srey Temple, Siem Reap, Cambodia)

The orphanage and the museum building there was built through the push of a photographer named Richard Fitoussi.

Lew, I would say you have it all too easy still. I often do what you are doing (tour organizer and guide) on a regular basis quite often whenever I travel with other family members. :wink:

After all that .... have fun! :D


Better you than me.
Lew

My latest photo oriented blog posts include "Getting to a Final Image - some words for a new photographer."

Pictures and the occasional blog posting about photography and travel at http://lewlortonphoto.com

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#14 Longhiker

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 19:12

I'm sure all of the planning will help things go smoothly once you're there (well at least mostly). Now, with your announcement of the trip, there is the expectation of your usual series of outstanding photos. Have a great time. Be assured that I am suitably jealous.
There is nothing worse than a brilliant image of a fuzzy concept. - Ansel Adams

#15 the_traveler

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 13:02

In Yangon now (Thursday), to Bangkok tomorrow and to US on Sat arriving home Sunday morning with dirty clothes, sore feet, a great many pictures and having lost about 6 or 7 pounds.

Lots of great street shooting in SEA.

Pictures will follow when jet lag allows.

Lew
  • Colin-M and armando_m like this
Lew

My latest photo oriented blog posts include "Getting to a Final Image - some words for a new photographer."

Pictures and the occasional blog posting about photography and travel at http://lewlortonphoto.com

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