Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Journey to the Land of Smiles

Remember I mentioned to you that I'd be blogging twice a month over at the
VodoModo blog? Well, here's a post that was published over there earlier this month. Enjoy!

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My name is Monica Shulman and I'm a professional photographer based out of New York City. I'm so excited to be a part of the VodoModo team and to be blogging here twice a month!

This week I found myself really inspired by fellow VodoModo-er, Felice Bassuk, when she wrote about her trip to Thailand. Felice blogged about her experience as a volunteer at an elephant nature camp in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand and it reminded me of the trip that my husband and I took to Thailand in January, 2008. We also visited an elephant camp while we were in Chiang Mai and it really was a life-changing experience. Elephants are so fascinating and majestic and despite their size, they really are so gentle and look at you in an almost human way. We were planning on taking a ride but I was terrified of falling - nothing my husband or the guide said to me to help me relax worked. We walked down a wooden walkway where the animal waited patiently for us to step up and sit in the tiny seat on its back. I hesitated and suddenly the elephant turned its giant head toward me and as he opened and closed his eyes he batted his lashes and I honestly felt at that moment like he was smiling at me and sensed my anxiety. I started to pet his course skin and he wagged his trunk and batted his lashes again. I suddenly felt so calm that the feelings of stress and nervousness that came just before seemed so silly. I climbed right up and suddenly felt so safe with my new pal.

We returned from our nearly three week journey to Thailand and Cambodia with so many wonderful memories and stories such as this one. Since I'm a photographer by trade, it's clearly easier for me to express myself through images rather than through words. Here are some of my favorite photographs from this magical trip.

The Laughing Elephants
Chiang Mai


Mr. Relax
Chiang Mai

The Artisan in Natural Light
A friend we made somewhere in Chiang Mai



Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Bangkok

The Sacred
Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Bangkok

to market! to market!
Bangkok Market


January 2007 - SE Asia 301a

Bangkok Market


Market Flowers

Bangkok Market


The Lotus Position
Wat Arun, Bangkok


Wat Arun, Bangkok

Forever United
Longtail boats on Koh Phi Phi

A Place of Worship
Worshipers at the Temple of the Golden Buddha
Chinatown, Bangkok, Thailand


When I'm not blogging here, you can find me on my website and on my art, photography and lifestyle blog.

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6 comments:

The Lil Bee said...

My best friend Melanie spent time with the elephants when she and her husband were honeymooning in Southeast Asia. She, too, said it was a life-changing experience. I would love love love to go someday. My heart goes out to those little elephants.

Here's one of her posts about it: http://backtobuddha.blogspot.com/2010/02/elephant-sanctuary-pt-3.html

Namine said...

it's been far to long since I've commented. I love the elephants!!! I hope you are doing good!

Melissa Blake said...

Congrats, Monica! Lovely photos!

Kristin said...

If I didn't already have the travel bug...I definitely would now!

wishful nals said...

beautiful photos!

Crissy said...

Stunning photos!