Chum Reap Lear

Travelling is officially over. In a blurry couple of weeks, we have lugged our rucksacks through seven new cities, several dismal dorm rooms, and countless methods of transport.

Now we’re in Cambodia, and we’ve made it to the point where we can count the days left of our gap year on one hand. My world is jumbled up and surreal and terrifying. The only thing I’m sure of is that I’m ready to go home.

Chiang Mai

In a completely different universe to the beaches and islands of southern Thailand, the North was a little wonder. Chiang mai was such a gem of a city. It is cool (literally cool, I had to buy a coat) and littered with mist-shrouded mountains. In comparison to Vietnam, the people were warm and our time was relatively hassle-free.

Lexi and I were enthralled by the huge and sprawling Sunday walking street market. We began a love affair with Thai food and in a cooking course I made a Panang Curry which was hands down the best thing I’ve ever eaten. We visited an elephant jungle sanctuary which was an experience most can only dream about. To spend a whole day patting, feeding, swimming with, chasing and chucking mud on a bunch of energetic and happy elephants was unreal. Elephants are such worthy creatures and I left them feeling ridiculously lucky.

Pai

We spend a weekend venturing out to a small town called Pai with Charlotte and Esme. The journey to this little hippie gathering in the jungle was pretty horrendous; hair-pin curves in the road and a wildly travel sick child on our bus was not the best combination. Pai was stunning and resonated more with the Swiss alps than Asia. We did some outdoorsy stuff and spontaneously hiked in a canyon, climbed a dangerously slippy waterfall, and went to a natural hot springs pool.

Travelling was a good way for me to see how radically different Cambodia’s neighbouring countries are in every way possible. We didn’t waste any time and tried to make the most out of everything thrown at us. But if anything, having time away has made my love of Cambodia burn even stronger. To hear people speak Khmer on our plane from Bangkok was amazing, and already, my mouth aches from smiling since being here. It’s going to be hard to leave and say yet another set of goodbyes.

This year has been tough and has stretched myself and Lexi to extremes. It’s also been hugely fulfilling. It sounds clichéd but the past year has helped me not only to find my feet, but also to be sure of the ground beneath me. I can go home feeling more comfortable with who I am and the choices that I make. I understand now the freedom that comes with being privileged, so when I am England I will carry with me an awareness of how lucky I am and the responsibility to be wise and humble. Firstly, I couldn’t have done it without my beautiful and headstrong best friend. Lexi and I will always have this shared experience to look back on. But I also couldn’t have done it without everyone who donated, helped me with fundraising, wrote to me throughout the year and those who have given so much support and love. I am eternally grateful. So that is all from this blog for now, and I really do appreciate everybody that has been reading it and keeping up with my time in Cambodia.

Chum Reap Lear!

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One thought on “Chum Reap Lear

  1. All my love.  Take time and space to reflect.  You are both so beautiful and what you have accomplished over these past 12 months is incredible. Love Ann xx ( St Bede’s  waiting to see you soon) 

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