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Monthly Journal - January 2024


Cao Dai temple, famous for its unique architectural style.

We post a few snapshots of our daily life on social media, but it's only a small part, about 10%, of what's happening. I didn't want to overwhelm our newsletter subscribers with daily updates, but I still wanted to share a glimpse of our life with you. That's why I thought the blog would be the best place for it. If you like this kind of content, feel free to leave a comment or DM me on Instagram @karoltraveler.

I'd appreciate hearing your thoughts.


We moved to Ho Chi Minh City


After celebrating the New Year with a somewhat ordinary show in Can Tho in the Mekong Delta region, we returned to Ho Chi Minh City, the largest and most modern city in Vietnam. Having spent the last two years in Madeira, moving to a big city (with a population of 9 million) felt nice and refreshing. We haven't lived in a city since we left China at the end of 2019. Little did we know, our plan to spend a week in Saigon extended to over a month, and I'll share the reasons with you now.


As mentioned, we really enjoy being close to all the activities available for those who embrace city life. We signed up for a gym, and Maria even decided to train with a personal coach. I found a mixed group of locals and expats who play pick-up basketball, and I joined them for weekly games. Although I played basketball in a team in my 20s, it's been three years since I last held a basketball, so I'm a bit rusty. Nevertheless, it's so much fun to be back to regular sports activities.


Another thing we enjoy a lot is the variety of food options in Saigon. HCMC is known as the city of foodies, and we're fortunate to try many delicious local dishes as well as some foreign options too. So far, Japanese cuisine has dominated our menu. Ordering lunch online and having it delivered for only $8 allows us to eat out more often than when we were living on Madeira.


Photoshoot for Our client in a modern neighbourhood in Saigon
Photoshoot for our client in a modern neighbourhood in Saigon


Photoshoot for our client in a modern neighbourhood in Saigon
Photoshoot for our client in a modern neighbourhood in Saigon

Commercial Photography in Ho Chi Minh City


We pitched some ideas for commercials in Vietnam to our clients, and they were amazed! We managed to secure three projects just in January. Organizing a commercial photoshoot always brings a bit of stress. Each time, we need to find new locations and models for every project.


We were informed that it might take up to three weeks to receive the products in Vietnam. So, we quickly extended the booking for our apartment to have enough time for this project. Interestingly, we later found out that the local partner shop had these products in stock, and they shipped them to us the next day. We acted fast, and our client received all the materials just two days later. They liked them a lot, so we planned one more photoshoot in February for a different product in Vietnam. Unfortunately, these products weren't in stock, and today marks three weeks since we've been waiting to receive them in Ho Chi Minh City.


Our Photography Guide to Madeira Island
Our Photography Guide to Madeira Island

Our First Digital Product


Our time in Saigon is well-spent. In addition to exploring a bit around HCMC, we're quite busy, dedicating a few hours each day to our Photography and Travel Guide to Madeira. At the end of December 2023, we released a sneak peek of it as a map with pins indicating exact photography locations on Madeira. So, if you like any of the pictures I took in Madeira but can't find the exact location, this is something for you!



Currently, we're working on a catalog that will feature all the picturesque locations on Madeira. Along with photo spots, we'll include the top things to do on Madeira, such as the best levadas, hikes, restaurants, and other attractions you shouldn't miss during your trip, including our perfect Madeira itinerary.


Anyone who purchases our map before the release of our guide will receive the guide for free just before its official premiere!


Workers drying sweet potato starch in Tay Ninh
Workers drying sweet potato starch in Tay Ninh

Traveling around Saigon


This month, we decided to travel to a neighboring town, Tay Ninh, with the hope of capturing workers drying sweet potato starch. Since we enjoyed photographing craftsmen at work in Hanoi, we were eager to repeat this experience in Saigon. With the help of our local friend An Bui, we found a small factory in Tay Ninh, where the locals invited us to photograph them at work and even demonstrate the production process.


Workers drying sweet potato starch in Tay Ninh
Workers drying sweet potato starch in Tay Ninh

Cao Dai temple, famous for its unique architectural style
Cao Dai temple, famous for its unique architectural style

After capturing some decent photographs at the factory, we went to see a Cao Dai temple, famous for its unique architectural style. Caodaism is an indigenous Vietnamese religion that combines the teachings of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism. We arrived just in time to witness the weekly ceremony. It was interesting to see how all the believers participated in specific rituals and wore colorful outfits that indicated their rank in the local community.


Cao Dai believers participate in a ritual wearing colorful outfits that indicated their rank in the local community
Cao Dai believers participate in a ritual wearing colorful outfits that indicated their rank in the local community

We are called Picture the World


And finally, after a few years of brainstorming, we decided on a name that fits all the content we share, from YouTube and the blog to our production business. It feels just right! What do you think about it? Let me know in the comments under the post or at @karoltraveler. I'm always eager for a chat!


Picture the World Logo


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