Hometown Huay Xai

Hometown Huay Xai | 10 Years Later

Hello All. Snap Pilot 17 here. I've recently returned from the motherland. It's been 10 years since I returned to the place of my birth; Huay Xai, Laos. The challenge of obtaining U.S. Citizenship, finishing University, and getting my life in good financial shape were the few reasons why it took so long. Pretty much the past five years have been recovering from monetary losses and helping my family pay the bills. With that said, 2015 was the perfect time to fly out and reconnect with all the essence of the Mekong River.

10 years ago, I brought a camera over to Laos and Thailand to take family photos. I wasn't into photography the way I am now. The first trip was a true reconnection of family. You see, I was born in Laos and left before I was 2 years old. At 17 years of age, everything was a new experience. Using my camera to capture it all was definitely a good prelude to me getting into a craft that I would fall in love with. So flying back in 2015, now 27, I was ready to fire off the shutter. I knew I would have little time to shoot, so every snap counted. I'd be snapping photos in between the insane amount of eating and drinking of Beerlao (the best beer this world has to offer :]) at different family's houses. I have a huge extended family and they all wanted to see me. I miss them dearly. This was a vacation after all.

Huay Xai is a small town in the Northeast of Laos. It is close to the Golden Triangle; where Thailand, Burma, and Laos meet. It rests next to the Mekong River and has been a quiet stopping point for many backpackers. The main area of Huay Xai is one long strip of hotels, cafe joints, restaurants, and a main temple. There's a market place where a lot of food is sold and one big building where clothes, jewelry, and electronics are sold. I liked the fact that everyone's businesses were pretty much done at their own homes. The separation between their personal space and work is not as explicit as it is here in the states. Made me fantasize about the possibilities.

My favorite thing to do was to wake up in the morning, have a cup of coffee, and go to the roof of Thavisinh Hotel to let the town's air seep in. There's a sense of calm forever present in this town. Feelings of longing grow strong inside. I know I'm biased; I was born here. I went to the house where I was born. Part of me wants to buy the home so I can make memories of actually living in it. It may just be a dreamer's high to think of such things.

The photos below are all from Huay Xai. I wanted to capture this town and what everyday life feels like. Enjoy!

That last photo is me standing outside the house where I was born, taken by @eranetik. I wasn't able to go inside like I did before, but it's okay. Just seeing it and touching it was great.

I'm definitely going back to photograph the country a lot more. It was necessary for see my family and make new friends. I won't be waiting another 10 years for the next trip.


~Pilot 17