Monday 19 August 2013

Travels in Cambodia

I'm back!  My three weeks in Cambodia ended yesterday as we landed back to earth with a bump both metaphorically at the end of a truly incredible experience, and literally as the aeroplane pilot smacked the plane into the tarmac with a bit of a jolt!

I did all the boring things yesterday (washing, sorting the mail, accidently dying the washing some interesting colours etc.) and now I can think about the fun stuff.  Let the scrapping commence!  I think what I'm going to do is share a few photos at a time here as I process the memories and write down some of the things I want to remember.  I kept a travel journal in a notebook but there wasn't always time to write as much detail as I'd like; whilst writing a journal under a mosquito net with a head torch is exciting, it turns out you actually do more giggling and gossiping with the others than serious reflection.  But I don't want to forget the details so one of the very first things I intend to do is go back through the pictures and write.  Just let it all pour out.  And then that writing along with my travel journal can be scrapped to my heart's content!

The photo above is one of my favourites - we stayed for a week in a little rural village surrounded by rice paddies, lush green mountains and the looming menace of monsoon rainclouds.  On this particular afternoon, we had just arrived in the village and we were taken on a 4 mile trek along cattle tracks and through trees to a waterfall.  The girls who were with us all jumped into the water in their clothes and swam about cheerfully.  So we joined them, scrambling over rocks and despairing at slightly see-through clothes.  It was baking hot and humid and it did rain a little, but in the cool water, it didn't matter!  

But this photo doesn't tell any of that story.  (Don't worry, there are some pictures that do! But they are currently stuck inside my team's cameras and I won't be able to get hold of them until we meet in a couple of weeks!)  However, this photo does represent the scenery that surrounded us for that entire week - it was literally that beautiful.  Even now, I can't quite believe it. Anyway, while it may not tell a story, I think it will make a great album title page - I'm going to experiment for the first time with having a picture printed at 12x12 size!

I did take a travel scrapbook kit with me (and blogged it here) but as things turned out, we were so busy that I only made a handful of pages.  However, I'm not worried.  I've got my journal and my pictures and all it means is that I still have the scrapbooking to look forward to!

There are so many little stories to tell and I'm looking forward to sharing them.  I find blogging a useful way to record memories too as writing for an audience seems to help me focus my writing. This is a pier off the edge of Rabbit Island - we spent the morning there and it was a beautiful, picture-postcard tropical island.  And virtually empty of people.  Once we'd got over our initial confusion (Rabid island? Is it safe? Ohhhhh...Rabbit Island.  Are there rabbits?  No? Oh. It just looks like one from above) we had a nicely chilled morning which made a nice change of pace in a very hectic trip!

These are some of the amazing girls we met and worked with.  They were so enthusiastic and really embraced our visit, welcoming us into their community. And they wanted to pose for pictures just as much as we did - another of those things that makes you realise that you can travel the world and find that we have so much in common with people everywhere, and that's worth celebrating.

More than anything, I loved being with my team.  The six of us (my hands are missing from this picture as I'm lying in the dirt taking the picture) have lived in the same room for three weeks despite having only met three times before, but they were absolutely brilliant.  We laughed constantly, they embraced every challenge with good humour, they cared about the leaders and girl guides we worked with and they really put everything they had into making it a great project.  Being a leader hasn't always been easy, but without them, GOLD just wouldn't have been the same.

I'm going to pause here for now, partly because I want to order some big prints (I'm disproportionately excited about having really big prints - is that weird?) and partly because I really could ramble around this topic for hours as I peruse my pictures and giggle at some of our memories.  

Kisses xxx

P.S. While I miss my fantastic team like crazy - it's so weird not having them around all the time - it's also lovely to be home, have a cup of tea and a meal that isn't rice.  And it was lovely to be picked up from the airport by the boyfriend (who earned himself major bonus points :D) and to be met in my flat by a freshly backed loaf of bread and a banana loaf cake baked by the friend who flat-sat for me.  


  1. Welcome home! Can't wait to hear about your trip in full and lurid detail (and about ordering 12x12 prints!).

  2. Glad you had such a fantastic time and the photos don't disappoint. Beautiful.
    Enjoy the process x

  3. Glorious photos and I can see you have been very much loved. Delighted it was such a successful project and looking forward to the armchair travel :).

  4. Welcome back! I just returned last night from a long trip to Europe myself but I am admiring your photos! That first one totally deserve to be enlarged!!! Gorgeous! Can't wait to read more about your adventure!

  5. welcome back! sounds like an amazing trip, can't wait to read/see more!!

  6. Looks and sounds amazing. Can't wait to see more posts about your visit!

  7. Welcome home Kirsty! It sounds like it was a fabulous trip with some fantastic stories to tell :) Can't wait to see more pictures and hear all about your experiences, via scrapbook layout or otherwise xx

  8. That sounds amazing! I look forward to seeing the scrappy projects :)

  9. Welcome back - and that will make a stunning title page photo :)