Living in Cambodia: 7 Reasons Why it’s Hard to Leave

October 28, 2013
Living in Cambodia: 7 Reasons Why it's Hard to Break Up, Teach English in Cambodia: Everything You Need to Know

Dear Cambodia,

I’m bringing our on-again-off-again relationship to a close. Yes, this last month has been really great and you’ve showed me you could change, but we both knew early in the game that this wasn’t going to last for very long. I mean, I’d already tried to leave you ….twice, but you tugged at my heart so I gave you another chance.  You threw in plenty of distractions composed of lovely people and wonderful memories, but I can’t stay in this dream-like state forever.  You’re not exactly great for my health.

I mean, at least you didn’t try to kill me off multiple times like your big neighbor, Thailand (I still love you, Thailand!), but still. I’m tired of living out of my backpack, and I know I can’t blame you for that, but I never felt comfortable enough here to really try to settle down in a place more temporary than a guesthouse room.

But besides all that, why not stick it out and give it another go? Here’s why: I’ve learned more than I expected to in less than six months and the one thing that I know for sure is that nothing is permanent. I’ve been working on letting go of my attachments to things, people, and places because they are all temporary and putting so much into them does result in a suffering of sorts.

I don’t mean to say that I’ve stopped or am trying to stop valuing friends and family. That’s not it at all. It’s just that I am starting to see that it is possible to love unconditionally, but to not hang onto it and invest so deeply that I can’t see my way out.

Living in Cambodia: 7 Reasons Why it’s Hard to Leave

I’ve done that my whole life and even if there are an infinite amount of moments of happiness, that happiness fades at times and is replaced by other not so great “feelings.” I’ve talked about finding balance for as long as I can remember and I am finally starting to understand how to do that. So yes, Cambodia, while I will technically miss you, I can’t let that fear of feeling longing for something keep me stuck.

I would love to come back again, so if that opportunity arises, then awesome. If not, you have given me so much and I can’t ever forget that, so here is a list of seven things that I love about you, and after that, let us part ways.

Living in Cambodia: 7 Reasons Why it’s Hard to Break Up

1. Seeing monks in orange robes

Even after six months, it still makes my day to see monks walking around Phnom Penh.

2. Cambodians

I am oddly enough a people person who isn’t really a people person. I love humankind, but I am very selective (I am in need of a better word!) about my personal relationships with people. Yet, those reservations go out the window with the locals here. They are the warmest, most smiley, and most generous people I have ever met. What makes Cambodia so beautiful to me are the people.

3. Foreign cafes

I have been to some of the best little foreign-owned cafes in this city. For example, The Shop, where they sell delicious raspberry chocolate tarts. Now I’m hungry.

4. Wat Botum Park

I love coming here when the sun is setting and the city begins to cool off, and either go for a run or sit and people watch. It’s pretty empty during the day but at night, it’s filled with families having  picnics, aerobic dancers exercising (I use this word loosely as they aren’t really exerting themselves), and the cute couples who can finally be together without causing too much of a fuss.

5. The sky

The other day I was talking with a friend about how great Cambodian clouds are. Seriously, they are! The sky always seems so close here and when a storm comes, it feels as if we’re enclosed in a snow globe of fluffy clouds of white. And have you seen the pictures of the sunsets? Beautiful. As I have been lazy here, I cannot personally say the same for sunrises. Sorry sunrises, I’m sure you have plenty of fans!

6. The traffic

I know this is a weird thing to love, but I really do. I love the chaos of it all. All of the motos and tuk-tuks and people selling things in the streets. The streets are just so full of life.

7. The Markets

Though I didn’t buy much from the markets, I loved walking through them. I loved how fresh and cheap the fruit was. Sadly, we don’t have markets like those back in the States because of food safety, or some such nonsense.

I am now back in Virginia, and seeing all of these pictures really confirms how lucky I was to have had this experience and to see so many beautiful people and places. You’ll always hold a very special place in my heart, Cambodia.

Living in Cambodia: 7 Reasons Why it’s Hard to Break Up

Related Reading

Explore Cambodia by Bus

Have you traveled to Cambodia? Email us at to share your experience and advice with the Pink Pangea community. We can’t wait to hear from you.

Living in Cambodia: 7 Reasons Why it’s Hard to Leave photo credits: Meghan King and Unsplash.


About Meghan King

Meghan King is currently teaching English in South Korea.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *