Bad decision: Night Bus to Phnom Penh.

The magic of a package tour vacation is that someone else finds the places you will visit & figures out how to get you there. Solo traveling is always less expensive.  Unfortunatey, you spend a lot of time weighing the options.

Boat vs Bus vs Plane?  What will it cost?  How long it take?  How comfortable will it be?

Is it safe?

After gathering all the information, you make a choice and cross your fingers that the weather/government/seat mate/break-down doesn’t ruin you trip.

“Oh, did you want to drive on this road? Sorry, it’s not done yet!”

After Kate & I had our fill of the ancient ruins & street harassment of Siem Reap we needed to figure out how to get to Phnom Penh.

Here is the Bad Decision we made…

After weighing the options for transport from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh Kate & I decided that a night bus would save us time and money- since we wouldn’t need a hostel that night! We purchased $15 tickets for the Giant Ibis Luxury O/N bus. The bus had an upper & lower double rows of ‘beds’- so if you didn’t reserve both seats, you’d end up sleeping next to a stranger all night. (Tip: The lower row didn’t have any air vents…)

These photos were taken BEFORE we began our journey and were entertained by the novelty of a bus with a bed.  It was also BEFORE we realized that 2/3 of the 9 hr journey would be on washboard dirt road and we would bounce & slide around in our seats all night. We were excited about the journey… then I had to buckle myself down to avoid getting tossed into the aisle.

After a loooong sleepless night we arrived in PP at 6am in a grouchy fog and were deposited into a swarm of ambitious Tuktuk drivers. We were NOT interested in being pestered so we just started walking, we knew where our hostel was located. It was 6am and a stroll along the Tonlé Sap River seemed relaxing since it wasn’t insanely hot yet.

60 minutes later we arrived at the Royal Palace!

Our hostel should be a few blocks from the palace (Google maps is dumb) but we spent the next 30 minutes overshooting our mark and finally flagged down a Tuktuk driver who charged us $2 to drive 3 blocks to our hostel tucked down an alleyway. It was worth it.

Luckily, when we arrived at ‘Me Mate’s Villa’ we liked it so much we stayed a whole week! ($5/night!)

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The Traveler’s Catch-22 (or 3 reasons why I should not go on this trip.)

I’ve have a lot of time to think lately.

Much of this time has been spent thinking about vaccines, visas and voltage (say that 3 times fast!)  As I repeatedly recount the story of my next adventure I find myself feeling the need to justifying this trip.

These are the three questions that keep popping into my head when I start overthinking.

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(This photo is of Halong Bay, Vietnam. Taken by Nic (Luckypenguin)

#1: I don’t have any money.

I understand that it is not fiscally responsible for an unemployed person to traipse across the world for three months.  BUT…. Time IS money, people!  And I’m RICH with TIME!  Welcome to what I’ve dubbed the Traveler’s Catch 22: If I wait until I accumulate a stack of cash,  it will be when I have a job again!  If I have a job, then I won’t have 3 months off to travel!  I’ll put as much as I can on a 0% credit card and pay off this trip next year.

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(Photo of Bagan, Myanmar by Raul Cruz Photography)

#2: It is not SAFE for me to travel the world ‘alone’!

Well, safe is a relative word… because LIFE is a risky endeavor!   For my own sanity, I have always tried to stay in that sweet spot between being overly cautious and being blissfully ignorant.  Like Kenny Rogers says, ‘Trust in God, but lock your door!’  (I bought some great travel insurance too.)  ‘Alone’ is also relative, I’m meeting a few old friends along the way and I’m sure to make many new friends too!

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(This photo of a monk in Angkor Wat, Cambodia was taken by Timothy Allen/BBC)

#3: I should be looking for a full-time job or working on adrienneleephoto.com, not going on vacation.

Sure!  That sounds like a good use of my time!   But I consider this a ‘life experience’ trip, not a vacation and I’ve decided that when I’m old, I want to have a collection of stories instead of a collection of fine china to pass down.  I may be broke, but my aim is to be interesting!

Now that you know WHY I’m going, read my next post to find out WHERE I’m going and WHO is coming with me!