We’ve reached the halfway point of our one year commitment to living as expats in Phnom Penh and we’re just feeling so dang lucky. Most critical to this adventure, we’re lucky that we both married someone who was willing to leave a great job and beautiful home to live in a developing country. We’re lucky that our parents encouraged us to get a higher education which means that we can now get a decent job anywhere in the world. We’re lucky Adam’s company (Tetra Tech) has fully supported Adam & Jax in this adventure since Day 1. We’re lucky we’ve been able to travel for over 50 days of our first 180 days here and visit 7 countries in the region. Most surprisingly perhaps, we’re lucky we ended up in Cambodia.
Phnom Penh is nothing short of an assault on the senses but for everything it lacks in organization, it makes up for with it’s unique charm and good-natured locals. We’ve grown to seriously respect and adore the Cambodians we’ve befriended. The most perfect example is our tuk tuk driver. Salt of the earth type of guy named Rothdy. Considering what he has been through in his life, this guy has the patience of a saint and smile that makes everything better. If we had a dollar for every time he said “Yeah! OK, no problem!” to our millions of requests, we’d be rich – and then we’d just give all that money straight to him because he, like most Cambodians, makes far less than he deserves. It’s people like Rothdy that have really created a soft spot in our hearts for this country and the reason we’ll miss it when the time comes to leave. (By the way, if you are in Phnom Penh, USE HIM! His phone number is 077 521 542. You will NOT regret it.)
One of my (Adam) favorite experiences so far was in December when I was driving to work on my moto one morning. It’s only a 1 mile ride but I was in a hurry and already frustrated with the chaotic traffic and complete disregard for safety of other drivers. As I was weaving through the side streets of the city, dodging potholes, kids, dogs, trash, vendors, and other cars/motos/trucks, I was finally one block away from my office and cruising at a steady 30mph. At the last intersection before our office, which of course does not have stop signs just like every other intersection in the city, a tuk tuk driver comes speeding out from behind the corner building and into the intersection literally right before I am about to pass through. We both slam on our breaks and slide to a halt with our front tires just barely tapping the other. We both look up, adrenaline pumping and panicked, and he gives me this HUGE grin. The guy was maybe 50 years old and even though he almost just killed me, all my rage melted away with this guy’s mischievous and kind grin. How could I get mad at that?? Like so many things here; nothing makes any sense, but it all works out somehow.
Below is a 1 Second Everyday (1SE) short video of 1 second shots from our departure from Cali and our first 6 months in Cambodia (shot from Adam’s phone, Jax’s last three months is on last post). All in all, we’re so grateful to have experienced the highs and lows of this incredible country.
“Travel wakes up your brain. I’ll go into a new country that I am scared of because of the News and I’ll find it beautiful and shocking. Every hill i cross over is insanely awesome. My brain is fascinated. I didn’t know my brain could be so turned on. I want to be aware of every day I am alive. I wan’t to make it to 85 and be exhausted because I have been alive and awake every single day. I think that is the duty of being an adult. When you’re a kid, everything is new, so you don’t have to work for it, you’re just astonished by it. Once you’re an adult, that’s a choice. You choose adventure for your life.” -Jedidiah Jenkins