Everybody can tell you how to do it, they never did it.
-Jay Z, "Already Home" (2009)
In celebration of making it to such a faraway place, I treated Mango and myself to another semi-annual photography session in Bangkok. Our photographer Tom was great, but of the three sessions I’ve done so far, I liked this one the least. (Oh wait I know why, the fact I was sweating like it was my job and the city doesn’t make for the prettiest of backgrounds.) We had a wonderful time and I especially love the shot with Mango in a tuk tuk.
Knowing that this would probably be the furthest Mango would travel in his lifetime, I wanted to document the experience and getting professional photographs literally “on the fly” was a great decision. A good thing, because during my month in Thailand and Cambodia I had been questioning my decision-making skills by traveling with a dog. I’ll get into it in another post, but bringing Mango to Thailand opened a Pandora’s box of issues, issues that I didn’t consider when making my plans to travel to this part of the world. Kicking myself for not considering the rabies/titer issue, I drove myself crazy with anxiety. To deal with an overwhelming sense of panic, I had to remind myself I did the best I could when planning for my trip. A popular saying is “hindsight is 20/20” and I think this statement couldn’t be farther from the truth because living life and making decisions is itself is a gamble with outcomes we have little control over, and we shouldn’t pretend like something would be different (ney, perfect) if we did x, y, or z. Life is ultimately about luck (with some hustle, of course), and knowing that I can’t control every situation has been my travel mantra for the past ten months. Like any other normal human, I make decisions with the information I have at hand and no one ever has 100% of the information they need. We do the best we can, then we must accept the circumstances, learn from them, be grateful for the positive things, and move on.
I recently listened to a podcast that described how the Marines plan a project out only 80% before starting (don’t quote me on figures, I have a poor memory). So hey, if they are comfortable approaching planning like that, then I can be, too. Planning is all about asking the right questions, and hoping that you know what those questions are.
During the brief shoot, we stopped for a refreshing coconut and met the friendliest lady and her little girl. While the girl delighted in petting Mango, the lady chopped up some coconuts for Tom and me. They really seemed to get a kick out of Mango, so much that the lady called her dog to FaceTime. Yes, Mango and the coconut vendor's dog (a bichon) got a video chat in while I re-hydrated my body, it was a spectacle. And when we left, the poor little girl was so upset to part with her new friend :( (I found Thai people to be remarkably unpredictable and never ones to complain. For example, the bored looking fruit cart girl would serve up a genuine smile with fresh pineapple, or the 7-Eleven clerks would bow deeply in appreciation, or bus station ticket vendors would gruffly ignore you when you trying to buy tickets.)