Cambodia — another place I can’t say for certain I knew existed five years ago, but was suddenly itching to get to. After my rollercoaster planning of this summer, when I thought I would be cutting my trip much shorter, my Dad volunteered to take two weeks of his vacation time and fly 24 hours each way to come spend 12 days with me in Cambodia, all so that I could extend my trip two weeks longer. Since we had a strict 12 day schedule, I had the whole thing planned out ahead of time: 4 nights temple hopping in Siem Reap, 3 nights in the capitol Phnom Penh and 3 nights seaside in Kep.
One benefit of traveling with my Dad was getting to see the opulent side of traveling in South East Asia- after all, this was his vacation time, and he certainly didn’t want to spend it in dirty hostels. Still, our high rolling hotels averaged out to $50 a night- including pools in our first two locations, an ocean view in the third, and breakfast each day in all three. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my little bungalow in Koh Tao and later laughed my way through nauseating conditions in Malaysia… but it was nice to break it up with a little luxury. Transit was easier as well. Though we would end up taking an $8USD, 5 hour bus ride between Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, we splurged on a flight from Bangkok, where my Dad came in, to Siem Reap. Most travelers go overland as there is a monopoly on the route making it prohibitively expensive, but we were on limited time and frankly didn’t want to spend a day of it on busses! And as we hopped on that 40 minute flight into the Kingdom of Kampuchea, I was once again grateful for the way that roller coaster ride ended.
Because even if we had stayed in hostels, even if we took the bus there, in the end there was no one better to be traveling to this place with. I got to go on a great adventure with someone who would appreciate the things we would see, soak in the history, and have read the National Geographic article about it. No one would raise their eyebrows at my obsessive guidebook research or diet coke for breakfast. I know we will remember and talk about “that time in Cambodia…” together for the rest of our lives. And when I used to talk about my big plans to go to Asia, most people would nod politely at my pipe dream. But my Dad knew I’d get there and he helped make it happen. Not a lot of people can say that about their traveling partners in crime.