Two roads diverged in a wood

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I planned one month to see Cambodia. “Just 30 days!” I told people.

I expected to move quickly and efficiently through the country, seeing as much as I could see of all the different regions.

In India I went to six places in three weeks – huge, given how unfathomably large the country actually is. I arrived, saw what I wanted to see and then moved along because I was on timeline that ended with “go back to work.”

One month into Cambodia and I can say that my pace is so much different than I expected. Rather than being guided by a bus schedule or a watch, I’ve based my movement on what feels right, even if it’s unexpected. I didn’t expect to find that four nights in Otres Beach would feel more right than just two. And, turns out eight nights in Kampot feels better than just three.

I’ve woken up for sunrises and spent entire mornings looking at the river. I’ve wondered how sugar cubes are made (they’re molded and then heated.) I read a 386-page book about the political history of Cambodia (corruption.) I thought about the type of mom I’d be and whether I’d skip a trip to Cambodia if my child asked me to (hard to say.) I manned the reception area at Samon’s Village in Kampot because the manager knew me enough to know I wouldn’t run off with the passports (I didn’t.)

I’ve examined bugs in the dirt and jumped off of hunks of wood supported by tires with kids who have no idea what I’m saying. I’ve poked jellyfish with my toes, looked into how many poisonous sea creatures live in the Gulf of Thailand and floated on my back in the sea during a rainstorm.

I’ve stayed instead of rushing off.

In some ways, this is the road less traveled by. And it really has made all the difference.

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