Travel: 10 life lessons learned from traveling Cambodia

(From The Secret Map)

By Simon Slater

We travel for many reasons.

We want to escape our daily routine. We want to see the world and how others live. Some of us go for an extended holiday while others wish to challenge themselves by living on a frugally and taking the road less traveled.

On a recent trip to Cambodia, I desired to do all of the above. I left with lighter pockets but spiritually richer. Here are ten things that Cambodia taught me in the school of life.

Monk with monkey

Monk with monkey


Do a little planning – or don’t. You’ll meet plenty of people along the way to help guide your decisions, and the best ones usually come from gut instinct. Too many of us are rushing about from A to B without stopping to smell the lotus flowers. Slow down. Loosen your schedule. Play by your rules and don’t do what you think your supposed to be doing, go with what feels right.

Too many of us are programmed by society to organize every last detail, making sure everything is perfect. Well, travel, much like life, is never smooth sailing. Things will go wrong so learn from your mistakes or misfortunes -they will make you stronger and wiser.

2. SHARE YOUR PASSION – At a guesthouse I met a young man named Jacob. Instead of the typical “What do you do?” he asked me “What’s your passion?”. We shared with each other one of our interests, mine photography, his drawing and painting. When the guesthouse owners knew what we did, Jacob was commissioned to design his first mural for them, and I was tasked to document the process.

Cambodian sunset

Cambodian sunset

Over the course of five weeks, I saw an incredible amount of creative talent emerge from people both individually and collaboratively. Showing your talent not only displays it to the world, but the sharing of it encourages you to up your game.

The merging of different crafts as people create together creates new forms of expression, and can create a ripple effect, inspiring others and even forming communities. Otres Beach on the south coast of Cambodia one such community of artistically minded foreigners forging an alternative society for themselves outside of their previous ones made for them.

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Image in Angkorian temple

Image in Angkorian temple

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