In Honor and Celebration of International Women’s Day 2014

“International Women’s Day (8 March) is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. In some places like China, Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria, International Women’s Day is a national holiday.”

In honor and celebration of International Women’s Day 2014, these are some of my favorite photographs that I have taken of women in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Bhutan. To me, all these women are beautiful and inspirational.

International Womens Day Vietnam Mekong Delta

International Womens Day Vietnam Black Dzao

International Womens Day Vietnam

International Womens Day Cambodia Silk Weaving

International Womens Day Cambodia Rice Paper for Spring Rolls

International Womens Day Cambodia Pottery Making

International Womens Day Bhutan Laya Woman

International Womens Day Laya Bhutan

International Womens Day Bhutan Laya

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day on March 8 is “Inspiring Change…for greater awareness of women’s equality…for more women in leadership roles…for equal recognition of women in the arts…for growth of women owned businesses…for increased financial independence of women…for more women in science, engineering, and technology…and for fairer recognition of women in sport.”

Sweet Travels!

Quotes and information from International Women’s Day 2014

Pictures are from my previous blogs:
Visions of Vietnam: Women, their Smiling Faces, and their Clothing
Silk Weaving Women in Cambodia
Creating Rice Paper for Spring Rolls, by Hand, in Cambodia
Walking in Perfect Circles: A Woman Creating Pottery in Cambodia
The Unique, Beautiful Women of Laya, Bhutan

To Open and Unlock: A Collection of Photographs of Windows and Doors from Ten Countries (a travel photography book by ME!)

One of the reasons I love to travel is to unlock my curiosity about other people and to open myself to other cultures and religions.” Debby Lee Jagerman

Bhutan Windows and Doors To Open and Unlock

Ten years of travel. Thirty four countries on five continents visited. Thousands upon thousands upon thousands of photographs taken. All while experiencing the people, the cultures, the religions, the scenery, and sometimes even the animals, of the places I visited. And from all this, I have created a travel photography book. A book with ten countries represented, from four continents, based on my favorite subject of my photography- windows and doors.

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Bhutan believes in measuring their development and economy not by a GDP, but with Gross National Happiness. The Buddhist religion is strongly embraced by the Bhutanese. It is in this country where I had the honor of trekking several days to the remote village of Laya, as well as the honor of having a brief conversation with the King and Queen of Bhutan the day after they got married. The above photo from Bhutan is the front cover of my book.

Québec City is one of the oldest cities in North America. It was the historical windows and doors set in stone and brick buildings, along with the matching paint colors of the window frames and shutters, coupled with a modern beautiful display of colorful flowers in planters on the window ledges that were the subject of some of my photographs in Québec City.

Quebec City Windows and Doors To Open and Unlock

Vietnam has 54 distinct ethnic groups, each with its own culture, lifestyle, heritage, language, and style of clothing. The landscape of the country is just as varied. The vibrant and colorful homes of the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam, with their windows and doors, seemed to reflect the equally vibrant and colorful people and landscape of Vietnam.

Vietnam Windows and Doors To Open and Unlock

Quito, Ecuador is one of the gateways to the Galapagos Islands. The restored colonial architecture of the buildings of Old Town Quito, along with the balconies and iron railings of the windows, often overflowing with flowers and plants, captured my attention, and directed my camera lens.

Quito Windows and Doors To Open and Unlock

A 500-mile journey, stretching from the Spanish/French border across northern Spain to the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, is a pilgrimage that hundreds of thousands of Christian pilgrims have walked for over 1,000 years. My pictures in this chapter are organized into colors and other subjects such as materials, decorations, symbols, and objects. Yet many pictures could easily be placed into more than one category.

Camino de Santiago Windows and Doors To Open and Unlock

Bicycling in Skagway, Alaska, an historical boomtown born out of the Klondike Gold Rush of 1898, is the town that started my tradition of taking pictures of windows and doors in 2002. As I zigzagged through the streets with not much intention or planning, I began to notice the older historical homes, becoming aware of porches, stone fireplaces, and other objects. As I took more pictures, the windows and doors came into focus.

Skagway Windows and Doors To Open and Unlock

A five-month solo backpacking trip in Europe brought me to 18 countries, my absolute favorite being Italy. Full of small hill towns, bright yellow sunflower fields, green vineyards, ancient history, fabulous food, gelato. Photos like this one with children’s bikes, made me feel like home. And I found that the windows and doors throughout Italy were as diverse and as flavorful as the gelato.

Italy Windows and Doors To Open and Unlock

Porvoo, Finland, one of the three Baltic Sea Countries that I have represented in the book, is one of the most photographed towns in Finland. It was the cobblestone side streets lined with an assortment of colored windows frames contrasting against the colored siding of the buildings that drew me to photograph here. I felt like I was walking through a rainbow of homes. This photo is the back cover of my book.

Porvoo Windows and Doors To Open and Unlock

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Filled with just one picture shy of 250, and one page shy of 100, To Open and Unlock is a book that you won’t be able to look at just once. With so many pictures, you will need more than one sitting to absorb them all. It is a book that will sit on your coffee table (and your family’s coffee table, and your friend’s coffee table, and your family’s friend’s coffee table) for years to come. Each time you browse through it, you will see a picture that you have never noticed before. Or you may see some new detail in a picture that you have seen before, but didn’t notice its subtleties.

Not only are there all these photographs in my book, I explain what attracts me to taking pictures of windows and doors. In addition, I introduce each chapter with reflections of my travels, including short stories containing experiences, impressions, and information of the countries. I’ve also included great quotes about windows and doors, both poignant and funny, from some famous people, throughout the book.

The book is available for you to order on Amazon, with preview on Blurb. You may also order books for your family, your friends, your family’s friends, even your friends’ family. You may also search for the book under my name, Debby Jagerman, or under the title, To Open and Unlock. One may even search using the words “Windows and Doors.” You may also share this blog.

5% of my profits will be donated to Bhutan Foundation.

Thank you!! and Sweet Travels!

Visions of Vietnam: Windows and Doors

They say that the eye is the window to the soul. But it is the soul that is the window. -Andrew Hamilton

Vietnam Windows Doors

I’ve been known to take photographs of windows and doors when I travel. I don’t know why really. I guess the colors, shapes, patterns, surroundings, decorations, etc. appeal to me. I think the first time I photographed windows and doors was in Skagway, Alaska as I was bicycling around the town.

I have published three other blogs with my windows and doors pictures. Quito, Ecuador. Montepulciano, Italy. Porvoo, Finland.

These photos were taken in the Mekong Delta area of Vietnam, and while they are of windows and doors, they also show the homes as well. I loved the pottery piece, and the various shades of blue and turquoise, in the picture of the home above.

The purple gate and red flowers made for a welcoming entrance into this home.

Vietnam Windows Doors

I liked the child’s tricycle, and the shoes scattered at the front door, of this ornate home.

Vietnam Windows Doors

And the motor scooter and cart with baskets in front of this home are classic items in Vietnam.

Vietnam Windows Doors

I know have more blogs to write in the future on windows and doors, as there are a few other towns in my photo albums. Maybe I’ll even take some pictures of the windows and doors of Bhutan in October!

If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door. – Milton Berle

Sweet Travels!

Visions of Vietnam: Flower H’mong Mothers and Babies

Flower Hmong Mom Baby 1

Even the name Flower H’mong suggests nothing but color. One of the 54 ethnic groups of Vietnam, the Flower H’mong are so-named because of their vivid, intricate, multi-colored embroidery, called pa ndau, which literally means “flower cloth.” This needlework, with its motifs that are geometric, symmetric, and derived from nature, decorates their clothes, and certainly makes for some fabulous fashion.

Flower Hmong Mom Baby 2

Pa ndau is a highly prized traditional art of these people. Passed down from grandmother to mother to daughter, pa ndau originated with ceremonial clothing for major life events including births, weddings, deaths, and for celebrating Tet, the New Year Festival.

Flower Hmong Mom Baby 4

Flower Cloth is also used on common items like carriers that strap babies to a mother’s back.

Flower Hmong Mom Baby 5

Flower Hmong Mom Baby 7

As I walked through the Coc Ly Market in the Sapa region of northern Vietnam, where the Flower H’mong shop for just about everything, including food, household items, material and yarn, there was definitely color all over the place.

Flower Hmong Mom Baby 3

Perhaps I should have written this blog last month, so Happy Belated Mother’s Day!

Flower Hmong Mom Baby 6

Sweet (and colorful) Travels!

More Visions of Vietnam Blogs:

Women Working in a Verdant Land

Inspirational Working Women

Women, their Smiling Faces, and their Clothing

Information source…Ten Thousand Villages

Visions of Vietnam: Women Working in a Verdant Land

I trekked for several days at a time in the Mai Chau and Sa Pa regions of Northwest and Northern Vietnam, trekking from village to village to village. I walked on gravel tracks and small paths; local roads and trails. I meandered through or near rice paddies and rice terraces; corn fields and tea plantations. I was surrounded by forest, bushes, grasses, shrubs, fruit and other trees, and tropical plants. I was fascinated at how everything was so green; and how the greenery was so varied and vibrant.

Vietnam Verdant Land

As a child, I don’t know why, but my Dad used to comment on how green things were where we grew up in California. He would literally say “very verdant,” as he pointed to something around us, and for some reason, I remember this phrase to this day.

Verdant Land Vietnam

So much so, that I kept saying those words over and over again in my head as I experienced Vietnam. And maybe because I was now an adult, Vietnam seemed even more verdant than my childhood memories of California.

Verdant Vietnam Land

I used to think that verdant only meant green, and that was what I thought my Dad implied each time he used the word. But, I have come to find out that it describes more than just the color. Verdant expands green to mean leafy, grassy, lush, luxuriant, fertile, flourishing. And that describes what I saw as I trekked in Vietnam.

Vietnam Women Fields 2

I noticed people working in these verdant fields and plantations and terraces. Men and women. Using water buffalo to plow; using their own hands and bodies to plant the seeds, cut the vegetation, load the baskets.

Vietnam Women Fields 1

The women especially amazed me. They looked like they were working hard, but effortlessly and successfully, with smiles on their faces, and wearing their specific style of clothing …women working in such a verdant land.

Vietman Women Fields 3

Sweet (and verdant) Travels!

Some of my previous blogs on women in Vietnam:

Women, their Smiling Faces, and their Clothing

Inspirational Working Women

The Strength of a Woman