This is the first post in the series of posts that talks about my experiences in Cambodia. I fondly call it as Temple Run – the title that perfectly sums up my adventures in Cambodia. When I talked about my trip to friends, family or even the backpackers whom I met during my journey, I was asked lot of questions. This post is about those questions that were asked by almost everyone.
How it all begun?
Post my bike trip to Bhutan, I made myself a promise – Visit at least one foreign nation in a year. And Cambodia happened this year!
I was not surprised to hear this question. It is an off beat place and not many Indians visit it as they visit other countries. Well, the answer to this is a bit weird. It all boils down to those moments when I was attending a General Knowledge class in 5th grade. There were lot of questions discussed but one question was etched in my memory forever.
“Which is the world’s largest temple?”
I was wondering if it’s Tirupati or some temple in India. I was bowled when I heard the answer.
“Angkor Wat, Cambodia”
Where’s this place? Are there Hindus in other countries far from India? How big is it?…And several other questions popped into my little brain back then.
19 years later…I found the answers.
Why travel alone?
Well, the honest answer is that I couldn’t anyone to accompany me for 2 weeks. It was completely unplanned and unintentional. To be frank, I was a bit scared at the idea of travelling alone to a far off place for 2 weeks.
Having said that, I really wanted to test if I could actually travel alone. You ask me about the result? A big YES!
What did my parents say?
The first question they asked me was “Why? There are many places in India to visit. Why go somewhere and that too…alone?”
I gave some gyaan on why I want to travel but what convinced them most was my conversation with the Indian Embassy official in Cambodia. Coincidentally, he happens to be a Telugu and this sort of helped me win big 😉 I must thank them for keeping their fears away and let me go without any pressure.
How did I plan?
Some of the best things in the life happen without any planning and this trip is one such instance. I was not even sure if I would go anywhere, let alone Cambodia.
Thanks to Grofers, my previous employer, who let me go just after 7 days of resigning and giving me 4 weeks of free time to explore before I join Uber. I wanted to travel within 2 days after I exit Grofers, and hence got a pretty short time to plan.
All I did was to book return flight tickets to Cambodia and the first 3 nights in Phnom Penh, the capital city. It was the complete lack of planning that made this trip a lot more exciting and adventurous, if I may say.
Was I scared?
I was shit scared not for the fact that I am going alone but due to the error in my passport. The pincode of my address had one digit missing and I felt I might be asked to return back from the airport in Cambodia. Having said that, I was a bit scared to travel alone. But all that vanished into thin air after my first day of the trip.
At one point of time, within few hours into my journey, I was actually making plans to cut short the trip as I felt I would get super bored to spend 14 days in Cambodia. But, time just flew and I lost a track of time.
Now, I get to say that I did understand the true meaning of “what it meant to spend time with oneself”
To be continued…
P.S. I’ve been getting a lot of requests to share my itinerary. I would be writing a post on that as well. Watch out this space 😉
Here’s the link to the second part: Temple Run #2 – Touchbase Cambodia