Motorcycle Diaries: Vietnam

a photographer, but some months ago I stopped taking
pictures. It happens sometimes; due to a combination of upheavals
and illness, the appetite to capture the world abruptly went

Then I ended up on a last-minute trip to Vietnam with a friend.
On a patched-up motorbike we drove 500 miles across the country,
from the northern capital of Hanoi down to the ancient port of Hoi

Vietnam was a sensory overload, which shook us to the core from
the moment a soldier stamped our passports and issued us in. We
drove across long open roads, weaving between pristine coastline,
leafy interiors and vertiginous cliffs.

We rattled through huge, raving metropolises and tiny forgotten
villages. Dependent on dubious Google Translate, Couchsurfing and
crumpled maps, we met people from all walks of life. Every day
brought different climates and scenery: dew-drizzled springtime at
dawn; sticky summer by noon; misty, odorous autumn in the evening;
stone-cold winter at night.

The thirst to take photographs quickly returned, but I began
shooting in a different way. It was hard to believe that just 40
years ago, this outstandingly beautiful country was the
battleground of an epoch-defining conflict. The Vietnamese people’s
sense of forgiveness and ability to heal was both inspiring and
humbling. When I got home, I moved to another country and quit my
job in order to devote more time to photography. This was a trip
that broke a spell – I hope this series goes some way to show

@Kamilakstanley |

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