Last January, I made a list of things I needed to do this 2016. And going to Cambodia was on top of it!
Ever since I got my camera (in 2014), I would dream of going through the various temples taking snapshots of world treasures both in sunrise and in sunset. I don’t know why it took so long for me to do it, but when it finally happened, I couldn’t help but just sit and appreciate the wonder around me.
I had booked my trip at an impulse two weeks before I was set to fly. There was this nagging feeling I couldn’t shake – one that was pushing me to (1) go on an adventure, (2) write my book (more on that soon) and (3) fatten my heart.
I booked a room in Villa Medasia (beautiful place – you should check it out) that’s owned by an energetic and beautiful lady named Valentina. The first few days in Siem Reap, I was engrossed in my writing and would stay in the room for hours on end just typing furiously away. And then, the most wonderful thing happened – a couple of friends crossed the border from Bangkok for a few days of fun and adventure.
So the next few days were spent going on temple runs.
Through the intricately carved pink walls of Banteay Srei.
Through the lost “in situ” world of Ta Prohm – the perfect marriage between man and nature.
Through the towering smiling faces of Bayon.
Through the rain and puddles to chase an Angkor Wat sunset.
Through Beng Mealea – a scene straight out of an Indiana Jones movie climbing rocks, balancing on wobbly stones, crouching through fallen door frames, going through dark tunnels and looking up at giant trees that have taken over what once was a busy palace courtyard.
Through the elephant terrace as the sun was still warming up.
Through the maze of Preah Khan and the quiet of the jungle.
Through the tall fortress of Banteay Samré.
Everything that I had imagined my Cambodia experience to be was completely trumped by what actually happened. There were no sunrises and sunsets or too drunken nights on Pub Street. It was nothing short of remarkable – an experience that could be easily described as an eat pray write trip.
I remember emailing my osteopathist, Faith, after my trip to Beng Mealea. I had promised to send her proof of life and some stories while I was away. Of course I told her of the rock climbing and the stone hopping and how my body was complaining a day later. What she told me next was so apt – “Don’t worry about your body for now – I’ll take care of it when you get back. Enjoy your time feeding your soul.”
It really is a mighty wonder how the universe knows when your soul needs a jumpstart. I have never felt more at peace with myself than that time in Cambodia. The morning coffees, the tuktuk rides, the ten-hour writing sprees, the whole-day temple runs, the photos taken, the wine glasses raised, the glorious sleep that was and the quiet (oh the quiet!) made everything so perfect.
These reminders from the universe that come in nagging feelings that you can’t shake off really do bring a whole new meaning to the concept of “rest.” Sometimes, it isn’t about sleep or doing absolutely nothing (while those are also absolutely amazing). Sometimes, it’s about running off to a new adventure because your soul needs time to absorb the world’s beautiful energy.