1,456 Days in South East Asia

In Cambodia, Living in Phnom Penh, Travel

Four and a half years ago we were attempting to save our meagre incomes (save them from the pub that is) and selling our frankly crap possessions in yard sales, with the idea of leaving Australia and doing “something exciting, somewhere else”. It was a vague plan and when pressed for details, at work events or family parties, we didn’t have too much more to tell people.

We were both passionate about starting an adventure, we wanted work and live and know a foreign place, and we knew that wasn’t going to happen sitting behind a computer in suburban Melbourne looking for dream jobs. So the only option was to go. We weren’t totally unprepared; we were young professionals with a little post-university experience and a lot of enthusiasm. We talked to people who worked in development in Asia. We did as much research as we could could. But we had no jobs and no real prospects, just a willingness to travel around Asia for 6 months, some money saved, and the knowledge that if we failed, well it would have been a great trip. We were willing to volunteer, to intern, to work for pennies – we just wanted the experience.

Around that time I added a countdown app on my computer, watching the numbers fall from 50 to 1 painfully slowly as our departure inched closer. Weeks later, as I boarded a Jetstar flight out of melbourne, the timer hit zero, and our new, very different life began.

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The timer kept on going. I never turned it off, and once it hit zero it started counting upwards. Since that day, through 5 months of travelling through south-east Asia and 4 years working and living in Cambodia, it has been a reminder how taking a risk turned out to be one of the best decisions we have ever made.

We are now preparing for our next big move after what I know is exactly 1,456 days in Asia.  Our time in Cambodia has given us everything.  We’ve built new lives, new friendships and new careers.  But it’s time to move on.  We are feeling the same mixture of excitement and trepidation, the same fear that it may not work out and the same optimism that it will be fine. But frankly, that’s what makes expat life so goddam exciting.

As we are dusting off our backpacks, we’ve decided to dust of this blog as well.  We’ve hardly posted on this blog for the last few years. We started the blog to keep us busy, to learn some new skills and to keep connected with our families and friends. And it’s done that and more – it’s ever earnt us some money.