cornwall, england

pancake lens on the 5DM3.
which is the equivalent of like, installing beer can speakers in a cadillac.

polruan, fowey, cornwall
polruan, fowey, cornwall
polruan, fowey, cornwall
polruan, fowey, cornwall
polruan, fowey, cornwall
 

lyndsey baked these delightful scones.
except we call them biscuits.
but in the u.k., their biscuits are our cookies.
and jaffa cakes are basically cookies, except they’re called jaffa. effing. cakes.

1828

and their argument goes, “we invented the language.”
and my response has always been, “well, we’ve streamlined it.”
to which their replies have always been, “oh fuck off.”
 

oliver and jonny.

jonny kaldor, oliver howell
cornwall, fowey, polruan
 

currently listening to:
my favourite love song this summer.


 

hong kong

hong kong causeway bay

teresa teng warmly reminds me of grandma and grandpa.
from the taxi cabs to the intercom at the mall, her songs murmured,
which made for a sentimental week on the island.

i had one free day from shooting and mac said we could do whatever i wanted.
eat through the city, duh. six restaurants in one day.
we went from the most extravagant portuguese barnacles (apparently men risked their lives to fetch our lunch)

portuguese barnacles
 

to the most humble spam and egg sandwich.


 

(and dim sum, dumplings, everything yummy hong kong had to offer in between.)
this guy mac, he’s all sorts of good people.

mac ling
 

somewhere in soho
i stumbled upon an antiquarian shop called indosiam that specialised in rare books and paper goods
and picked up these huge 2×3′ maps from the 1920’s


 

and a book on french colonial territories in southeast asia, published in 1930.



 

amid heaven and earth.

window seat airplane
 
currently listening to:
the most appropriate teresa teng song for this post.
香港 香港 和你在一起

siem reap

how magical would it have been to have wandered deep into the cambodian jungle centuries ago
and stumbled upon these extraordinary ruins enveloped, hidden in foliage.

angkor wat.

angkor wat, cambodia
angkor wat, cambodia
angkor wat, cambodia
 

it was a bit eerie seeing the majority of statues missing their heads,
was told they were hacked off during the siam invasion.

angkor wat statues no heads
 

ta prohm.
if brooks had been there, he would’ve been screaming, “OMG tomb raider!”

ta prohm, cambodia
ta prohm, cambodia
ta prohm, cambodia
but all i kept hearing in my head was this.
 

angkor thom.

angkor thom, bayon temple, cambodia
angkor thom monkeys, cambodia

belgium part ii

i promised thomas we’d go to bruges
before he moved back to the states to settle down, find a nice girl and start a family
and before i do whatever it is i’m supposed to do.

bruges, belgium
bruges, belgium
 

but our daydreams of a little fairy tale town felt more like a disneyland cesspool of tourists.

bruges, belgium
[picture by thomas]
 
but we did try to recreate the picture he drew for me.


[picture by jason]
 

blankenberge.

jason bickley, cristina munteanu, thomas loder

 

brussels.
our last day there, jason had to spend some quality time with his family

jason bickley
 

so cristina took us around the city for the day.

brussels, belgium
(brussels from an elevator, via iphone.)
 

we’ve named our squad #teamhoodies


 

and sometimes #teamchucks.


 

seriously, how can you go to belgium and not try a waffle?
it’s like going to new york and not eating a pizza or philly for cheesesteaks.


 

a cute goodbye.


 

you take me by the heart when you take me by the hand

doel, belgium.
an abandoned ghost town taken over by graffiti artists and a playground for photographers.

doel belgium
 

cristina, thomas, jason, little annabelle and i scaled walls, hopped fences and crawled through cracks
– the second most perfect way to spend a damp, dreary saturday.

doel belgium, cristina munteanu
doel belgium
doel belgium
doel belgium, thomas loder
doel belgium
doel belgium, jason bickley
doel belgium
doel belgium, cristina munteanu
doel belgium
doel belgium
doel belgium
doel belgium
doel belgium, jason bickley
doel belgium, cristina munteanu, thomas loder, jason bickley

vietnam

sàigòn.
5am street corners on little red plastic stools with dad and his childhood friend.
i miss these mornings, dearly.


 

aunt chau and uncle phuong’s,
where i spent summer 2007 scriptwriting in afternoon thunderstorms.



 

i was introduced to relatives i’ve never met, including uncle thanh, on the left.


who regaled me with war tales of when grandpa moved the entire family of a hundred into one home
to keep everyone safe and united.
(mom said this number was grossly exaggerated, but i’d like to believe him anyway.)
 

iPhone timelapse on tristyan’s motorbike.
nose, cheek pressed against his back, swerving through districts, perfectly intoxicated.


 

vũng tàu.



 

i had originally planned to add a lot more pictures with weeks of stories,
but ever since i met tristyan, my enthusiasm for blogging has waned
because i’ve been sharing my narratives with him.

but i will say, i see my parents about once a year
and every time i see them, they get a little bit more tranquil, a little bit more eccentric.

with this trip, i was reminded of how hilariously funny they are,
how sweet and affectionate they are to me, to each other.
and there was a sadness, a heartache, a longing to move back to california
when they saw me off at the airport.
 

currently listening to:
the recording is rubbish and the camera guy has the sniffles,
but i was so obsessed with his performance that i had this on repeat my entire trip back to saigon.

mùa thu cho em – tiến nguyễn

translation here.

same things i always say, same promises i make

been feeling homesick. not sure what home is though.

went to paris this weekend to see thomas,
since he’s the closest thing to home right now.

thomas loder
 

i really like this picture he took of me.

veanne cao
paris ferris wheel
 

iphone pictures (because the DSLR is cumbersome):

montmartre paris
veanne cao
paris metro

 

currently listening to:
thomas and i collaborated on an old school hiphop playlist.
check it out on spotify.

i hella love him for putting this one in the mix.


 

this is how we chill from 93 til ∞

lora and i went to scandinavia to chase aurora borealis,
but our attempts were thwarted by snow.
disappointed, but we made the most of our trip.

9AM. good morning oslo, i’ve written you a haiku.
“winter in norway”
daylight is fleeting
your men are just, beautiful
i can’t feel my toes.

oslo sunrise
 

the norsk folkemuseum.
we were transported back to various eras in time, all within one little town.

norsk folkemuseum
norsk folkemuseum
norsk folkemuseum
norsk folkemuseum
norsk folkemuseum
norsk folkemuseum
 

4pm. and just like that, there goes our five hours of daylight.

norsk folkemuseum
 

scandinavian winters aren’t so bad when the hotel bristol has the best hot chocolate
and you’re in good company. eystein, my favourite viking.



 

we went to the munch museum to see the scream,
but it was this piece (visjon) that resonated with me most.

munch visjon
 

göteborg, sweden.

göteborg, sweden

göteborg, sweden
göteborg, sweden
this last one reminds me of “let the right one in.”
 

eystein and i kickstarted 2015 with a snow walk in frognerparken.
“a great little adventure” he says, but i was left with a dear little memory.


 

although this is our first trip together, lora has proven to be an awesome travel mate.
considerate, chill and hilariously fun, funny.
NYE at the stratos.


 

walking down random alleyways in other countries, part 7.
except that we couldn’t find an alleyway and running in snow makes me happy.

veanne cao

this year i resolve to… be kind, work hard, create.
and perhaps my life will fall into place as it should.
 

currently listening to:
when the dj dropped this club rmx of california dreaming at the NYE party,
lora reminded me that no matter where i am, where i go,
i will always be a california girl.


 

simultaneously juggling three happy thoughts in my head

2.5 hours en train to spend thanksgiving with linh in paris.
european cities are all starting to look the same.

paris, france
 

but there’s something special about paris.
special things always happen whenever i’m here.

la seine
l'amour est mort

 

i must have really charmed that man with my vietnamese at the banh mi shop
because as we were leaving, he gave us these.


(we decided linh was on the left because there’s a foot in it and she has bunions.
i’m on the right because it’s got a lazy eye like mine.)
 

linh

found us a charming little restaurant hidden in monmartre.
i made her laugh so hard that she snorted. she snorted so hard that i laughed so hard that i cried. happy thanksgiving!


 

5am in le marais, in the gutter, intoxicated, staring at the stars,
she asked me what my favourite moment of the trip was

and it wasn’t until now
that i realise i was happiest in that moment with her,
recollecting every fleeting pause and feeling a sense of… liberation? peace?
i don’t know, but i finally felt it after a tumultuous year in london.
my only regret was not being able to meet thomas that friday evening.

currently listening to:
je ne veux pas travailler, je ne veux pas déjeuner, je veux seulement l’oublier


 

rome, italy

the pope gave me his holy blessing with a press accreditation to shoot the sistine chapel.
so here i am.

piazza navona
rome, italy
colosseum, rome italy
sistine chapel
 

it’s a strange feeling, spending your entire life seeing the ubiquitous creation of adam on posters, mugs, beach towels..
and then you tilt your head back and it’s like,

sistine chapel
 

oh hey! i know you guys.

sistine chapel
sistine chapel
 

the italian press are vultures with behemoth betacams
swinging about, knocking out whatever/whoever gets in their way of getting the shot,
including yours truly, all 5’4″, now covered in battle scars from the evening.

italian press
 

short holiday

prague, land of fairy tale castles (and ornery geriatrics).



 

elaine, auntie and i have similar travel habits.
we wander, we eat, eating our way through the city.

the best trdelník is at this little side shop called “old traditional goodes” on a little road called karvola.


(that’s elaine, not me.)



 

we took a train to the sedlec ossuary (the bone church), but it felt macabre posting pictures from there.
ethan is going to be such a heartbreaker when he grows up.


 

walking down random alleyways in other countries, part 6.

venice, italy

each birthday gets quieter and quieter.
and daydreams of conquering the world have been replaced by daydreams of finding a place to retire.






 
walking down random alleyways in other countries, part 5.

back in london

after a very long journey from malvern, in a pair of malvern clogs.
aimee said, “OMG your shoes are so ugly! Hahahaha!”

veanne cao, veanne tsui

my first time in italy

and i’m not in venice, rome or milan,
but in a quiet, little town called udine.

udine italy
udine italy cigarette dispenser
udine italy
 

and this. straight from san daniele. the cadillac of prosciutto.

udine italy san daniele prosciutto

well hello big ben

heard so much about you, so glad to finally meet you.

london big ben

santo domingo, dominican republic

storm brewing in boca chica.


 

technically they’re cubans since they’re made by cuban immigrants.


 

morning coffee on the terrace.


 

luke is one of my favorite travel buddies,
not just because he’s an ER doctor in case i fall off a mountain or whatever,
but because this trip has proven that even murphy’s law (not exaggerating) can’t take us down.
choose your travel companions wisely.

also, he likes to text me gnarly stories and gnarly x-rays from the ER,
and i can talk candidly with him about enemas and throat yeast infections without him cringing,
which makes him a cool friend to have around.

also, i apologize that these three pictures don’t really tell a story about our trip;
i just haven’t been shooting prolifically.

southern california

nye in new york plans fell through
and there was no way i was settling for a mediocre nye.

the day i was supposed to fly home,
i found out stones throw decided on a last minute all 45’s nye party (some pics) in los angeles
so i switched flights.

ridiculous new years. ridiculous. with some of my favorite people, with a new crush.
key number being nine, according to jonathan. (i was too thwacked out to remember.)

and i have been/am being absolutely stupid and unproductive until next monday
when i fly home and have to figure out what the heck i’m supposed to do in 2013.
 

venice beach.

venice beach sunset

nassau, bahamas

deep and i took a quick vacation to get away from the cold.
we mostly napped on the beach, aimlessly wandered and ate, well and a lot.

snorkeling. from our disposable ISO800 cameras.

snorkeling, bahamas
snorkeling, bahamas
 

it’s not like “swim with sharks” was on my bucket list,
but i’ll add it now just so i can cross it off. :)

snorkeling, sharks, bahamas
 

i really like this one, by deep.

seagulls, bahamas

kim found the whole snorkeling thing amusing, “but you don’t know how to swim!”
which is true. i was fine floating in the water with my life vest on,
but when it came time to get back on the boat and i had drifted off far away…
 

currently listening to:
i had this song stuck in my head the entire time
and at random moments when he’d look over at me, i’d be like,
“maybe we’ll meet at a bar, he’ll drive a funky car.”


 

morocco

trying to cross everything off my bucket list this year.
in case i die next year, then i’m good to go.

problem though,
one of the things on the list is, for the most part, out of my control.
i can only hope fate is good to me.
 

anyway, robin, josh, kc and i rented a car and did a road trip throughout morocco:
casablanca -> marrakech -> merzouga -> sahara desert -> fez -> tangier -> casablanca.

i told robin i honestly didn’t care where we went or what we did as long as we made it to the sahara
so i can cross “ride a camel” off my bucket list.

done.

camel shadows sahara desert
 

but that really wasn’t the most memorable moment for me.

it was the night before when we all hiked up to the highest sand dune.
we lay on our backs and gazed at a billion bright stars with a 360 panoramic view of the sky.
hassan and i stayed up on the dune until late in the evening
(this was during ramadan so many slept during the day)
talking, mostly me asking a barrel of questions in broken french about his life growing up in a nomadic family.

as corny as it sounds, we’re the same age, but he still has this sort of innocence to him that i adore.
the guys i meet in the states, they’re too clever, jaded, manipulative.
i told him, il a ecrit que le petit prince sera avec sa rose encore.
mais j’espère que le serpent boa ne te morde pour que je puisse te voir encore.

after what seemed like a fruitless hour nap back at camp,
i climbed back up to the dune by myself and watched the sunrise.

sunrise sahara desert
 

i’m really bad about taking pictures while traveling so um.. here are two more.

marketplace in marrakech.

marrakech market
 

and continuing the picture tradition of me walking down random alleyways in other countries…

veanne cao marrekech alleyway

(robin took this one.)
 

currently listening to:
brandon was right. thinking back, every moment we’ve had was pretty romantic.
so it was sad that i had to end it in july; he’s too clever for me.

he did a cover of this for me the last time we were together in la.

white denim / street joy

jamaica (a month later, sorry)

aly and josh put together an amazing trip;
the most fun i’ve had in a very long time.

between julian, ben and everyone’s instagram installed iphones,
i found it unnecessary to take pictures.


 

 

this is mostly for me,
but some indelible memories:

being surrounded by good people for a change.
interacting with brash new yorkers daily can get tiresome.

the jungle.

(newfound respect for dancehall and added the term “daggering” to my vocabulary.)
 

late one night, with her foot in the beach sand,
kim scrawled “kim heart veanne.”
i had always hoped someone would do that for me, never thought it would be her though…
but yeah, i love this girl.


 

the food.

(lovebirds julian and elisa)
 

while the boys were out at a bachelor party one evening,
the girls hung out in the hot tub (at villa sur mer, where we spent the majority of our time),
talking about how much we hated balls.
 

one afternoon, charlie and i swung back and forth on the hammock,
thwacked out of our minds, laughing uncontrollably for the longest time, for no reason,
and i said to him, “lets jump off the cliff.” which we did.
 

brandon and i almost got married there.
i mean, he’s the coolest fucking guy i’ve ever met so it seemed like a brilliant idea at the time,

but then we sobered up and realized it was idiotic, the most trivial detail being we live on opposite coasts.

we’re all sorts of ridiculous.


 

josh’s dj set. and when he dropped back-to-back bobby brown at this bar.

(the birthday boy and his harem.)
 

waking up late sunday afternoon,
dancing and floating around with melissa and kim on our cottage terrace to al green’s “no one like you.”
 

last sunset in negril,

surrounded by everyone, but was by myself at the edge
when tyrone, this sweet boy who lived in the town over,
who i had met the previous day, who had cooked all of us the most delightful lunch,
sat down next to me.
“i have been looking all over for you. i came here this morning asking everyone where you were.
i want to tell you something.”

i started daydreaming about staying in negril,
wondered what it would be like to take him up on his offer,
stuffing my face everyday with jerk chicken, beef patties and curried lobster,
moving at a slower pace,
maybe taking on a few web development gigs here and there,
taking pictures here and there.
i was sure i could live in negril and be happy.
 

last night in negril,
curled up in the hammock with brandon and a bottle of rum.
somewhere in between
giggling because we could hear the fat man and his prostitute having sex in the cottage across the garden from us
and him trying to convince me that i was in love with him,
i was reminded again
how there’s something quite beautiful and sad about the fleeting anythings (moments, romances, adventures).

and then blink,
i’m back in new york working fourteen consecutive days on things that do not thrill me.
i wish i had space in my apartment for a hammock.
 

all photos by:

of course, to truly understand the scope of the trip,
one should visit the entire gallery of 2,425 photos here.
 

currently listening to:
giant panda guerilla dub squad rang through villa sur mer the entire week.

far away

“in these times” (their latest album) is pretty damn solid.
download in itunes here.

negril, jamaica

charlie and i jumped off a cliff.

veanne cao

ps. some people were confused, so to clarify,
yes, that is me and charlie jumping off a cliff, not a stock image.
ben is that good.
 

currently listening to:
every little thing gonna be all right.

three little birds