Travels

An Easter in Bangkok

Last weekend I journeyed north to Bangkok, Thailand.

And what a ride.

Because of the type of visa I have here in Australia, I needed to leave the country for a few days. So I decided to take the opportunity to meet up with an old New Kent homie, Kyle Mechling, who currently lives just next door in Vietnam.

I had never been to Asia before. Both excited and nervous, I wasn't sure what to expect. Especially in a city as full-on as Bangkok. Despite the many variables, we had a pretty rad time. Made some cool Thai friends, rode at Thai Wake Park, ate heaps of Pad Thai, and wandered through beautiful temples & palaces.

Not only did we pick a long holiday to go on, but turned out that the Thai New Year "Songkran" was the same weekend. And to celebrate, the country puts on a huge Water Festival. In short, we waltzed right into a nation-wide water gun war. Crazy.

In short, jumping into Bangkok for 2 days revealed a whole archive of senses I had never experienced before, with a newfound love and respect for Asia and all it has to offer. With that said, I'm glad to be back in Australia safe and sound, ready to finish up my Shillington Graphic Design course in a few weeks.

A few highlights:

NYC

The Big Apple.

Jonathan and I recently spent 30 hours wandering around New York City.

Some things that were involved:

  • trains
  • @archdad56
  • freedom tower
  • the oculus & 9/11 memorial
  • gyros
  • subways
  • graphic designers
  • the yotel
  • muscles
  • coffee
  • @briancason
  • dumbo
  • brooklyn bridge park
  • highline

As soon as we got to the city, I bought two rolls of film. Which may not make a whole lot of sense when I have a nice Canon DSLR.

The truth is, I've preferred taking my film camera on trips over my digital camera. (Don't tell that to my cameras. They already don't get along.)

When I'm only given 36 exposures in a city as large as NYC, my mind switches from tourist to artist.

Instead of taking pictures for documentation, I take pictures for aesthetic. It's a process of searching for what is beautiful and eye-catching rather than simply freezing a moment in time.

The best part about the process of shooting with film? When you find something super cool to take a pic of and you look through the viewfinder, you have to make a decision.

Is the shot worth it?

Will the image I capture be worth a spot amongst the other 36 exposures on the roll of film? Is the shot framed exactly the way I would want to showcase my subject? Oh, and is the camera properly exposed?!

These decisions tell the world what you, as a photographer, define as eye-catching. What you define as beauty. What you define as art.

And art is not a simple definition.

I've decided to spend my last semester of college taking classes that help me explore this realm of thought, including a film photo class. (Aka: more film pics coming your way!)

And while I'm finishing up my time here at JMU...

...(drum roll please)...

This guy (oh, back to Jonathan), will be studying graphic design at his new home here in NYC!

So here are some of the pics from the trip. I'd say Jmart wears New York pretty well.

Montreal

Last week, I took a solo trip into Montreal.

Yea, that's Canada.

My current residing place in Burlington, VT is only 1hr 30min away. Perfect for a day trip. Despite how close the city is, I've never encountered such a drastic culture shock in such a short amount of time.

One word... French.

Montreal is the largest city located in the Quebec Province of Canada, and it is definitely French-Canadian. After I passed through customs and into Canada, I felt like I was back on my Spring Break European trip with Phil and Tobi. The road signs, the weather, and the landscapes were total deja vu, kilometer after kilometer.

And I loved it! Sure my Virginia license plates stood out a bit and speed limits were a bit confusing, but man what a rush.

Entering a city for the first time is always exciting, especially with a camera in hand. I build up an extreme fascination with designs, shapes, and structures that I don't normally encounter everyday. Usually these are not very interesting for working locals or busy tourists, but I like to think that everything in a city was created by someone with specific design decisions. For me it's like going to an art gallery, but one where people live and work in a harmonious relationship with their surroundings.

This solo trip was great for experiencing that.

Any of my friends and family that have traveled with me know that I tend to be on the slower side. I'm always playing catchup with the group and leaving them asking where I went or when we can we move on. Well, when you're by yourself, there's no rush!

I literally just parked my car and walked around the city for hours and hours. Got some French coffee, incredible food, and with the help of Google, circled around most of the city. And to top it off, skated a few local parks!

Here are a few spots that stood out to me as I ventured around.

The point of all of this is to hopefully encourage you to see the world from a new lens (or an old lens if you're broke like me and can't quite buy new camera gear). Photos or not, city or country, the hard work of honest and talented humans is beautiful. Be on the lookout for it. It is everywhere and constantly evolving.

PALifornia

May 9 - May 19

Four Pals + California

Those were the plans. Head west and enjoy.

Vegas, Mammoth, Yosemite, San Francisco, Morro Bay, Newport Beach, Pasadena, Joshua Tree, Grand Canyon, and back to Vegas.

BAM!

But what we found was much different than just a high-speed race around the west coast. The theme of the trip became centered around friendship instead of destinations. Enjoying time with each other before moving away and getting jobs. Celebrating the changing seasons of our lives. Meeting old friends and making new ones along the way.

Granted, after driving 3,000+ miles in a hot-sweaty rental car together, community isn't much of a choice. But, they were some of the best moments of my life.

See for yourself.

Below is a short film I put together to recap the entire trip (lens smudges and all). For an appetizer, here are some quotes from the trip that didn't make the cut.

  • “I’ve never been to Colorado, but I imagine it looking like this…green and tan.” - Phil
  • “Yea you can make that jump…phil, no no, do the big boy jump, you can do it.” - Ben
  • “Hey look what I found, it’s a switch blade…we should keep it.” - Tyler
  • “Hey Ben watch out there’s a car coming” - Tyler
  • “Watch out, I’m throwing a rock at you.” -Phil
  • “Phil no, no Phil” - Tyler
  • “Ugh, I’m so ugly.” - David
  • “Jimmy joop joop!” - David
  • “Hey, there’s hazardous cliffs over here!” … “perfect” - Tyler and Phil
  • “Phil, stop killing nature, you’re on film.” - Ben
  • “I’m gonna die, I don’t know how to stop this thing!” - Tyler
  • “YEEHAW PEEPAW!” - Everyone, all the time
  • “Ah look at you, you’re a surfer! Ahhh” - David
  • “Gotta have your hands free, it’s called the two hand technique…illegal in 12 states” - Phil
  • “You filming me sleeping?” - Phil
  • “Get a shot of my veins.” - Phil
  • “Can we listen to KYGO’s new album now?” - Phil
  • “Do something stupid-er, you look too normal” - Ben
  • “Am I gonna be famous on the YouTubues?” - Jmart
  • “This is chapstick”… “Yea you put that on sometimes” - Phil and David
  • “Why are these people rich? What’d they do?” - Phil
  • “Infrastructure? I hardly know her…” - Jmart
  • “I bet there’s food in all these trucks” - Tyler
  • “Ahh, yerrr uhhh gotta pee’n her butt! - David
  • “Mountains and trees, mountains and trees! I’m tired of it!” - Phil
  • “Yep, this just tastes like a Miller beer” - David
  • “That was the girliest throw I’ve ever seen.” - Ben to Phil
  • “Doop bop stop baa boo bee bop pop scoop poop” - David

Now sit back, relax, and enjoy our shenanigans!

Spring Break 2k16

Wow.

What a BENVENTURE!

From March 4 to March 12, my close friend Phil Mouring and I ventured of on a high-speed, rapid-fire European Vacation escorted by our local Swiss pal Tobias Tresch. The goal was simply to be and to see.

And that we did.

Here are a few of my notes from our travels to prove it.

  • Skated in Istanbul Airport with a Beck's brew in hand.
  • Played the stump game in a random Swiss bar.
  • Ate Little Debbie Swiss Rolls in Switzerland.
  • Drove 140 mph on the Autobahn.
  • Witnessed the sunrise and sunset over the Swiss Alps.
  • Phil accidentally splashed holy water.
  • Ate pastries in France.
  • Had Sprugel in Germany.
  • Made my own Swiss Chocolate.
  • Crafted my own Swiss Army knife.
  • Toured and tasted a Heineken Brewery.
  • Learned how to say Easter Egg in German
  • Tobi got in a fender bender
  • Street lines are opposite colors.
  • Swiss insurance pays for gym members.
  • Never wear your shoes inside.
  • Red Bull is cheaper than water.
  • Rode through world's longest tunnel - 17km,
  • Toi Toi = portapotty.
  • Ate Italian pizza with local red wine.
  • I really like Rachlett and Flamkuchen.
  • Scottish dudes suck at ping pong.
  • Got super lost snowboarding at LAAX and ended up in a goat pasture.
  • Turkish Airlines hands out Turkish delight, and free alcohol.

And of course, the visuals along the way...

An unforgettable trip.

Phil and I can't thank the Tresch family enough for their outrageous hospitality. Your incredible food, beautiful home, and fuzzy cats will be missed.

A special thank you to boss man Tobi for ALL you did for us (planning, driving, getting out a$$e$ out of bed) and taking time off work to adventure to such cool places with us. And ladies, he's single!

Here's a highlight video from the various road trips we embarked on, in chronological order. I also decided to leave the footage as natural as possible and not edit the clips. Unfortunately I lost the footage from Italy, but a piece of my heart will always lie in those "Coors Light sized" mountains.

Cheers to next time Switzerland! I'll be back.

Switzerland

France

Germany

Italy

Views From a Skoda

Costa Rica

December 27 - January 3: The Johnston family and the Gore family traveled south to Central America!

The entire trip was spent spraying sunscreen, surfing, and spraying sunscreen (in that order). The food was notoriously amazing and delicious. We learned that fresh water is hard to come by and iguanas run fast. New favorite drink: Estrella Damm.

Besides my head splitting open and my brother catching an unknown illness, the trip was awesome! We found time off the boards to zip line above a jungle, hike to a waterfall, and watch a rodeo.

Throughout all the excitement, I avoided taking photos. Weird...but I wanted to enjoy it and live it, not document it. Getting out from behind the viewfinder was refreshing and relaxing. However, I still managed to scramble together a few pictures around our incredible house: