As you all know, Dennis went on a boys surfing trip this past year. Well, I decided to go on a trip of my own… except mine was quite a bit longer, and quite a bit further away. Me and my good travel buddy Shannon set off on a 17 day girls trip trip to Cambodia.
Shannon pretty much summed it up when she said… “Cambodia was hot and interesting and chaotic and friendly and dirty and sometimes heartbreaking and beautiful and I loved it!”
For those of you who have been to South East Asia, you know that the culture is so different that it is hard to understand. Cambodia is a very poor country, so we set off with all the research needed to be able to be good tourists and be able to give something… if only a little back to the country. One of the things we read is that there are quite a lot of street children, and that it is better not to give them money as to not support that type of lifestyle (if their parents or the people looking after them aren’t making any money then they will stop subjecting their children to that). So going along with this, we came prepared with a whole box full of workbooks, vitamins and other “necessities” to donate to a local organization that worked specifically with street children. The reality, on the other hand is quite different. I have to say we both came home with several scarfs, postcard sets, necklaces and noise makers… and we drank a lot of very warm beers. I can’t even begin to understand the intricacies of this very different culture, so we just tried hard to do what we could and listen to our conscience and hopefully we did more good than harm.
Cambodia is an insanely wonderful place to visit. I can’t tell you how lovely and welcoming all the people are, despite the hard times they have very recently been through. As two women traveling alone with families back at home worrying about us, I can say that we never felt unsafe the whole time we were there. The people, whether they spoke English or not were glad to lend a helping hand. I can’t wait to take Dennis and Alex back there and highly recommend it to anyone!