It has been a year since my first trip out of the country, in Cambodia and Thailand. It was unforgettable and made a big impact in my life. Everything was made possible just by thinking of it constantly and a spur of a moment.
Months before the trip, I happened to watch a video about backpacking. I was intrigued by it. Traveling the world, discovering things outside my own understanding, meeting new people and doing it with less money. I’ve also seen wonderful photos of people traveling to other countries which also helped in pushing me to do the trip.
A year before, my cousins invited me to travel with them to Cambodia. I want to go, but unfortunately, I don’t have extra money and I don’t even have any savings to sacrifice since most of it were used to support my parents. There were 3 problems that I encountered before doing the trip which helped me learn and realize things I’m capable of.
The first problem was the lack of money. Fortunately, months before the trip, I got an increase. Helping my parents and saving money became easy. I also saved money from bonuses and from selling food in the office which helped a lot. I happened to solve the main problem. After confirming dates and prices with my friend, I’ve booked the tickets going to Cambodia. Having bought the tickets, reminded me that there’s no turning back.
The second problem was that I don’t know how to make an itinerary. Having none is a big problem, we might spend a lot of money or worse, we might get lost and stuck in Cambodia foooreeeveeer. I’m just a follower when my friends and I have outings together. Where they go, I follow. My solution was to research. I’ve read blogs after blogs until I’ve made a somehow good itinerary.
The third one and the worst was fear. We hear news of crimes and unfortunate events everywhere. We are afraid of experiencing this. When we put this in mind, we end up doing nothing. Luckily, I have a travel buddy, Matthew Gonzales. Having a friend beside you somehow negates that fear. Another thing that helped me conquer fear is the thinking, “If I don’t do it now, when? When I’m 70 years old? When I don’t have the ability to take a thousand steps? ” I kept asking this to myself until finally, the day has come. And besides, there is no adventure when there is no challenge, right?
We started our trip not knowing what lies ahead but to have an adventure we’ve never done before and have an opportunity of many firsts. Our trip is from Siem Reap, Cambodia to Bangkok, Thailand for 5 days.
We arrived at Cambodia at night, dark and fewer people were present. This was my first time away from my country. I was worried of the language barrier but fortunately, people there were also speaking in English. Siem Reap has been a hub for tourists so it was able to adapt to its foreign visitors including the currency being used, which is Dollars.
For our first two days, we went to the Angkor Wat complex. We chose the big circuit which includes these majestic temples — Bayon Temple, Angkor Wat, Preah Khan, Ta Phrom, Banteay Srei and many more. Just by looking at them you’ll be astounded by the people who made it. It often comes into my mind how did they erect these structures with intricate designs without having any advanced machinery. These are works of art. These were built by great men.
After visiting the temples, we also visited Siem Reap’s another tourist spot, the Pub Street. Restaurants, shops, and bars. It’s party time! We tried traditional foods, bought souvenirs and strolled around to see more surprises. We also ended up drinking with people we’ve just met in our hostel.
The next day, we visited the Angkor National Museum, and parks and bought some souvenirs. For our last night in Siem Reap, we prepared our luggage for our trip going to Bangkok. We’re going to leave Cambodia, but it will always be remembered.
In Thailand, we happened to have little time to explore. We rode a bus from Siem Reap to Bangkok, which lasted for 12 hours. We traveled during the daytime, so one day was already consumed just by traveling. But, we didn’t plan to waste the remaining time on our 4th day, so we got out of our Hostel and visited Khaosan Road, which has the famous night market in Bangkok. Foods, souvenirs, and bars were there. It was fun seeing different things and the similarities from where we are.
The next day, we visited the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. It was fun learning about their past and observing their culture which is a lot different from ours. We were planning to visit more temples but it was scorching hot, and we felt very exhausted. So, we decided to return back to our hostel to freshen up before our flight back home. Our time in Thailand was short but it made a huge impression on us.
Throughout our whole trip, we were able to meet different people, drooled at delicious foods, understood cultures, wondered on beautiful structures, and discovered the world around us.
We ended our trip taking home not just souvenirs or remembrances but also lessons from the world that cannot be learned through books or in classrooms, but by going out there.
- I’ve learned that the world is not dangerous as it seems. There will be some dangers, but it is part of the adventure… learn from it.
- Consider traveling not just a luxury but also a learning experience. Spend less and gain more.
- Life is meant to explore, discover and enjoy. Because of our fast way of life, we forgot to enjoy small things, appreciate everything good around us and live life fully.
- Lastly, we always live having in mind biases and judgments. This trip taught me not to judge anything or anyone until I encounter it or know them. Be there first, observe and learn what is really there.
I’ve spent most of my savings on this trip, but deep inside me, I’ve gained more than what money can offer. It is the values that we really need in life. Curiosity. Dreams. and Courage.