Wednesday, September 27, 2006

heart drifting eastern...



Travel is a huge part of who I am and what feeds me as a person. Pre-kid we tried to get out more, but now we are down to one or two international trips a year. I've been reflecting a lot lately about our recent trip to Cambodia.



Cambodia is incredibly stunning and heartbreakingly debilitating all at the same time. The spirit of the people, the colors and smells all mixed with the suffering and pain of a nation who is incredibly poverty ridden and desperate, as well as being one of the few nations who have survived genocide in our lifetime. We went for all of the reasons I've just listed, we knew we'd be pushed to explore our own biases, be stretched in new and challenging ways, and well, hell....we love it. Give me a backpack and we are out. No itinerary, no reservations. Just us and the open road.





Most people think of sex trafficking and Pol Pot when they think of Cambodia. Both are accurate - but we can't forget the other nations that drive that market or in the 70's, bombed the hell out of them all which contribute to the horrors that exist today. We visited the infamous Killing Fields and spent a heartbroken day wandering the grounds, the shallow graves, stepping over the bone fragments and clothing still embedded in the ground. Monks chant there 24 hours a day. I have photos of the wall of skulls but I'll spare you that. In fact, I'll spare you the lot of it, but as my heart and mind drifts eastward this early morning, remembering the Temples at Angkor, our bus hitting a water buffalo, the many, many people who survived tremendous tragedy and still laugh in the streets, and the ever so amazing Phnom Penh, it makes me also wonder where you would go, if you could go tomorrow without restrictions, to a place that speaks to your soul.

16 comments:

mad_hatter said...

Thanks for visiting and commenting over in my neck of the woods. I've just read all the posts on this page and I must say that I like your writing, your political awareness, and your outlook on life. I will definitely be back.

As for a place I would go? This one stumped me. I have been so tied to this motherhood thing (my daughter is a cling-on) that I have trouble even imagining a Friday night out. Gack!!! This from a woman who spent from age 20-39 on a bar patio most nights.

OK, now that I've thought about it a bit I do want to go back to Paris and I really want to see the Amazon some day.

acumamakiki said...

Cambodia and Vietnam are high on my list of places to travel someday. We haven't traveled internationally since my daughter was born 5 years ago ~ heavy sigh and I'm getting wanderlust. Except with a high maintenance child, I'm not quite ready to book the flight. West coast travel (by necessity) is enough for now.

scribbit said...

Okay I'm not normally this chatty but I'll comment again since I love the subject of travel . . .

My parents take a huge international trip every year and this week got back from the Baltic. Last year it was Greece and Turkey and the year before Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Korea. The pictures they brought back were amazing. I'd never wanted to go to that part of the world until their report but everything you say they'd agree with. I live vicariously through them every year when they go. Someday . . .

Lisa b said...

Did you bring the baby? I have totally lost my nerve to travel with mine.
If I could go anywhere tomorrow I think it would be Bali. Probably bc all I can think about these days is relaxing.

metro mama said...

I'd love to see Cambodia. There are so many places, too many to list!

Ruth Dynamite said...

My good friend lived in Phenom Penh for a few years and still gushes about how wonderful the people are. (Incidentally, she was able to come to my wedding because there was a "bloody coup" and she and her family had to be evacuated.)It sounds like an incredible place.

Artemis Rich said...

Eastern Turkey, where my grandparents fled genocide. I want to go to Van, the small village of Harpet, sleep under the shadow of Mt. Ararat. Show my daughter the beauty of the land her foremothers left at the point of a sword.

Then we would cross over to Armenia, to see what has been built since. We will visit family in Greece.

And of course we must spend time in the UK. I lived in London for a few years and haven't been back in more than a decade.

crazymumma said...

India. My father, who I loved but who wa also a horrible racist, called it the armpit of the world.

I am amazed when you say you only 'get out' once or twice a year now....we have not truly travelled in years.

cinnamon gurl said...

South Africa. I posted my emails home from our trip to SA in 2005 when I first started my blog. That is a beautiful and tremendously varied landscape, and the people are incredible. That they (all races) have triumphed over apartheid amazes me. My husband's family said that in the 80s most people believed they were on the verge of civil war and total destruction. There are still a lot of problems but it is a beautiful place full of beautiful people.

Do you travel with M? We are thinking of going back in January, when our little one will be nearly a year old. I'm worried about the 20-hour + travel time.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful photos! What an interesting trip. I hope to travel to more places like that when my kids are older so they can see other cultures.

QT said...

I would go to Ecuador. My mom and her entire family are from Quito, and I have been there twice and loved it. Going to the mountains and seeing how simply people live yet how happy they are really gives me a new perspective on how "cluttered" we as Americans make our lives, especially with things that lack importance to hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world.

My grandma died last year at age 95. She lived with us until I was in college, so in many ways she was like a mother to me (my mom worked). In her 70's, she declared that she refused to die here in the U.S. and had to go back to "mi tierra" so she could live out her last days in the country where she was born, to die, and be buried there.

My last memory of her was visiting her in her very humble 2 bedroom house in a not very nice part of Quito, when she was 89. A 75 year old relative was living with her and taking care of her. Every morning she would go out on her patio and water her plants and set out some leftover rice on a ledge and watch tropical birds come and feed on it. She was pretty senile, but also blissfully happy. My very last memory of my grandmother is of her waving good bye to me as she stood outside of the stucco walls around her house, the mountains as a backdrop, cars whizzing by on the gritty streets, and a smile on her face.

So yes, I would go there in a heartbeat - a breathtaking, but heartbreaking, place for me.

Haley-O said...

Beautiful post....And, fascinating....
If I could, I'd go back to Israel....It spoke to my soul when I went at age 14....

Momish said...

Beautiful post and your insight into the culture is refreshing and heartwarming. I miss being able to just get up and go, travel to other places. I really admire your will to continue to this is even with a kid. I soooooo want to go to Greece. I want to wander the streets the philosophers I admire so much once walked along! The history there is mind boggling!

Thanks for visiting my blog or otherwise, I am not sure I would have found you! Well, I have some reading to catch up on here! And I'll be back!
(p.s. blogger account is lbjmom, but my blog is Momish)

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post & beautiful photos.

I almost hate saying 'beautiful' post - because of the plight you are speaking of regarding Cambodia. But you found a way to say it simply & beautifully.

dogfaceboy said...

Those pictures and descriptions are wonderful! Oh, I'm with all these others about it being on my list.

My husband is going to Vietnam as a 50th BD present to himself. I so want to go but I can't.

Stephanie T. said...

Wow, I love your writing. That trip to Cambodia sounds amazing.

Hmmm...I think I would go to Ireland. I have some ancestors from there (and some relatives still living there) and I've always been drawn there.