Koh Rong Samloem – Cambodia

On the evening of the third day I took the night bus to Sihanoukville. It was a long journey, again being in a bed, this time with a Russian girl, but I actually managed to sleep a bit this time and we arrived for sunset. I took a motorcycle ride to the harbor where I had booked a boat ride to Koh Rong Samloem. They asked us at what places we are getting off and they told me that they don’t stop at my place anymore even though it is still on their homepage where I booked the ticket. The refused to give me the money back and offered to take me a stop further and I would need to hike for an hour through the rainforest to get there. I couldn’t imagine myself with this heat alone with a heavy backpack in an unknown forest. I tried to discuss with them but it was worthless. At the end I decided to book with another company that would directly take me there and ignore the money I already had spent. The journey passed by some beautiful beaches, I forgot the trouble and I was in awe.

They told me to get off at a what it felt to me lonely beach, the Clear Water Bay. I saw a sign that lead to my hostel the Driftwood. It was hidden at first sight in the forest. The main house was on wooden stilts to save the food in the kitchen from animals. They told us to leave everything eatable, even if it is in a package at save boxes in the main house, if not rats might take it at night. I read comments of people online that had rats that bite holes into their backpacks at night. I still decided to go because it was recommended as one of the places far from civilization. As I experienced there, yes, that it was happens that rats come to harm your backpack when you keep snacks in it. If not, nothing happens. One girl forgot about a snickers and I thought I heard the rats at night and in the morning her backpack hat one hole as a entrance and another one to get out again. She wasn’t angry at the hostel or the rats but at herself. So back to nature. Bugs, especially mosquitos at night, frogs, crabs, fish, rats, snakes (I haven’t seen one, but others did), goats, dogs, no internet or mobile signal, no light in the wood houses, basic showers with cold water. A Robinson Crusoe experience for real and I loved it.

The staff in the hostel were, except for one or two, all volunteers staying for food and shelter. Some of them were mostly stoned and really relaxed, but most of them really nice and the food was tasty. The accommodation as mentioned really simple, but just a few steps trough the forest and you stepped right into a beautiful white beach.

I first wanted to just stay for three days and at the end extended a couple of times, skipped another town I wanted to visit and stayed for a week. It was the long break without sightseen, exploring, new influences and just being in nature that I need after all the input I had on this long journey. I have been away from home for seven month and this week was needed to process. Normally I am really extroverted and love to talk and get to know new people. Not this week. I spend the nights at the main house talking and playing games with others. We also did go swimming at night a couple of times to experience the luminescence in the water. It feels like you swim through glitter or little lights that turn on each time you move. It was such a unique experience!

So I was social at night but the day itself was just mine. I was laying in the sun or shades, reading, sleeping, thinking, relaxing, swimming or just floating in the water. I thought about what happened in the last few months, the time before that, about what will follow being home and what my plans are after this one last semester back home when my Master Program is finished. I wanted to travel more, to not make this a once in a lifetime experience. I even thought about moving somewhere else, outside of Germany for work. At the same time, I processed how I felt about myself, coming in peace with a few troubles I had before with myself. I had problems in the past to feel comfortable in my own body by not being thin. But this journey showed me how wonderful my body is. It made me experience so many wonderful things, see beautiful sites, taste delicious food, feel the sand under my feed that carried me through diverse adventures and many more. It is not that I did not like myself before, but I had my doubts every now and then and somehow this whole experience brought me closer to loving myself the way I am.

Same with what I wanted to be as a human being. I’m an extrovert, but not all the time. I do not need to entertain people if I feel uncomfortable, it is okay for me to need time on my own. I always felt guilty when declining a meeting with friends or family when I did not have something else to do just because I wanted some time on my own. Usually I’m there for my friends and never say no. That is something I knew that has to change. Of course, I did not want so say no all the time, I love my friends and want to be there for them, but not always and all the time and I would take some time for myself as well. The people in the hostel were not my friends, but still, they asked me to join them and hang with them at the beach, but still I choose to spent my time at a spot far away from the main house to be on my own. So, it was a first step. Being an extrovert, this doesn’t mean that it all has to be about myself. On the contrary, I love to approach new people, ask questions and get to know them. I mostly make it all about them me leading them to open up and trust me. I enjoy being needed and helping people, that it what makes me happy. Still, I struggle to heal myself and sometimes ignore my own problems by focusing on others. It is always easier to help others than to help yourself. But this week helped me so much. Coming to a clear head about what you want in life is a first step, but as I experienced back home afterwards it is sometimes hard to change all of it at once. It will always be a progress, Ijust need to stay focused and believe in myself. So many things went through my head and at the same time I was enjoying this simple experience so much. I think till today I never felt so at ease and happy again. Sad to say, I really wanted that feeling to last, but it didn’t, a few things changed, others didn’t, so I’m on my way but I’m not there yet. I took a few steps to change my direction while being abroad, a few others followed afterwards and others will follow soon two years after my trip. Life is a journey and you will never stop evolving. As mentioned, some steps are just to big to take them all at once, but you got to keep going anyway. New big steps will follow soon, so stay tuned. But first of all, here you have a few pictures of my happy place:

Can you spot a hostel? No? Me neither.
The sleeping and washroom facilities. Simple but enough.
The main house with some goats. No, they don’t eat them. All the food was vegetarian, also because they get their food delivered at least an hour by boat so they rely on food that did not get bad quickly.
A cute crab.
Me deeply happy and a little sunburned.
This water is so clear and the rainforest so beautiful. Have you recognized this picture as my banner on this page?
Sunset each night.
There where a couple of hammocks in different trees. I loved to relax in them. Some people even slept in them.
The dogs where by my side walking me to the peer early morning.
Hammock against the sun.
The peer was near and so was the end of my trip.
The second cutie waiting with me for my boat to come.
Me looking back at a great time.
Already on the boat to the mainland. This cute island had just his small church and building on it.

Thank you very much for your time and interest. I hope you are enjoying my blog. Feel free to follow and leave me feedback. I am thankful for every advice and happy to answer questions. You can also follow me on Instagram or Facebook for photography and stories or FindPenguins where I track my journey to get a general overview. I am happy to see you back soon.

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