In this edition of Around the World in Analogue, community member Angelo Brandes talks about his six-month trip roaming India and a few countries in Southeast Asia, armed only with a Diana Mini and a few rolls of Lomography Color Negative 400. Let's hear Angelo's stories!
Name: Angelo Brandes
Social Media: IG: @angelo.brandes
Camera: Diana Mini
Film: Lomography Color Negative 400
Locations: Southeast Asia (Hong Kong, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore) & India.
A few years ago I took a 'gap year' to travel to Southeast Asia with the objective of discovering the old world. It's still my favorite place on Earth and words are not enough to describe its people, food, culture and generosity. I miss every moment of this trip and I'll be glad to have the opportunity share share some of my shots with the community.
What made this six-month trip special was the chance to enjoy and experience the places calmly, without a rush. Different from a regular holiday trip, there was no meticulous planning, detailed itinerary, reservations, or pre-made bookings.
Flight tickets in hand, the trip started with a long flight from Dublin to Hong Kong, following Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia/Bali, and finished with a long east-west leg along India by train.
India and the whole of Southeast Asia are the most beautiful and crazy places on Earth. It's a mix of awesome people, great food, history, culture, and kindness.
With plenty of time, I could visit most capitals, main cities, and famous landmarks, but also saved time and budget to explore deserted beaches, mountains, volcanos, rivers, and, of course, many small cities, their suburbs, and hidden villages. Connecting with the locals, feeling and living the little things and flavors of regular daily life was the most extraordinary experience I could ask for.
I loved and miss every moment of this trip, the organized chaos between coffee stands and motorcycles in Hanoi, the ritual of drinking chai and sharing beds during the long train trips in India, the crowded street markets in Bangkok, the city noise and colors in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, the big murals and small pieces of street art in George town, Penang, the smell of rain in Hong Kong, the sound of the bells and chants while approaching each temple, the night lights in Hoi An, the walks along the Ganges in Varanasi, the peaceful silence in Angkor Wat, and so on.
If I could give some recommendations, I'd say the cliché, travel like a local. Southeast Asia is really well-connected. If you have time, and the spirit, avoid airplanes, buy a motorcycle, take sleeper trains and buses, catch tuk-tuks, search for commuter night boats, etc. Asking for tips from the natives and learning with them is always a must. Another thing is food. If you're into Asian food, any city or street stall will be a paradise.
Avoid checking Google and Tripadvisor all the time and, again, follow the residents. I had the best meals in my life just looking for crowded places with big queues. The last tip is basic but essential, if you're traveling to more than one destination or taking a long trip with just one backpack with gear, travel light.
No regrets at all! Mobility is the key when taking a multi-journey long trip. I know that just a small plastic camera is extreme and can limit your creativity but you got the idea, less is more. Think about your real needs for travel photography, being discreet, not drawing too much attention, and merging with locals.
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