Over the last few years, since I first volunteered at Riverkids, I have been helping them from the UK. I schedule tweets based on news articles, edit reports and write blogs based on their work. As part of that I’ve learn a lot about voluntourism and why it’s not always all it’s cracked up to be.
One of the main problems with voluntourism is that it’s hard to actually help change a community in just a few short weeks. It can be disruptive to the community and the individuals you work with. Instead of helping, you can contribute to keeping the people dependent on aid. Without proper help, you can cause far more damage than good. Read the rest of this entry
There is nothing more potent than context. It fills in all the clouds with stark imagery. It can be brutal, upsetting and give you nightmares for life. But not the killing fields. Despite everything, there is a strange sense of calm at Choeung Ek. A sense that now this is a place of rest for the millions who were killed there by the Khmer Rouge just 30 years ago. Read the rest of this entry
Ah the once in a lifetime opportunity to volunteer abroad, teaching English to disadvantaged children and learning about their lives first hand. The joy of feeling that in some small way you’re helping them. We were thrilled to be working with local Phnom Penh NGO Riverkids and had been enjoying every second of it…
But we’re British. And a long weekend was coming up.
Despite the fact that we’d both quit our day jobs 3 months earlier and had been happily travelling the world since, we’d decided that after a week of genuinely enjoyable voluntary work, we were in dire need of a holiday. It’s amazing how quickly you can fall back into old habits. Read the rest of this entry
Phnom Penh is dusty, polluted and over-populated. According to the locals it’s politically corrupt and oppressive. We’d been told by other travellers not to stay there for more than a few days but we stayed for over two weeks and found the city both charming and confusing. There’s hope for Phnom Penh and we don’t want to leave it now.
Looking around as I stepped off the bus I could see why other travellers might want to leave. Compared to the rest of Cambodia it lacks natural beauty and asthetically it’s plain. I turned around to make a dissaproving face at Gemma but she was smiling, she’s been before and for some reason, she loves it. Read the rest of this entry
Nobody likes change. It throws you right off wack. Like with mars bars and snickers – once they were snack size and now they’re no more than a measly mouthful but they cost more?! Then again, nobody could finish a whole Mars bar back in the day.
When I first came to Phnom Penh four years ago it was a huge polluted, dusty city. There were a lot of expats living there and a bustling traveller scene so there were some westernised restaurants and bars, but there were no big shops, just one supermarket and one big book/stationary shop. Read the rest of this entry
A couple of blogs ago I told you all about how our motorbikes broke down somewhere out the back of Kampot. Well, whilst the others were trying to mend the bikes and find a way back, I filmed it. You know, just in case we were never found again. Then it could have been shown in cinemas like the Blair Witch Project was… Read the rest of this entry
Sometimes travelling can lead you to natural beauty, man-made wonders and cultures that inspire you. It can lead you somewhere miles off the beaten track learning about ways of life you never even knew existed. Occasionally travelling can lead you to that once in a lifetime experience you’ve been dreaming of your whole life…
Sometimes travelling can lead you to Kep.
There’s nothing in Kep. Read the rest of this entry
We’d heard that Kampot has a way of keeping people. We were told that travellers go there and stay there, and the ones that manage to leave always return. It sounded like a myth, a tale meant to intreague and capture the imagination and we didn’t believe it. We knew we’d leave because we had places to be. We’d leave Kampot after a night or two to spend some time in Kep and then on to Phnom Penh… At least that’s what we thought.
It all started with a coconut. Read the rest of this entry
Home, home in Cambodia. Where the traffic and bicycles play.
After an almost peaceful border crossing at Poi pet we hit the road and headed for Siem Reap. I’d been before but really wanted to show Tim what it was all about. Read the rest of this entry
“I’m not scared of the Poi Pet border!” I shouted softly into the blanket the bus had provided. “Screw the Cambodian government officials!” I yelled quietly whilst thumping the air gently so no one would notice, least of all the Cambodian government officials. God they’re scary, I really hope none of them look me in the eye.
We were on the bus to the Poi Pet border crossing from Thailand to Cambodia with about 20 other scared looking travellers. We’d all read the horror stories online, been warned by the lonely planet and pathetically sobbed in our dreams the night before, but ultimately all decided to go for it. We’d face the yelling tuk tuk drivers, fight the corrupt Cambodian officials and pay out of our arses to buy what should be a reasonably cheap visa. Read the rest of this entry