Cambodia reflections

It’s almost time to say goodbye to Cambodia. The past two and a half weeks have been really memorable – pushing my body to my limits on a bike to get to the temples of Angkor, unleashing my inner Indiana Jones while exploring sometimes deserted ruins, seeing bats taking off into the night, riding on a bamboo train, lazing around in Kampot (a consequence of rainy season), refining my bargaining skills, and the surprising urbanscape of Phnom Penh…

I also visited the Killing Caves in Phnom Sampeau, and the S-21 Prison turned Genocide Museum and the Killing Fields in Phnom Penh. These places gave me chills, eerie reminders of the atrocities that occurred here less than 40 years ago. It made me think of how I felt in Sarajevo, Bosnia every time I walked through a cemetery from my hostel into the Old Town and seeing so many tombstones of people that died within a span of a few years. (Co-)incidentally, it was a year ago since I was there…

For the most part, my posts are positive, and I like to focus on the good of humanity, but being in these places brings into my mind the cruelty and destruction, the bloodshed and violence that humanity is also capable of. So many hearts stopped beating, so many dreams died for unjustifiable reasons…

And I think, my heart is still beating, my dreams are still alive. It would be a shame to let them go to waste.

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One year ago…

“It is only with one’s heart that one can see clearly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.” Excerpt from Le Petit Prince.

One year ago today (1 May), I left home in Canada to embark on my journey of journeys. I learned early on to follow my heart and resolved to follow my own path and not be confined to live a certain way based on perceived norms of society.

314 days out of the last year and 30 countries later, I’m still going strong and continue to be astounded that what was for so long only a dream continues to be my reality.

It’s been a veritable roller coaster, often fun and funny and at times downright terrifying, but one where I’ve dictated where to go and allowed myself to ascend to new heights, not to mention overcoming some very low times. From the outset, I already knew that it was going to be awesome. But I could not possibly have predicted the specific encounters I’d come across that truly showed me how magical life could be. With a strange precision, my path has often converged with others who have shared part of my journey, even if sometimes only for a fleeting instant.

What beauty that I’ve met people who have given me such positivity, new ideas, love and warmth, hospitality and generosity to degrees I don’t deserve. Invisible and intangible, they fill my heart.