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I’m having some separation anxiety related to wrapping up the coverage of our six-week tour through Cambodia and Vietnam. This was my longest stretch ever of straight-up non-stop travel, and I learned a lot about both myself and the countries I was in. I can’t seem to let go, so here’s one more post to say goodbye. Our trip, by the numbers, with some of my favorite photos to go along.

Angkor Wat

Two Countries Compared

When you visit two places back to back like we did, it’s impossible not to pit them against each one another in a favorite country smack-down. For me, it was no contest. Cambodia is a country that speaks my heart. I had so many moments of quiet joy there, so many days that I never wanted to end. I found myself daydreaming about making it my new expat home.

In contrast, Vietnam was a struggle. I pride myself on being able to find something to love about every destination though, and thus my memories are all about man-made fun, with some natural beauty thrown in for good measure. So I walked away with a stomach sore from laughing and a camera full of beautiful photos, but it didn’t wiggle its way into my soul.

Windsurfing in Mui Ne

Ten Destinations Visited

Siem Reap • Battambang • Phnom Penh • Sihanoukville • Koh Rong • Koh Rong Samloem • Saigon • Nha Trang • Dalat • Mui Ne


View Our Six Week Cambodia & Vietnam Tour in a larger map

My least favorites? Sihanoukville and Saigon
My most favorites? Everywhere else.
My most most favorites? There is a little extra love for Phnom Penh, Koh Rong, Nha Trang and Mui Ne.

Koh Rong Dock

Seven Posts Highlighted

There were posts. Lots of posts.

Some were serious: War Tourism in VietnamThe Children of CambodiaCambodia’s Fading Utopia
Some were silly: Shit I Make My Boyfriend Do
Some were filled with beautiful photos: Diving in CambodiaGetting Wild at Phnom TameoThe Mui Ne Sand Dunes

Battambang Countryside

Three Lesson Learned

Lesson One: I tend to be a fairly jealous person, which is how I can get travel envy even while traveling myself. For the most part my trip has consisted of picking a home base (right now, Koh Tao; previously, Scotland) and traveling from there. Sometimes when I hear of people doing break-neck round-the-world trips and hitting everything from the Taj Majal to Maccu Picchu in between, I start to feel a bit green. They are getting so much bang for their buck! But this six (and a half) week trip taught me a very valuable lesson. I could never do that.

I got burned out. It’s hard to travel constantly. I think six weeks might just be the perfect amount of time for me to be in constant movement.

Lesson Two: We like to travel slow (see above). Even this trip, with an average of 4.5 nights per destination, was pretty quick for me. I honestly would have been happy extending our Cambodian visas and seeing a few more of the islands and exploring the North. Mark is a bit more ambitious than I though, and he was ready to move on.

Lesson Three: Spontaneity is fun. My favorite part of the whole trip might just be the fact that we let the internet decide where we would go.

Ta Cu Mountain Temple

One Video Made

Unfortunately I am not just a hoarder of physical things but also digital memories meaning that I could not for the life of me cut this video to less than 8 minutes and 55 seconds. Considering the average internet surfer has an attention span of about 4.7 seconds, I have thus ensured that only blood relatives and coma patients will make it to the final frame.

Note: I’m definitely not presenting this as some sort of video masterpiece. We didn’t even really think about even making one until the last week or two of the trip, which is why Vietnam features much more prominently! Still, there are some pretty kick-ass shots in there, if I do say so myself.

Traditional Vietnamese Dress

Fourteen Facts Recorded

15: The number of countries I’ve visited, now that I’ve hit up Vietnam
48: The longest number of hours I was without internet access on this trip (while on Koh Rong)
112: The number of emails I had upon return
939: Dollars I spent in Cambodia
714: Dollars I spent in Vietnam
74: Number of times I wanted to kill Mark
76: Number of times Mark wanted to kill me
176: Number of times we made each other laugh
2: Number of zoos visited (one amazing, one atrocious)
3: Number of aquariums visited
3: Number of cable car rides taken
4: Number of dives dove
1: Number of times I accidentally had a massage at a “happy ending” parlor
42: Days I was grateful to be traveling

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This post has been sponsored by Turquoise Holidays. Please contact them now for a handpicked selection of luxury escapes to Vietnam, Cambodia and other exotic locations around the world.

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25 Comments...
  • Dad
    February 3 2012

    Great post. I love the 14 facts recorded

    • Alex
      February 3 2012

      You have always been a numbers man 🙂

  • Dad
    February 3 2012

    I watched all 8:55….love it

  • margaret
    February 3 2012

    Is that your tattooed foot?

    • Alex
      February 3 2012

      Nope! It’s my friend Suze’s. For all my threats to run out and ink myself on my 18th birthday it’s been four years since then and the idea seems less and less appealing to me everyday. But I’ll never say never.

  • Nadia
    February 3 2012

    Love the video and I’m not a relative or in a coma (though I do make a guest appearance). It’s amazing to see all of the happy travel moments strung together with the sad and frustrating ones left out (poverty, dangerous bus rides, etc.). It is how we remember the places we visit after all.

    • Alex
      February 3 2012

      So true. It is a great gift our mind gives us, filtering out all the crap and leaving us with rosy pictures of the places we have been. I remind myself of that when I’m having a tough day… soon, this will be forgotten! And thanks for watching 🙂

  • Gram
    February 3 2012

    Great post! I’d have watched all 8:55 min. even if I wasn’t Gram. What a life you are living!!!!!!!

    • Alex
      February 3 2012

      Thanks for watching! I am indeed a lucky lady.

  • Karen
    February 3 2012

    Alex!! That was a great, great video–not long enough, but beautiful. I even got a little teary. That ‘roller coaster’ was pretty brave as well. I liked the opening pic of back of helmet. ‘Lucky’

    • Alex
      February 3 2012

      Thank you! The roller coaster was actually a ride at the Nha Trang water park. It was fun, and a little scary because you are in Vietnam of course. And Mark actually took that opening shot!

  • Your pics just keep getting better and better! What a gorgeous life you lead.
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures recently posted..Chicago: Day 2 (Part 2)

    • Alex
      February 3 2012

      Thank you! I think my Photo of the Week project has really helped my photography… you should try it! I would love to see your results.

  • Laura
    February 3 2012

    I want that puppy awwwww
    Miss you

    • Alex
      February 3 2012

      Laura, you would not be able to survive South East Asia without coming home with 1,000 new puppies. They are everywhere. I don’t know how people go about their lives with so much cuteness in every direction!

  • Sophie
    February 4 2012

    Wouldn’t dream of not finishing your video. Inspiring & very well put together! Also really enjoyed your 14 facts:)
    Sophie recently posted..Welcome to Protein Diet For Vegetarians

    • Alex
      February 4 2012

      Thanks Sophie! Sounds like I was wrong and there are internet users willing to watch something longer than a 30 second clip of kittens 🙂 Glad to hear!

  • OrpingtonT
    February 4 2012

    Though I feel a bit of an outsider here among your family and friends, I have really enjoyed reading of your adventures, just as I enjoyed your account of the cruise which first attracted me to your musings. Many thanks.

    • Alex
      February 4 2012

      Thanks to you for reading! I have many vocal family and friends commenting here, but many more readers who are neither. I appreciate all of them!

  • Steve McKee
    February 6 2012

    Hey, I watched it twice! Loved it both times. I was especially taken with the sense of motion, the going forward, established in the opening and then repeated throughout. Not sure if you did this on purpose, but that constant feel of going to, moving on, heading toward — sometimes urgent, oft times not — is a perfect metaphor for your life right now — about which I agree with Gramm: “What a life you are living!!!!!”

    • Alex
      February 7 2012

      Thanks for watching! Interesting insight with the motion and moving forward. It wasn’t intentional, but perhaps we did it subconsciously! And yes, it certainly is a metaphor for our ever-changing lives right now.

  • Bron
    May 12 2013

    I have just spent my babies nap time reading your blog from my balcony here at Golden Temple. I am in love with your photography and fun and insightful words! We got married in MuiNe 3 years ago and have been in Cambodia for 2.5 weeks. My son supports a local school here and we came back for a ceremony honouring him x I too don’t want to leave…..thankyou for all your hard work on your blog!

    • Alex
      May 17 2013

      What a lovely image of my blog being enjoyed on a balcony over in one of my favorite countries! I love that Southeast Asia is such a big part of your life. Clearly it is in mine as well! Happy travels 🙂

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