Cambodia

Postcards From Cambodia: Freedom

Ben,

You were right.

You find your freedom when you travel🙌!

It’s just you and the present day and what you create from that day is up to you. You can wake up in the morning and decide to stay in the exact same spot or you can travel far and wide to explore new lands. Either way, the sun beams down upon you so that you needn’t regret your decision.

I believe that freedom is what humans need to obtain happiness. In fact, it’s what all living creatures need to be happy….a hen’s eggs always taste better when she’s roaming free, a tiger prowls more confidently in the jungle, most fish grow larger if their surroundings allow it…

But sadly, the Western world puts its entire population into a bowl; the bowl of society. Just like a dolphin is requested to do flips, and laugh and wave at the audience – we are made to do a similar performance to stay afloat at work. We’re stunted into believing that a high performance and a fat pay-check is all that matters in this life. Success and money. Success and money. Success and money.

But, what about happiness?

Surely we are not all born to work 40 hours a week, pay extravagant bills and die? Surely we are not all born to be stuck in the same routine with no change apart from ‘a new winter wardrobe’? Surely?

Honestly, I don’t know what we’re born to do – but being part of a society where you ‘live to work’, rather the ‘work to live’ certainly doesn’t cut it for me. Out on Koh Rong island, they’re not obsessed with their job and materialistic tosh…but with their families and the local community that they’re a part of. They simply work to live and provide.

The children will help their parents by selling mangoes and counting change; then they all come together, smiling and greeting the tourists that roam past their shacks.

Photo Credit: Gemma Fraser
Photo Credit: Gemma Fraser

They live an extremely simple life – the island life – where everyone knows everyone. The locals will willingly lend their hand if it is needed and everyone has their part to play. The kids run around, gaily splashing in the shallow shores, roaming free on the sandy-streets because someone will know them and keep an eye on them for their parents. Toys are not to be seen, but shells and swimming costumes and an army of tiny smiles. The women hang their rags in the sun, just like their sunkissed faces as they lean back on a hammock, their chins tilted upwards to quietly contemplate. At night, they all share a room scattered with mattresses and listen to the sound of the waves and the gecko’s song before the sun rises red upon the coastline.

It’s the most simple way of life and it really is beautiful to see. My week in Koh Rong gave me energy; I had little coffee, little make-up, little worries – and man, was I happy!

Don’t get me wrong, the locals have very little – very little money too – but they are clearly content and healthy-minded. Most westerners would not be able to give it all up to earn just enough to live – but at the same time, are they content? Do they struggle to get out of bed in the morning? Do other parts of their life make up for the long hours of boredom they endure?

When your life is consumed with a 9 to 5 job, there’s very little time for anything else. There is very little time for your soul and whatever it takes to keep it bright. You have just a few hours a day to yourself to try and squeeze in hobbies, socialising and fun in general. On the island, they manage to throw all of these parts together to be free – they ‘work to live’. The men take tourists on their boats to catch a healthy fish dinner, the ladies sway their hips in unison as they chuckle down the beach selling their fruity goods, the locals dance around in a circle whilst selling $2 Khmer whiskey to their friends.

I know you understand me Bro because you are just like me and the bowl of society drowns you. All you want is to be out here now, exploring the natural world, immersing yourself in a different culture with an open-mind that’s ever expanding!

We’re lucky to be a part of the backpacker clan that have realised the importance of travelling whilst we’re young, before we’re too settled and stuck in our ways to leave the rat-race. The memories that we’re going to make together in these different foreign countries is likely to bring a lifetime of happiness for us both…

I can’t wait for you to be a part of the adventure ❤️!

See you in Thailand for Christmas…

Love you the world 🌎
Your sis x

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