My Life: Coming Back From Cambodia

“Some shit is just so overwhelming”, I said to my husband. I stood in my Arizona house, looking at a large crack in the wall. I was holding my new baby girl on one arm, the older boys were squabbling in the next room. A realtor had just come to look at the place, she said it needed a lot of work before we listed. That meant a lot of money, money we didn’t have. We needed more room, a better school district, a safer neighborhood to raise our kids in. I felt so damn stuck. I couldn’t see how to get from A to B, how it could all possibly come together.

Then I took a big breath and said what I always say in these situations, “It’s time to come back from Cambodia”.

You’re probably saying “Uh, what?”. You see, after college my girlfriend and I spend five weeks traveling in Asia. We had only one plan for the entire trip- a New Year’s Eve full moon party in the south of Thailand. Outside of the one plan, we decided to let fate guide our trip.

“Mistakes” were made. One night, we met a stranger in a restaurant who recommended visiting the Battambang river in Cambodia. So off we went to Cambodia. Traveling down the river was a highlight of the trip. The essence of Cambodia touched me deeply and the experience gave me a deeper perspective of the world. No regrets.

Riding down the Battambang river

As we made plans to return to Thailand, (pre-smartphone days btw), we realized our error. Visas when flying into Thailand, last longer than driving into Thailand. This really complicated things. In a darkened Cambodian cafe, we sat staring at a desktop screen, totally overwhelmed.

The next morning, with a loose plan of 20 steps written on a cocktail napkin, we were off. It was an epic journey of planes, trains, tuk-tuks, buses, and boats. There were issues aplenty. We missed a train connection by minutes, encountered a cat-infested hotel (so many cats omg), and a bus dropped us in the middle of nowhere. We found new transportation and laughed about the cats until our sides hurt. We found ourselves saying, “Ok, we got this” more often than not. Individually, each step of the journey felt less overwhelming than sitting in the cafe catastrophizing the unknowns. The lesson I learned, that I still carry with me; everything is manageable when it is being experienced in the present moment.

You’ll be happy to know that we did make it to the full moon party and it was magical as promised. That night now resides in my stories-I-tell-at-dinner-party collection.

You’ll also be happy to know that my family and I are thriving in our new home. Through a series of coincidences and connections, we were introduced to a different realtor. Our new realtor had relationships with repair people who did the work for us on credit. We needed somewhere to live while our new house was being built, and last minute a friend got a job out of state and offered us his house in the interim. Things fell into place like they always do.

Here’s the deal, I’ve been overwhelmed again lately. The restaurant I’ve worked at part-time hasn’t recovered from Covid. I find myself again starting into an unknown, life is so cyclical isn’t it?

Following my lifetime love of spirituality, I’ve started this blog. My husband and I want to open a restaurant of our own, a huge undertaking. I want both of these things to be successful, but I don’t know how we will get there. I know things always work out, but my rational mind is overwhelmed. It’s time to come back from Cambodia. I’m gonna take a breath, put one foot in front of the other, and trust the universe that it’s all gonna work out. Follow along and see where my journey takes me. Light and love, Melissa


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