Get out on the highway! (or the back roads with the potholes…)
Lookin’ for adventure…
Or whatever comes our way!
I may not be born to be wild, but today certainly was a great adventure. We set off from Kep with our rented ‘motos’ and headed for the town of Kampot, 25km west. It was a beautiful journey through local villages and farms, as the boys became acquainted with their ‘beasts’.
I was able to take in all the wonderful sights and sounds (over that of the engine) from the comfort of the back of Tyrhone’s bike, which by the end of the day turned to discomfort in the form of a seat-shaped imprint, embedded in my butt-cheeks.
But it was totally worth it!
We had ridden bikes before in Turkey, and ever since, we have been craving the feeling of the wind whipping our faces as a myriad of wonderful images flashes past.
And today delivered.
From Kampot, we set off for Bokor national park, and had our breath taken away by the first glimpse of the mountain.
As we wound our way upwards and into the clouds, an icy and somewhat eerie mist enveloped our eager little motos, and provided our sun-kissed skin with a surprising chill.
Marty’s bike was somewhat of a gas-guzzler, however, and he putt-putted before running dry on fuel as we almost reached the top. Waterfalls and abandoned palaces beckoned, but then, so did Marty’s poor fuel-less bike, so we turned around to free-wheel down the mountain again, picking up a surprising pace in the absence of motorised propulsion.
We made it to the bottom, where we deserted Marty, leaving him in uncomfortable silence with a man taking his cows for their afternoon graze.
He thought he may not see us again, and may have to etch out a living in the foothills of Bokor, but, alas, we returned triumphant with a coke bottle full of liquid gold.
Oh, I forgot to mention my bright idea of siphoning fuel from our tank using a dis-used straw found on the side of the road, high up in the mist-filled mountains. I’d rather not mention the failed attempt by both myself and Tyrhone (hang on, wasn’t it Marty’s bike that died?!) to transfer the fuel, though we did succeed in gaining the knowledge that petrol DOES NOT taste very nice.
Today, with all its breathtakingly gorgeous views, exhilarating hair pin turns, and aforementioned mis-haps, made me realise, that in just over a week on the road, I have changed.
We didn’t get to see the waterfall. Or walk the halls of the abandoned palace. And yet, I wasn’t phased, it was all part of the adventure.
A few weeks ago (and for the previous 31 years or so) I have been impatient, frustrated, reactionary and subject to extreme bouts of disappointment when things didn’t go my way.
Our Indefinite Travel Adventure, however, by its sheer nature of neither being planned nor defined, has already allowed me to take each and every day as it comes.
Every day I say a little prayer that I be ‘shown’ through the day, rather than trying to manipulate and control outcomes as I have my entire life.
And it’s working.
Therefore, when things happen to divert us from our intended path, I am able to accept it and see the beauty in it, as well as the lessons I am being taught (like, carry extra fuel guys!!!).
It is truly a wonderful way of being, that I hope I can continue to embrace.
As we made our way back to Kep at sunset, more confident in Tyrhone’s riding abilities and in my own ability to hold on, I realised it was Valentine’s Day.
We both agreed that there was no place we would rather be, than right where we were, dodging potholes in the back roads of southern Cambodia.
Sometimes things just feel right. Sometimes I am so overwhelmed with gratitude and joy. Those moments back home were lessening. Today every moment felt like that, and I am so damn excited about my life today.
Just before we left, Tyrhone received news of his ex-boss committing suicide. To say the guy was his favourite person would be a lie, but that did not lessen the intense compassion and sadness we felt for him and his family.
Are things ever that bad?
Apparently they were.
As we flew past fields where local volleyball tournaments were played out before the backdrop of an amazing red sunset, I had a feeling I can’t quite put my finger on, but will try to articulate here:
If you think things are really that bad, that you have nowhere to turn, and that the cards are stacked against you, surender. Chances are your way isn’t working. Give up your preconceived ideas of yourself and your role in the world, along with other people’s expectations.
Give up on your old self, along with your ego that tells you “I can’t change”.
Throw off society’s expectations like an ill-fitting coat, and ask who would you be if you could be utterly and unashamedly happy? There is nothing wrong with happiness, and you do deserve it.
If your life is suffocating you, sucking the joy from you or simply making you numb, make a change.
Be bold. Be honest. Give yourself the love you wish everyone else would. Be irreverent. Rustle feathers, challenge expectation.
Throw out the rule book.
Life is for the living, not for the enduring, and it is available to everyone.