First Decades of Exploration Highlights

By Wong How Man


I have just turned 70, and my exploration has reached five decades. It seems proper to say I began my real exploration in 1969, when I left home for America and college.
Curiosity notwithstanding, throughout my upbringing for the first two decades of my life, I could only explore around my immediate vicinity of Hong Kong. It was when I left home that I could physically explore beyond the place of my childhood. And that, I did.
Looking back on fifty years, I reminisce some of the highlights, both in years, months and days. The rainbow of colors and memories are too rich to recount in detail. Through pictures however, I felt such recall could be captured to a degree of time past, and be shared with a few friends.
That culmination of pictures became this first of a series of five books “Life as an Explorer”, a very limited edition of only 500 copies, with merely 200 available for the market. Each book would cover a decade of my exploration work. The book has 425 images, and at a few intervals included Chinese poems I wrote in the 1970s and early 1980s.
The early years of work, including those for the National Geographic, are rarely seen. They are included within pages of the book. Here I have chosen a dozen or so images for sharing. Film in those days was a rare commodity, in limited supply.
Selfie was unheard of in those days. Pictures of myself was almost nil. I recalled on my first trip to China in 1974. In 28 days of travel, I did not have one picture taken of myself. In my first ten years of exploration, I probably have only a dozen or so pictures taken of myself. It seems proper to include some of them here, to reflect on my younger days while in the field.