Postcard from Laos

In News & Stuff, Travel, Within The Frame Adventures by David62 Comments

A quick hello from Laos. We’re on the banks of the Mekong River, and in a couple hours begin a 2-day journey downriver towards Luang Prabang. Yesterday was a long drive through misty jungles and impossibly green rice paddies, around frequent landslides and small towns, with a stop for spicy kao soi for lunch.

As with so many of the Within The Frame adventures, I am surrounded by amazing people that have become new friends, and our times together are filled with laughter. I’m grateful for them and their patience. This is the first travel I’ve done since the accident and I feel slow, graceless, and clumbsy. On the first day we wandered around a village and I went exploring in a rice paddy, my fold-up cane sticking in the mud with every step and unfolding. I emerged muddy and wet and a little sore from the effort, but deliriously happy – it was the moment I’d been working towards for 4 months as I healed.

I’m traveling light this time. Lighter than I’ve ever done. My only gear is a Gitzo Ocean Traveler Tripod, my 11″ MacBook Air, and my Fuji x100. I’ll review the camera later, if the mood strikes. But traveling light is amazing. My camera is always with me, always light, always unobtrusive. I never feel weighed down or ask myself, Should I bring the camera? I’m shooting less, to be sure, and this will never replace the DSLR, which I sometimes miss, but for this trip, it’s perfect. For a week in Paris or NYC, it would be amazing.

There’s more to write and more to tell, but I need to get up and shower and find my people. I move a little slower than I thought I would in the mornings, so the extra time is needed. Next stop is Luang Prabang, then to Angkor in Cambodia. After that I’m taking a week of personal time in Thailand to sit on a beach and eat pad Thai. My physiotherapist says it’ll be good for me, so I’m calling it medicinal beach-time before I come home and start dealing with the Jessie saga, which I’ll update you on then too. Thanks to all who sent emails and cheered from the sidelines as I left for this. I won’t lie to you, I was a little nervous. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you.


  1. Great congratulations to you David… your perseverance has paid off. Enjoy each day and continue to heal, the images will come when you are ready, for now just โ€œenjoy the ride.โ€

  2. David: So glad to see you are now out and about even if it is hard physically. The obvious “joy” of your blog tells me that you have found gratitude, courage, and creativity (traveling light). Stay in the moment – glean everything you can from it. It’s amazing how much richer you feel having gone through it all! Bravo!!!

  3. Way to go David! It takes a lot of guts to go on such a journey so soon after a major accident. I applaud you for not letting the accident slow you down any more than absolutely necessary.

    I would love to hear your thoughts on the X100.


  4. Really glad to see you back out there David. “Sore but deliriously happy” says it all for sure. Enjoy your trip, and your medicinal beach time too.

  5. Welcome to Thailand again ;-). I am still in England, but will be back to Thailand next year. I will wait for your next trip to Thailand. Wish you do well with your recovery and work ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Hello! I recently found your work and I wanted to thank you – your books are extremely helpful and inspiring and your photographs leave me in awe. I’m glad you’re doing better and enjoying yourself! Can’t wait for the next book.

  7. Good to hear from you and that you ahve reached this next liberating step in your recovery. Sore – yes, tired – yes, slow- yes, doing it -YES!!!

    Angkor blew my mind and the longer you spend there, travelling to the furtherest wats the more fascinating it gets. I hope you get to them as well.
    Have a good dose of medicinal beach!

  8. Afterwards times fly, but you know yourself what you had to do in terms of hard working, recovering and tough emotions to be there after your accident.
    Enjoy these moments and I am sure you live/experience these moments even stronger than you did before!
    See you in Liguria next year (sounds still far away from now)

  9. It’s so impressive to think that you’re walking around the villages of Laos so soon (!) after what you’ve been through. Impressive, humbling and happyfying! You deserve a singha with that pad Thai!

  10. I met a Hmong lady here in Oregon yesterday and told her I had been down the Mekong to Laos. She just said “Yeah, you just went to touristy places, not way up on mountain where I lived.” I got no credit at all. Enjoy Luang Prabang!

  11. Amazing trip! I made the same journey early this year with a group of friends. We packed small inflatable rafts across the boarder at Nong Khai, Our original plan was to raft from there to Luang Prabang and arrive in time for Songkran but we quickly realized that it was much to far to make it in time so we took the slow boat half way. I have a gallery of the trip if you are interested. It was a fantastic trip and one that I will not soon forget.

  12. Sitting on a beach in Thailand, eating pad Thai…could I get that physiotherapists name and number please?

  13. Yay David! Congrats. It sounds like you’re first adventure post-accident is going extremely well. Good on ya’ for doing it. I imagine the uncertainty of how you were going to fare was a bit stressful, but clearly you’re doing just great. I admire your courage to do it so soon after finishing your physio etc. It’s a good reminder that life is about choices – we can choose to be safe and stay at home and watch tv and not have to experience uncertainty, pain, some stress. Or we can choose to just get out there and do it, take the risks, and have a helluva great time. Glad you chose the latter. Have fun my friend!

  14. I’m glad to see you’re back on the road and in a beautiful part of the world. Take care on your journey. Your recovery has been great, you’re an inspiration.

  15. You are so awesome! Very happy to hear that you’re moving forward and back doing your trips. It’s been quite the journey! Enjoy the healing beach time.

  16. Can you hear the applause? Very, very happy that your healing is being accomplished trip by trip… and beautiful image to boot David! Tell that workshop group they’re blessed to be a part of something so magical!!!! Safe travels to all!

  17. Good to see you in motion and enjoying it. Nervousness is understandable but you are tough where it counts. Wish I could spend a week on that beach with you eating Pad Thai.

  18. Good to see ya back in the saddle, David. We will be in Vietnam/Cambodia in November. Any special places or people we should see while there?

  19. Hey David,
    Good to know you’re feeling good and able to travel again. I loved my 2 months in Laos last spring, the workshop must be amazing there.
    All the best wishes !

  20. Hey David praise God for your recovery, it’s great to hear you are on your travels again. Looking forward to more images and inspiration. Enjoy your week at the beach, man you have earned it…!

    Remember vision is good, but a camera that will focus properly is better….(joke)

  21. David – so glad to read this and hear things are going well and you’re back in your element. Enjoy Thailand – I may come through Ottawa in October enroute or coming home from Italy…I’ll mail you the dates – would be nice to connect if it works.

    Safe travels!

  22. I am glad to hear that you enjoy the travel and that you can move – even though you move a little bit slower than before. I admire your persistence. Safe travels.

  23. Just so glad to read this. Lots of wonderful people in Laos and Cambodia – a real joy to interact with. Just go easy on the deep fried tarantulas and home brewed liquor ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. Mary, Leo and I wish you safe travels. Can’t wait to meet up with whatever you’ll be driving.

  25. yay! finally, a post from the road. we have all been waiting with you for this.

  26. So good to hear from you back on the road where you belong, David! Love the photograph! Goes to show one doesn’t need fancy cameras to catch beautiful imagery! Enjoy it out there! God bless you and may the road rise to meet you! :c)

  27. Very awesome to here you having fun, David! Safe travels for the remainder of the journey.

  28. Amazing image David and even more amazing that you are back at it so soon (although I’m sure you’re thinking it wasn’t soon enough). Enjoy that beach (you’ve earned it!).

  29. I’m glad to hear things are going well. I was surprised you were doing this trip so soon after the injury. Glad to see the X100 is serving you well. Love that camera. It truly is a marvel. I will also be joining you in Venice next year! I can’t wait ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. Love this shot…love that you’re traveling light…love that you’re gettin your groove back! Have a great time. By the time I get to go on of your Within The Frame trips, I’ll have to run through mud to catch up with you ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. Yea! You’re there and you’re loving it! Looking forward to your thoughts on Luang Prabang (my introduction to SE Asia in 2009). Please, please, please ask people to be respectful during morning Tak Bat – it’s really gotten out of hand. Leaving in two weeks for a return to Angkor – so in a way I’m following you David:) The positive energy you are bound to feel in Laos and Cambodia will bring you ongoing healing.

  32. I’m glad you’re having a good time and I can definitely tell you are from the pictures I’ve seen so far. I’m pretty jealous! Have a nice medicinal beach-time haha!

  33. I’m so glad to hear you’re doing well David. I’m cheering for you. Did you take the above shot with the x100? It’s a beautiful shot.

  34. Great to hear everything going so well. Knew you could do it. Greetings from Vancouver.

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