I suppose this why we travel, really.
To have experiences that push outside of our comfort zones, make us see things in a different way. For me, personally, it’s also easier to accept slices of hurt and injustice when I know how big the world is, when I feel the grit in other countries and wipe the sweat off my boiling brow. It’s a source of inspiration, and like all good inspiration, it pushes me outside of my comfort zone and allows me to see things in a different way.
Cambodia is not an easy country for me to visit. But it’s a powerful place – lovely people that are clearly overcoming enormous trauma from their years of war. Angkor Wat is an ancient jewel in their cultural crown.
When I visited Angkor Wat 8 years ago with my friend Nina, the busloads (upon busloads upon busloads filling roads with more busloads) of Korean tourists with their selfie sticks hadn’t arrived yet. She and I were able to sit by one another and sketch the old carvings in peace. We felt lulled by the feeling of the place; there were vibrations all around of another time, one that didn’t involve too many people that were just trying to get the best photo possible in the shortest amount of time. And we loved it.
It was also a time in which I didn’t have 3 kids.
Here are some photos of the first day at Angkor Wat:
Looking back at these photos, I’m amazed at how empty and calm I make it seem with my angles, when in reality I was dodging throngs (and I mean THRONGS!) of people, Mikey and I were getting all pissy with each other, sweat was running down my forehead and stinging my eyes, the kids were cranky and for the most part, completely uninterested in Angkor Wat (dammit! I knew we should have watched that Angelina Jolie movie before we came!).
The highlight was the monkey that strolled past us, and the interaction we had with the little baby and his mother.
How about that.
Lost Coast kids in Cambodia! Interested in everything and fearless explorers!