In January, I wrote a blog post with a series of questions called Ask a missionary. It was essentially for anyone who knows a missionary and isn’t sure what to talk about. It goes through a couple of topics, and I answered the one about where I live. I will tell you a bit about what I do when I get out and about.
How do you travel about?
My two main modes of transport are motorbike and tuk tuk. I use a motorbike for short or easy journeys, especially if I’m not carrying much. Tuk tuks are for long journeys, when I’m shopping, when I’m lazy, when it is raining or for more than one person.
Describe a typical journey.
They are typically chaotic, fun, full of sights and sounds. I prefer driving in Cambodia than in the UK. It is a lot more fluid. You have to be far more aware of your surroundings but, conversely, there is also a lot more room for error. If I’m stressed or angry, I love going for a motorbike ride. It gets you out of your head and breaks what I call the “washing machine of negativity”, when unhelpful thoughts are just swishing in your brain. You have to focus on what is in front of you and on the here and now. It’s like mindfulness on adrenaline.
I described a typical journey in this post.
Do you feel safe when you travel?
Mostly. You have a few, “Oh I nearly died” moments each time. But in Cambodia, the phrase “as miss is a good as a mile” is a positive thing. If they missed you by just half a centimetre then they still missed and it’s all good.
How often do you go out for leisure?
Fairly regularly. Maybe once a week.
What is there to do where you live?
Phnom Penh is the restaurant and cafe capital of the world (okay, a slight exaggeration, but there is a really cool food scene going on – have a look at all those photos). There are also markets, book shops, gyms, climbing walls, bowling alleys, cinemas.
What do you do to relax?
Cafes, reading, some arty things occasionally.
Tell me about your ideal day off.
I did! In the post Sit and Relax. I also just love going to Khmer food stands with Vitou and eating some delicious and simple Khmer food.
Where are your favourite places to visit? Why?
I love the Riverside in Phnom Penh, the Russian Market and Central Market. I love the food, restaurants, cafes, people-watching opportunities, the sites, the sounds. There are just so many things to try and explore and to see.
Where would you like to visit? Why would you like to go there?
I have an aim to visit every province in Cambodia. I have visited 11 provinces so far, 9 of which I feel like I’ve seen a fair amount of. However, places I really want to visit are Battambang Province and Ratanakiri Province. They just seem beautiful and wild. Travelling was limited in 2020, so hopefully 2021 will be my opportunity to see more?
What activity do you hope to do? Why do you wish to do that?
I want to go to a Khmer cooking class. Although I can just do it with my Khmer family, it’d be nice to do it in a group. I also want a Cambodian music lesson, just to have a go at seeing whether I can learn an instrument!
What place did you find the most interesting or rewarding? Why was that?
I really loved my holiday in Mondulkiri. It was cool enough to be outside a lot and be relatively active. But it was also just great to have a few days with Vitou. I really appreciate his company and how easygoing he is.
What activities would you like to do but can’t? How does that make you feel?
Just walk around the city. Cambodia is just so hot, that it is really hard to just go for a stroll. On days where I have gone for a wander, you have to plan a cafe break every kilometre or so, just so you can sit down and rehydrate.
What do the locals do when they have free time?
Karaoke! And lots of food and lots of beer.
What is your opinion of how locals spend their free time?
You have to find ways to manage the pressure to drink a lot. One way I found was to carry an empty can and just drink out of that. Or say you have a headache or worried about diarrhoea (which seems to always work).
Do you feel bored or stressed where you are? If so, how could you change this?
No, but I want to be more proactive about exploring Cambodia, and even just the backstreets and nooks and crannies of Phnom Penh. I want to try and establish a routine where I am confident to go somewhere Cambodian without Vitou.
What unhealthy habits do you have when it comes to spending your free time?
Lots of sweet, sugary coffee: it’s not good for me. Too frequent naps and, of course, social media.
Are you stewarding your money wisely?
Lots of sweet, sugary coffee is not good for my wallet either.