Journal April 2, 2010
Today I will be leaving for another one of my favorite pastimes; a photo-documentary excursion into a new and foreign culture.
This one seems a bit strange. I have had an odd feeling about this trip for the last few weeks and I just can’t figure out why. I have numbered it down to a few interesting points and possibilities, but I think the most likely source of my feelings is the idea that I am compounding travel. That’s to say that I have been living in Southeast Asia for almost a half a year, now, and it seems like every day has been travel. I have been immersed in a new culture, eaten nothing but odd new foods, worn the local style of clothing, adapted my speech and mannerisms to suit the respectable level of the community, and I have taken every opportunity that came up to go out and take photos and write journals about this amazing place. But since I am finding myself as settled as an expat can be, I am still going on what is known as a “traveling” vacation.
It just seems strange to me that while I am in a place of “all things foreign” I am still calling this little journey a “trip.” Perhaps I am finding life as a live-abroad expatriate less like travel and more like a semi-permanent, elongated personal study into the details of life of another culture, yet here I am, ambitious about leaving this place to go and see yet another new and unfamiliar way of life – one that’s still foreign yet not based where I am experiencing travel, absorbing customs and interacting as a stranger in a strange land.
…Or, perhaps I am just thinking too much about it.
In either case, I leave tonight to embark on the latest of what has been the most amazing line-up of events ever to grace me and my path through life.
I will be boarding an overnight train to Bangkok where I will hop on a bus and head east to the Cambodian border at Poipet. From there, I will decide whether or not to trek far into the country, to Siem Reap, and visit a longtime photojournalism goal of mine, Angkor Wat; or to detour by a day and go to Battambang and see the sights of a French colonial town with similar history. I will be reading up on my travel materials on the bus, so perhaps I will decide then. Or maybe I will have traveled too far and plans jumble, as they inherently seem to do, and I will stop short. Or, even more likely a possibility, I will be moved completely off track by some unforeseen circumstance and have to pop a tent somewhere in between.
That’s the information that tomorrow’s journal will bring.