Tom Vater

Tom Vater

Irreverent, informed and downright eclectic crime fiction and reportage from Southeast Asia and beyond

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A Day in the Life – Photo Moments of a Territorial Agnostic

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Where it all started – standing atop a sand dune in the Draa Valley around Zagora in southern Morrocco in 1992. It looked and was unbearably romantic. I can still smell the sand today.
Zagora was to become one of the main locations for the shoot of Paul Bowles‘ incredible novel The Sheltering Sky which I was reading at the time. It was also pretty much the place where I decided to become a territorial agnostic – or perhaps I did not decide anything at all, it just happened. I had found my thing, my groove, the narrative that would propel me forward in life right up to this very moment. Six months after scrambling up the sand dune, I was on a plane to India. Five years into my incredible journey I found myself in Kathmandu, Nepal, selling my first story to a local newspaper. I was filled with insatiable curiosity. I became traveler, then writer. And that was that. Since then I have stayed on the road, mostly in Asia, with occasional forays into the US, Europe and the Middle East. I have had the privilege to observe enormous changes, and I have been lucky to have been able to make a living from reflecting on these changes.

My travels have led me across the Himalayas (on foot), given me the opportunity to dive with sharks in the Philippines, watch a World Cup in Iran, and left me stranded in dozens of train stations, airports and bus terminals around Asia, Europe and the US.  I joined sea gypsies and nomads, pilgrims and soldiers, secret agents, pirates, hippies, police men, rock stars, serial killers, prophets and tattoo masters. Some of them became my friends. It’s been a dream life even if it sometimes left me destitute and quasi insane. If I had to do it all over again I’d stay home and become a bank manager – only kidding and apologies to the bank managers of this world who enjoy their work. What do I know.

A Day in the Life is a series of photo posts I first started on my Facebook page a while back. In the past I sold my photographs. Thanks to the Internet, most images have become virtually worthless. Mine gather digital dust on volatile hard drives. When one day the mess comes crashing down, those images, virtual and barely real as they are, will disappear. Unlikely it will be a great loss to anyone other than myself. But then, it was always about myself. Writing down what I saw and photographing what I witnessed was my way of making sense of the world, to fulfill a very basic urge – to understand myself a little better. Arranging my impressions into words and images was the best I could do to go through life without going mad, to make a living and to stay connected to the road. And while I have miles to go before I sleep, I will post some images that mean something to me on this blog. A little eye candy, a few fleeting vistas from 25 years of LIFE on the move.

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