I’m having some separation anxiety related to wrapping up the coverage of our six-week tour through Cambodia and Vietnam. This was my longest stretch ever of straight-up non-stop travel, and I learned a lot about both myself and the countries I was in. I can’t seem to let go, so here’s one more post to say goodbye. Our trip, by the numbers, with some of my favorite photos to go along.
Two Countries Compared
When you visit two places back to back like we did, it’s impossible not to pit them against each one another in a favorite country smack-down. For me, it was no contest. Cambodia is a country that speaks my heart. I had so many moments of quiet joy there, so many days that I never wanted to end. I found myself daydreaming about making it my new expat home.
In contrast, Vietnam was a struggle. I pride myself on being able to find something to love about every destination though, and thus my memories are all about man-made fun, with some natural beauty thrown in for good measure. So I walked away with a stomach sore from laughing and a camera full of beautiful photos, but it didn’t wiggle its way into my soul.
Ten Destinations Visited
Siem Reap • Battambang • Phnom Penh • Sihanoukville • Koh Rong • Koh Rong Samloem • Saigon • Nha Trang • Dalat • Mui Ne
View in a larger map
My least favorites? Sihanoukville and Saigon
My most favorites? Everywhere else.
My most most favorites? There is a little extra love for Phnom Penh, Koh Rong, Nha Trang and Mui Ne.
Seven Posts Highlighted
There were posts. Lots of posts.
Some were serious: War Tourism in Vietnam • The Children of Cambodia • Cambodia’s Fading Utopia
Some were silly: Shit I Make My Boyfriend Do
Some were filled with beautiful photos: Diving in Cambodia • Getting Wild at Phnom Tameo • The Mui Ne Sand Dunes
Three Lesson Learned
Lesson One: I tend to be a fairly jealous person, which is how I can get travel envy even while traveling myself. For the most part my trip has consisted of picking a home base (right now, Koh Tao; previously, Scotland) and traveling from there. Sometimes when I hear of people doing break-neck round-the-world trips and hitting everything from the Taj Majal to Maccu Picchu in between, I start to feel a bit green. They are getting so much bang for their buck! But this six (and a half) week trip taught me a very valuable lesson. I could never do that.
I got burned out. It’s hard to travel constantly. I think six weeks might just be the perfect amount of time for me to be in constant movement.
Lesson Two: We like to travel slow (see above). Even this trip, with an average of 4.5 nights per destination, was pretty quick for me. I honestly would have been happy extending our Cambodian visas and seeing a few more of the islands and exploring the North. Mark is a bit more ambitious than I though, and he was ready to move on.
Lesson Three: Spontaneity is fun. My favorite part of the whole trip might just be the fact that we let the internet decide where we would go.
One Video Made
Unfortunately I am not just a hoarder of physical things but also digital memories meaning that I could not for the life of me cut this video to less than 8 minutes and 55 seconds. Considering the average internet surfer has an attention span of about 4.7 seconds, I have thus ensured that only blood relatives and coma patients will make it to the final frame.
Note: I’m definitely not presenting this as some sort of video masterpiece. We didn’t even really think about even making one until the last week or two of the trip, which is why Vietnam features much more prominently! Still, there are some pretty kick-ass shots in there, if I do say so myself.
Fourteen Facts Recorded
15: The number of countries I’ve visited, now that I’ve hit up Vietnam
48: The longest number of hours I was without internet access on this trip (while on Koh Rong)
112: The number of emails I had upon return
939: Dollars I spent in Cambodia
714: Dollars I spent in Vietnam
74: Number of times I wanted to kill Mark
76: Number of times Mark wanted to kill me
176: Number of times we made each other laugh
2: Number of zoos visited (one amazing, one atrocious)
3: Number of aquariums visited
3: Number of cable car rides taken
4: Number of dives dove
1: Number of times I accidentally had a massage at a “happy ending” parlor
42: Days I was grateful to be traveling
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