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American living in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photographer, teacher, geographer, writer.
Photo by Nitin Badjatia on Unsplash

At present, humanity is facing a multitude of global environmental crises on a scale never before experienced in our history, and frankly, we are to blame for all of them. Air and water pollution, deforestation, mass extinctions, and at the crux of it all, climate change, are the direct result of humankind’s own destructive and short-sighted behaviors, and they now genuinely threaten our very existence on this planet.

With the exception of certain groups of people that refuse to live in reality with the rest of us, most people around the world understand and accept that what I’ve just written…


Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

A little more than three years ago, I found myself on a plane somewhere north of the Arctic Circle, in the midst of a 13 hour flight across the world — the longest leg of a journey to Vietnam where I’d long since planned to begin a new chapter of my life. Between fleeting moments of truly unrestful sleep, I kept thinking about the state of the world as a whole, and specifically about the way things were going back in my home country, the United States. Everything seemed to be falling apart, nothing seemed normal or to even remotely…


(Photo: Brian Babineau / NBAE via Getty Images)

The NBA Draft, undoubtedly one of my absolute favorite dates on the sports calendar each year, was held last night, with one of the most promising groups of incoming players in recent memory hearing their names called and getting their first taste of the NBA limelight.

While we’re still about 11 weeks away from the 2021–22 NBA season tipping off, I’m already starting to think about the rookies I’d most like to add to my NBA Top Shot collection in Series 3.

If you’ve followed my work at all in the past, you probably know what a huge dork I…


$5000 Otis Top Shot Dapperbucks

With the 2020–21 NBA season finishing up Tuesday night, and the Bucks having already paraded the Larry O’Brien Trophy through the streets of downtown Milwaukee, the offseason — or silly season, as I prefer to call it — is officially upon us.

This will be the first time in its short history that NBA Top Shot has to navigate an NBA offseason with a sizable and extremely active userbase, and there is truly a lot of uncertainty, along with some hesitant optimism, about how things are going to go.

I thought this would be the perfect time to do the…


Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, on a beautiful afternoon earlier this year.

I still remember vividly the first time I learned about the virus that would define the entirety of 2020. It was a couple weeks before I was about to fly back to the US from Vietnam to visit my family during the Lunar New Year break, and a friend sent me an Instagram post about a mysterious illness in China that was beginning to cause some worry. I chalked it up to being just another passing news story at the time, but that idea ended up being quickly proven wrong.

Flying back to Vietnam via Tokyo a few weeks later…


A COVID-19 safety poster is displayed in a park in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Translation: “COVID-19 pandemic prevention is to protect yourself, your family, and the society.” (Christopher Otis, September 2020)

From the very beginning, Vietnam has undoubtedly been one of the world’s best stories in regards to managing the COVID-19 pandemic.

After decisive action was taken to mitigate the spread of the virus way back in February, which eventually culminated in the decision to ban all public gatherings of more than two people for the entire month of April, the country of nearly 100 million, which shares a long border with China, virtually eliminated the virus from the community. …


The Saigon Planning Exhibition Center (center) and Saigon One Tower (left) are two of Ho Chi Minh City’s most famous abandoned construction projects. (Christopher Otis, August 2020)

Ho Chi Minh City, the commercial and financial center of Vietnam, is a bustling, rapidly modernizing megacity. Still colloquially known as Saigon, its former name from prior to the reunification of the country in 1975, it is the largest city in a country that features one of the fastest growing economies on the planet, and is thus constantly undergoing massive changes to its landscape and infrastructure.

One of the side effects of the huge growth that the city has seen — the official population of the city proper has almost doubled in the last 20 years from about 5 million…


Photo by Viktor Forgacs on Unsplash

Imagine, for a moment, that you’re a university student who studies geography. You are having this conversation for the 11th time this week, and unfortunately, you know that it won’t be the last time.

“What’s your major?”

“Oh, I study geography.”

“Cool! Like studying rocks and stuff. So you’re going to be a teacher?”

“No, that’s not exactly…”

“…so what are you going to do with that degree?”

“………”

This was a typical experience during the four (okay, five) years that I spent at the University of North Texas as an undergraduate student; having to regularly explain my major (and…


Poster welcoming the 17th Đak Pơ District Party Committee in Đak Pơ,Gia Lai, Vietnam. (Christopher Otis, July 2020)

Every left-leaning American has probably heard it at some point.

“If you love socialism so much why don’t you move to a socialist country?”

It’s a tired trope, but one that Republicans and other conservatives have latched onto for quite awhile. Fox News pundits have certainly expressed similar sentiments on-air fairly often in recent years, possibly even more so prior to Trump’s presidency during the Obama years.

In the lead-up to Trump’s election in 2016, I definitely heard it a bunch. At the time, I was a passionate Bernie supporter reluctantly planning to vote for Hillary and, being that I…


The sun sets over Long An Stadium as V.League 2 sides Long An FC and Phố Hiến FC clash on 19 July, 2020. (Christopher Otis)

With much of the world still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic fallout that has followed, the sports industry has of course been deeply affected. Around the globe, professional sports leagues were abruptly stopped in their tracks as the virus began to take its hold, in some cases before new seasons could even get off the ground. However, in the past couple of months, sports leagues have finally begun to slowly resume play, offering a slice of normalcy for a world that so desperately needs it.

While the return of major professional sports, such as Europe’s top football…

Christopher Otis

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