Current home: Penang, Malaysia
Past overseas locations: Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City), Thailand (Bangkok), Malaysia once before (Kuala Lumpur), Hong Kong, China (Shanghai, Chengdu), Philippines (Los Baños)
Cyberspace coordinates: David Hagerman Photography (business site), SkyBlueSky (blog) and @DaveHagerman (Twitter handle)
Recent posts: “My Date with the Bachelorette” (December 17, 2011); “Day Dreaming” [includes a work-in-progress: “The Ferry Boats of Istanbul”] (November 29, 2011)
Where are you spending the holidays this year?
Chiang Mai, on assignment.
What will you do when you first arrive?
I’ll be scoping out shots as soon as I drop my bags.
What do you most like doing during the holidays?
Eating. My wife, Robyn Eckhardt, is a great cook and she always makes something a bit special, if not necessarily traditional, around Christmas and New Year. (She writes about food and food culture, and has a food blog, EatingAsia, for which I take the photos.) For example, she might make devil’s curry, or curry debal, which is part of the Eurasian Kristang cuisine of Singapore and Malaysia, and is often served during Christmas.
Will you be on or offline?
This year I will be working during the holidays. I’m shooting a hotel in Penang and a travel story in northern Thailand with edits in between. I’ll need to be online for most of that time to send images and file the story.
Are you sending any cards?
I’ll admit that I’m terrible about mailers, promotional and personal. Getting better about doing that is a New Year’s resolution.
Can you recommend any good films or books other expats or “internationals” might enjoy?
The BBC mini-series Michael Palin: Himalaya. Palin has a wonderful way of having fun with a place without making fun of a place. I like it when an actor or a writer can transport you to a place and have you meet the people while not making themselves the center of attention in the narrative.
If you could travel anywhere for the holidays, where would it be?
Turkey. I’ve been three times in the past 18 months and it’s become a bit of an obsession.
What famous person do you think it would be fun to spend the holidays with?
The Ventures‘ guitarist, Nokie Edwards. His version of “Frosty the Snowman” is a reason to listen to Christmas music, and if I could talk him into playing “Telstar” as the ball drops on New Year’s Eve then I’d be a pretty happy guy.
What’s been your most displaced holiday experience?
Christmas in Southeast Asia always feels wrong to me. Too much heat, too much sun, too much Christmas for the sake of nothing but shopping. Except for the Philippines. Filipinos know how to do Christmas better than any people I know.
How about the least displaced experience — when you’ve felt the true joy of the season?
In rural northern Italy, where I’ve spent three Christmases, the holiday felt just as it should: a time for eating and drinking and being together with family and friends. The consumerist frenzy was minimal, and everyone was in a great mood, showing kindness to each other and to me. Even on Christmas Eve, when everyone was out food shopping, there was no pushing, no rudeness, no impatience. I’d like to be in Italy again for the holidays.
How do you feel when the holidays are over?
Robyn and I don’t make a big deal of Christmas or New Year’s, so January 2nd feels pretty much like any other day.
On the first day of Christmas, my true love said to me:
ELEVEN CAMERAS CLICKING,
TEN SPROUTS A-BRUSSELING,
NINE CELLPHONES DANCING,
EIGHT WHOOPHIS WHOOPING,
SEVEN SKIERS A-PARTYING,
SIX SPOUSES TRAILING,
FIVE GOOOOOOOFY EXPATS.
FOUR ENGLISH CHEESES,
THREE DECENT WHISKIES,
TWO CANDY BOXES,
& AN IRISHMAN IN A PALM TREE!
STAY TUNED for tomorrow’s featured nomad, the last (12/12) in our 12 Nomads of Christmas series.
If you enjoyed this post, we invite you to register for The Displaced Dispatch, a round up of weekly posts from The Displaced Nation, with seasonal recipes, book giveaways and other extras. Register for The Displaced Dispatch by clicking here!