Its the day by day thing folks – Travel well and go slow!

Today I took care of a final step to get my FujiFilm XT2 camera back from the Camera shop in Phnom Penh. They helped me get it fixed by hand carrying it to the Fuji Center in Singapore. Then they had Fuji ship it back to Cambodia  when it was done.

Now the camera sits in the camera shop in Phnom Penh and I had to deposit $10 US in a bank account that the owner has to pay for shipping to me in Siem Reap. The camera will be shipped via a bus transportation service and I will have to go to the bus station and most likely present picture ID to get the camera. The only thing I have is my passport so that will have to do. It works for everything else here so its good enough :-).

I was going to go to Angkor Wat on Tuesday but now I want to have the XT2 camera back before I go. I really want to use that camera for the visits and tours to the temples here. Since I have a month here, there is no real rush to get a thing done and I can wander the city every day and never get tired of seeing it. The XT2 just gives me a better feeling but I also don’t trust it. I worry I guess that the same thing could happen again to the shutter button and who knows where I would be when it would happen. I’m thankful that I met the camera shop owner in Phnom Penh and he helped me so much get the camera fixed. When I get back to Phnom Penh, I will go see him at the shop and give him monetary thanks for the help!

Life Daily in Siem Reap…

The daily life of this Mike is about the same here as in other places where I spend a longer time. It seems like the first few days I’m in a rush to do things but soon that feeling kinda leaves and I settle in knowing I still have three weeks left as of this Thursday to see the temples, museums, the city and the people. It creates a different vibe for me when I realize I can slow down and not feel the rush that comes with only having 4 or 5 days here. I don’t like traveling that way. In retrospect, I could have not done Hoi An Vietnam at all and added the time to Hue Vietnam. I liked Hue a lot more for the history. I probably could have spent even longer in Da Nang Vietnam. There was something about the city which just appealed to me. If I do go back, I will probably spend longer in Da Nang and shorter in Saigon and Hanoi. I can get the three month tourist visa and spend the most time in Da Nang I figure.

What I guess it gets me to is how the amount of time just works for me on my slow travels. A month just seems to be perfect for most places although Otres Village was kind of stretching it and Kampot was kinda short. I could have done three weeks in Kampot and a week in Otres and called it a done deal.

So when I measure the daily life in places and try to see the quality I enjoy, I always seem to have that rushed feeling at first and then I slow down. It has taken me about 5 days here to realize there is no real rush to doing a thing like seeing the Wats here. I can go at a slower pace, enjoy daily walks with the camera in the city and by the river, go through the markets here, and just enjoy the days at coffee shops, nice restaurants, and strolling.

I’m really thankful in the end for not having some rushed life where I allocate a few days to a place that I then look back on and wish I could have spent longer. I have made the mistake of staying longer in a place though and wishing I could have traded the times around. Truth is I am not done with Cambodia and will do more traveling in the country over the next year. Daily life goes on here in Siem Reap and it will go on in other places.

Balancing it Forward

There is a feeling I get about the balancing of the way I travel and how it seems each time to take a bit to get balanced and to feel not in a rush. I think by the nature of traveling we equate a beginning and end and often the time is days. Perhaps we have it bred in to ourselves to expect shorter times at destinations when we travel. When that whole thing breaks down because time has slowed down and space is wide open we see a different reality. Its a day by day thing in a place like Saigon or Siem Reap. Suddenly each day becomes longer and perhaps has less meaning. The steps I take today and tomorrow become less meaningful in themselves but what becomes very significant is what I see and how I feel and how good the Strawberry Smoothie tastes when I’m done.

So if you can, try to balance the travel forward. Try to be less about the number of places and more about the quality of the moments. I think if you can do that and spend longer and lose the sense of day counts and tours taken and get back to the basic thing about the city, the sights and sounds, the camera; you lose that other sense that time marches on and you have to as well.

No you don’t. You can choose a slower mode of travel and not see the 3 continents and 45 countries. What if you balance it forward and you only see 3 countries in 90 days? You have not failed! You have found the you in places and may find that small side street in Tokyo that beckons you to explore without the tour bus or the alley in Hanoi which is mysterious and only allows bicycles and people?

It is all there when you can balance the travel and you. Perhaps then you come out the winner. Give it some thought. Break the time sequence and embrace the moments.