Today I turned thirty. I spent most of it wandering the streets of central Bangkok. A new decade, a new part of the world for me.

The day of my previous birthday, I was pulling into Juba—the soon-to-be-independent capital of South Sudan—on the bus from Kampala.

Juba to Bangkok. Of what I saw today, the two cities couldn’t be more different. Only the lean-to houses lining a railway track resembled something similar.

A year ago, I was expecting a struggle to begin a career in the world of the news photographer. A year later, I had lived that struggle through some of the biggest stories of 2011: South Sudan’s referendum and subsequent independence; the war in Libya; drought in the Horn of Africa, seen from Kenya and Somalia; and finishing up with the elections in DR Congo.

Now, I can’t help but wonder what I’m doing here, a world away from all that. It’s become hard to take a holiday.