First off, I would have to say that this adventure has been one of the most rewarding and eye-opening things I have done in my life so far. This was an incredible adventure for me and I will never forget the friends that I made or the experiences that I shared with them.
Cambodia is such a beautiful place, but it’s not just the location that is amazing, it’s the people.The streets are far from anything I had ever seen in Australia, but the experience gave me a different perspective on how life goes on around the world.
The trip from the airport was surreal, I’d never heard of a tuk tuk before yet there I was being driven to the guesthouse in one. Trying to take in as much of the surroundings as possible but we were just passing by so many things that had my head spinning. We arrived at Babel and got settled in to the amazing location and enjoyed some time with the incredible staff about Babel. We were able to explore the town a little, taking in all the sites and experiencing the differences of life in Cambodia. Speed dating helped us bond as a group and gave us all plenty of things to chat and laugh about at dinner. I felt so fortunate that we all got along so well and felt so comfortable with each other.
Going into this trip with Jessica (my girlfriend) was so rewarding, but challenging too. As the only couple we wanted to be known as ourselves and not just the couple of the group. This meant at times we did feel a little distant from each other, but ultimately it made us so much stronger together and if any couple was to ever ask me if they should do an EDventure trip I would strongly recommend it! We made friends as individuals but also still as a couple, we became more independent but at the same time grew stronger together. I honestly can’t see any negatives from doing this trip with Jess and would recommend this trip for any other couples out there who have open minds and are willing to meet new people and make new friends.
Teaching at School was incredibly rewarding, the students there want to learn and so do the teachers! The first few days felt a little awkward, but you soon begin to feel very welcome at the school as you begin to get into the swing of things. The students quickly learn your name (even difficult ones for Khmer people like Josh) and in a short amount of time you feel a connection with the students.
Two of my three classes were taught by Sorath, so most of my lesson planning time was spent talking with him. Many times we found ourselves off topic, talking about things I never thought could be so fascinating (like the different classes on an airplane flight), yet with every word that came out of my
The end of our time at Savong came very quickly and was more emotional than I expected. The relationships I made with the students surprised me and the tough goodbyes were made harder with each little origami gift or personalised letter I was given. Particularly one student, Bunren Lao, made an impact on me that I did not expect and I will never forget him, nor the letter he wrote for me on our last day, and for anyone wanting to experience the feeling of doing good in the world, you will find it there.mouth I could see that I had his complete attention and that he was fascinated by what I was saying. This was the same in the classroom whenever I was to talk about life in Australia or really anything new to the students, they all found what I had to say so captivating and just soaked up all that I would say. It was in moments like those that it was clear to me that I was making an impact on the lives of these students.
Our project that we worked on was both fun and rewarding. We continued to bond as a group through all the experiences we had, whether it was riding in the back of the ute or all being covered in paint, doing something like that was so fulfilling and we came into each day of painting even more fired up and determined than the day before. For us, it was a task we couldn’t let ourselves fail, and the reward of knowing we have helped that family just felt…so good! The only thing about this part of the trip that I would want to change is for us to have done even more, something bigger and even more challenging.
I’d have to say that one thing about Cambodia that I loved was the people. People like Hongda or Linda, or any of the staff at Babel, all these people made this trip so awesome and are the reason why I have so many stories to tell everyone back home. Even just the people walking in the street or driving past you on the road were always so happy to see you, it just seemed so crazy! Back home you’d be the weird one for greeting a random on the street, but in Cambodia it’s just part of everyday life.
The Cambodian people are some of the happiest people I’ve ever met. After learning of their recent terrible history with the Khmer Rouge it amazed me that these people could be so happy. This just made it clear to me how strong these people are and how determined they are to move forward, grow and learn as individuals and as a country.
Doing this trip with EDventure gave us all the opportunity to do what other tourists just don’t. We saw Cambodia differently, we saw the real Cambodia but we also saw the tourist spots. This gave us all a different appreciation for everything we got to see, whether it was Angkor Wat or The Killing Fields, we were able to see things differently and gained additional information from the movies/documentaries we were shown (which we would otherwise never have watched).
Koh Rong was a fantastic way to finish the trip. We were all great friends by this point and really enjoyed being at such an amazing location with such great people.
Our leaders (Cari and Tanner) were two of the most unique characters I have met in my life so far. Cari is such a bubbly, enthusiastic and friendly person, I found her life story quite amazing and was always listening when she’d tell us about all the places she had been and what she had done, or the places she wanted to go and the things she wanted to do. It was so great having someone there who had experienced what we were doing and experienced so much more as well. She was always able to lift up the group spirit (even when it was high, it just went higher!) and I can see why she is such a great person to have as a leader on these trips and why she is continuing on her next chapter with EDventurer.
Tanner is just awesome. Just like with Cari, I found everything he had to say about himself so interesting and he was a wealth of knowledge about nearly everything to do with other countries, history or Cambodia. His enthusiasm reminds me of Jack Black, just so out there and ready to rock, it’s quite clear again why he does what he does and why he is part of EDventure.
If any of this testimonial ever makes it to someone high up in the ranks of EDventure then please let me stress just how important Cari and Tanner were on this trip, without them my adventure would not have been the same and I will be forever grateful for this experience.
Finally, if there is one thing I can say to anyone thinking about doing an EDventure trip it is this; don’t think, just do it! I guarantee you will have plenty of time after your trip to think all about it, but you’ll only ever be thinking why you didn’t do it sooner and how long till you can do it again.
– Josh Morton –0