My wife and I left for Asia in February of 2018. We initially penciled out a two month Buddhist pilgrimage around Shikoku, Japan. While planning, the two months turned into six, then ten. The final itinerary started in Hong Kong and ended in Japan. The trip snaked north through China, into Mongolia, then over toward South Korea and Japan. This would be the longest trip we’d ever taken. We wanted freedom to change course, so we planned little ahead. When we left Seattle, we had no return tickets and only ten nights of accommodations booked in Hong Kong.
We took seven weeks of intensive Mandarin language classes in Shanghai and Beijing. On Wudang Mountain we studied Kung fu for a month. In five weeks we visited all eighty-eight temples of the Shikoku Pilgrimage.
It’s hard to sum up ten months. A long trip is a chance to slow down and reflect. In the unfamiliar everything feels worthy of reflection. I’m inspired by the artistic advice of landscape photographer Jim Richardson:
“Our job is to take these unknown places and make people care about them.”
“If you want to be a better photographer, stand in front of more interesting stuff.”
For ten months I captured what I saw, from the everyday to the unexpected, in my sketchbook. I’m now in the midst of finalizing work and editing the collection into a book.