I’ve never liked leaving my home for a trip. It always puts me in a weird mood. In fact I usually take quite a while to actually book my ticket. It’s as if I’m waiting for something to change. What? I have no idea. Just something that will, you know, change things. And maybe. Just maybe I won’t have to go.
It’s too bad we don’t have a Star Trek like transporter that can get us from A to B in an instant. Richard can you get on that. Branson that is. The teleporter, Melatonin and I’d be all set. Think of the entrepreneurial opportunities.
The trips I take these days overseas I try to make less than two weeks. If I’m heading to Cambodia like I did this last visit it was only 11 days door to door. Not bad. Fairly quick. I was on the ground in about 21 hours into Phnom Penh. I like saying the name of the capital city. Many expats are too lazy to pronounce it like Cambodians and they make the Ph silent. It’s just laziness really. When Cambodians say the name of their city it has a definitive Puh sound to the pronunciation of the P – a little harsh and with a whole lot of pride behind it.
I’m still jet lagged and I’ve been home about 10 days now. Every time I leave Cambodia a part of me is left behind in country. My heart can only take so much division. My EQ is suffering. Not 100% sure why I love Cambodia so much, but it’s a combination of the country, the people, the food, the history and my wife Elizabeth. We fell in love in SE Asia really and so every time I travel she comes with me as well.
Cambodia is a place that one day we will live in as a family. My wife, Elizabeth will teach and I will do the work I do and our children will be able to experience another culture for more than just a few weeks as white, rich, disinterested travellers.
I do love coming home though. Sometimes I book a longer trip knowing that I will probably be able to get out of the country a little early. This always seems like such a gift to me. I get to tell everyone I care about I’ll be home early and those I would like to avoid for one extra day don’t need to know my flight plans. Devilishly clever.
I remember my introduction to Cambodia many years ago. A friend of mine, Jay Sankey, bought a copy of a book for me for Christmas called, Cambodia, A Book for People Who Find Television Too Slow, by Brian Fawcett. An excellent and compelling read. I highly recommend it. It told the story in one long footnote of the Khmer Rouge and their attempt at eradicating the memory of a country and its people. Fawcett then compared it to the disappearance of collective memory here in the West through our love for and fascination with media of various kinds. The rest of the book was a collection of short stories that were funny, important and to the point.
Up to that point my understanding of South East Asia had come through TV and Vietnam War films. I would never have thought I would have wound up loving and working in a country that I would not have even been able to find on a map.
Television is too slow. Then there’s Cambodia. The Kingdom of Wonder.