Because I want to!
Generally speaking photographers, and I am no exception, need an impetus to shoot. We need a reason to shell out thousands of dollars on plane tickets, spend months planning the logistics, hours working on visa applications, to leave our friends and families behind, to risk life, limb, parasites, exposure, and austerity to fly to the other side of the world in search of the unknown. We need an assignment. An outlet. A prospect for recovering our investment.
Not this time.
This time I am investing in myself. Selfish? Sure, but with good reason. This trip leaves immediately after I finish my first year of med school and returns just a couple days before my second year begins. I have no publishers waiting for content, no curators waiting for prints. There will be no time to edit, let alone produce a show. This expedition was put together for no other reason than to capitalize on my last extended break before retirement. That's not an exaggeration, it's a harsh reality.
After med school comes residency. After residency a fellowship. Then, and only then, do I get to start out as low-man-on-the-totem-pole practitioner so mired by student debt that I'll be working every extra clinic hour I can just to stay on top of my bills.
So this is about me finding peace, centering myself, meeting amazing people, and capturing one last photo essay with no one to satisfy but myself. If I get a single image that truly, deeply pleases me I will have accomplished my objective.
So, with that in mind, let's do this! First stop the Chinese consulate in NYC then on to Thailand!