Sara; the life of a solivagant

Sara; the life of a solivagant Follow

Sustainable & eco-friendly traveler 🌿 🇨🇦
Started the #adventurebod movement!
🏡: HCMC, Vietnam 🇻🇳
🔜: Hoi An 🇻🇳 & Singapore 🇸🇬
📸:Sony a6000

https://www.thelifeofasolivagant.com/

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At the crack of dawn we heard all the fishing boats getting a start on their days. Nick and I are morning people anyways so it was nice to sit on our porch and watch the boats float on by down the river. I was amazed to see whole families on these boats, from young to old. This particular little girl and I just sat and stared at one another for awhile and I tried to imagine how different her experience of growing up would be from what I experienced. As an international school teacher I find myself getting into conversations about universal kid things, or teenager things, that we find seem to happen regardless where we are in the world. Ability to create toys out of anything... kids at home playing in the cardboard box their toys come in more than they play with the toys, meanwhile in the Marshall Islands I saw kids actually using cardboard to create a glove to play catch with. Can you think of any universal childhood/teenage things you’ve witnessed or can remember from your own? /•/ #mekongriver #natgeo #natgeoyourshot #natgeotravel #phnompenh #beautifulcambodia #travellingthroughtheworld #natgeoasia #amazingcambodia
In the last week or so all my facebook ‘on this day’ reminders have been status updates like ‘ugh I hate Mondays’ or ‘is today over yet?’ from last year. I absolutely hated the circumstances I was in. To say my life has taken a complete 180 is an understatement. What changes have you made in your life this past year to make you happier? I am genuinely interested in other people’s stories of change /•/
I write a lot of stuff on a regular basis. Not only blog posts (which I should write more of) but also poetry and random ramblings that aren’t social commentary or about my travels. I tend to type them or write them and forget about them later. I’m sitting here staring at a Word document that has a few poems on it and trying to think of what to do with it. Well thankfully I’ve finally stopped thinking about going back to school and I’ve officially applied. I was going to do my masters in creative writing but after looking into it, masters seems less interesting than doing a post grad cert in it. I’m in it for the learning and the writing, not the reading about how I can write. So hopefully I will be headed back to school (online) in September! I am super excited to learn more about writing and not just scribble random writing in random places. Wish me luck! /•/
In the past week I’ve read a bunch of my insta-friends’ stories discussing how a certain white female instagram influencer, I choose not to name names here, posted a photo of herself with a bunch of orphans in Kenya. Other Instagrammers questioned her choice of photos, Kenyans asked why all the other countries get beautiful shots of their country on her feed but Kenya is reduced to her being @barbiesavior with some orphans (and even disclosing their status as HIV positive to the world). And then the president of the US describe all African nations as ‘shit-hole’ countries. So I leave you with this photo from one of those ‘shit-hole’ countries, that I would rather visit than the US any day... and hope to show you how magical Kenya truly is /•/
I used to think I could travel the world alone forever. That being alone would be easy. That’s why I adopted this ‘solivagant’ thing as a part of me after the end of my last relationship. But in the past few years I have really clung to the quote, ‘happiness, only real when shared’, from Into the Wild. Living my life abroad, constantly moving from one place to the next, is amazing and I wouldn’t change it for the world, but it can be hard when it comes to relationships with people. This was especially noticeable being home for Christmas. I felt like an outsider more than ever. When you are never around you tend to get pushed to the side. You are no longer anyone’s BEST friend but just ‘one of’ their best friends. You are overlooked for plans to do things even when you are home cause you usually aren’t around so you don’t cross their mind. When your family all works together, literally, as they talk it feels like a foreign language cause you just can’t relate. Friends talk about their marriages and babies and while you are over the moon for them and how happy they are, you can’t contribute to the conversation and just sit and listen. Every time I go home, less and less people make the effort to see me. And this time being Christmas, and everyone having tons to do, it was even more apparent. But it’s a two way street, I only have so much time too, and you have to make choices of who to see and not see, and end up making those you don’t see feel bad, and they will make even less of an effort next time. There was one night at home I laid on the couch, trying to zone out watching Netflix but I just bawled but I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone about it because I chose this life and I love my life, so what do I have to complain about? Woe is me. But it made me even more grateful I have one constant, stable relationship that I can count on, and I’m not doing this alone. So even though my friends where I am living may change year to year, my friends back home may eventually forget about me, I’ve got my best friend with me and a life that some people only dream of. Makes all those hard days a little easier knowing I am never truly alone #voyagetovulnerability /•/
Concepts I don’t believe in: soulmates, forever, marriage. To me they are just words. Social constructs. Merely symbols that mean what we choose for them to mean. What I do believe in is this. No words needed /•/
If you watched my insta-stories while we were in Phnom Penh, you probably saw our sunset views from our water bungalow, our morning view with breakfast served to us on our front porch and the inside of our bungalow. But since it’s a private, one off bungalow, it was hard to take a photo of the actual bungalow but I remembered to snap this one as we were on the boat to head to the other side of the river to go into the city. I found this beauty on @airbnb (of course) and had to book it. I love finding unique properties in the areas we are staying. It was a little pricier than some and most the reviews were people who stayed for one romantic night with their partner but we were in Phnom Penh for 3 nights and I didn’t wanna book something else for the other nights so I booked it for all 3.  Not only did we get a delicious, and large breakfast every morning served to us on our porch (at whatever time we asked for it), we also could book the boat to come take us over to the other side at any time in the morning we wanted (the boat back was at 5pm, 6pm or 7pm because it did hour river tours for sunset and took People over the bungalow restaurant that is seen to the right of our bungalow). If we didn’t take their boat at those times we could also hire a private boat to take us back to the bungalow, which we didn’t do cause we aren’t really stay out for nightlife people. We also ordered dinner from the restaurant for two nights (delivered to our porch) which was absolutely delicious, gourmet cambodia food. Sure the food was pricier than the average Cambodian restaurant but it was also fresh, a fancier place and you pay for the atmosphere in these places too, not just the food. The only issue we had with the bungalow, was that it was next to a fishing village. Which to be honest I loved and loved watching boats go by, but at 4am the one morning they started playing music as they got their boat ready for the day, right beside our bungalow. If you are a light sleeper, like me, this might get to you... or you can roll with it and get up. It didn’t bother us that much but I’m sure it would be something others would need to keep in mind. All in all, highly recommend! /•/
In case you haven’t noticed, I love animals. But sometimes when I try to fight for their rights or educate those who may not understand what’s happening in parts of the world to some of them, I get mixed responses. The extreme animal lovers don’t accept me fully because I am not vegetarian/vegan, and those on the other side of things think I’m a hypocrite cause I think we need to save bears from bile farming or elephants from being ridden but I eat a pig cause bacon... but you know what? No one is perfect. And I’m sure you can come up with all arguments on why I am wrong and tell me to watch this, that and the other documentary, but in the end the way I see it is that animals eat animals. There are carnivores and omnivores out there in the animal kingdom. Sure they don’t go about it the way most humans do, and it’s all about hunting their prey and such, but they eat other living creatures. They really just don’t have ability to go about it the way we do. I have huge respect for cultures that hunt and use every part of an animal for survival (fur for warmth/clothing, meat for food, etc.) but I also don’t have the stomach for that kind of thing. Not talking about hunting at trophies so don’t twist my words there. So tell me I’m a hypocrite, tell me I’m a pseudo-animal lover... give me your worst. I’m just out here trying to do what I can and help others understand that you don’t have to be perfect. Nothing is ever black or white. It’s not always necessary to go big or go home. But it is necessary to do our best to think of the animals and the unnecessary harm we bring to them for our own entertainment. So even if you aren’t a vegan or vegetarian, you can still show love to the animal kingdom and not participate in unethical animal tourism. Like how cute are these wild monkeys though? (Don’t feed the wild monkeys...) /•/
I made a comment to Nick yesterday as we were wandering around Phnom Penh with our backpacks on, we had just checked out of our bungalow but had like 5 hours until we had to be at the airport... I said “hey we look like real backpackers now”. It was funny to me. I am not a ‘backpacker’, at least that’s not what I consider myself. When I go on trips, sure I use a backpack, currently this beautiful @cabinzero bag, but that’s where it ends. I don’t stay in hostels. I am not a ‘budget traveler’. I travel within my means. I am all for an adventure but I don’t exactly ‘rough it’. I just don’t think of my way of travel as ‘backpacker’ style. Alas I digress, after I joked about this Nick says, ‘well with that backpack you look like backpacker Barbie’. I died. I love this bag. It’s the perfect size for my week long (or even longer or shorter) trips and for once I found a bag that is in a colour I love. So many backpacks out there are so damn boring and if you know me, you know I am all about that colourfulness. But I guess the colours I chose are reminiscent of Barbie colours. I’m okay with that. Thanks @cabinzero for gifting me this beautiful ‘barbie’ backpack right before this trip to Cambodia. It is the perfect size and colour for me /•/
If you watched my stories from yesterday, you probably saw that we went to @phnomtamao to do the ‘Bear Keeper for a Day’ tour with @freethebears. We learned all about the sun and moon bears, and the unfortunate reason as to why this organization needs to rescue them. In this part of the world, the bile from these bears is used for ‘medicinal’ purposes, and other such things, things that can easily be replicated synthetically now, and so there are actual farms where these bears are kept in tiny cages in order to extract bile from the bears’ gallbladders (which is a painful process for the bears). Beyond that there are other issues at play such as deforestation destroying their homes. Humans are, after all, the most dangerous animal there is. It was incredible to see these bears up close (but not too close... still wild animals) and prepare their meals, and watch them for awhile. If you are ever in Phnom Penh, I highly recommend spending a day with @freethebears and learning about the bears and all the great things they are doing for these bears. And now get ready for your feed to be spammed with all the sun and moon bear pictures cause you know I took a ton. This guy is a sun bear, FYI /•/
We only have a couple days to spend here in Phnom Penh and although I understand that there are many things we ‘should’ do while here, we probably didn’t or won’t do them. Every new city we adventure to, we like to spend a day just wandering. No plan, no agenda, just find our bearings and see what the city has to offer. Today we did just that. We wandered around the streets, peaking into temples, eating good foods and ending up at the genocide museum. Everywhere I turned I saw monks wandering around the streets, which if you know me, is pretty much my favourite. I may or may not have snapped many photos of them... not all of them because that would’ve been a bit much. Tomorrow we are heading to see some sun and moon bears for the day, and then Saturday we head home to HCMC. I really only came to Phnom Penh for the bears, but I sure did enjoy the city walking today... even though every tuktuk driver we walked by didn’t like the fact that we said we liked to walk 🤷🏼‍♀️ we are walkers, what can I say? /•/
Yesterday I was trying to find a spot in Siem Reap to watch the sunset that wasn’t Angkor Wat. I stumbled upon @kompongphluk and saw they had a half day tour to Kompong Phluck, a floating  and stilted village just outside of Siem Reap, that ended with a sunrise on Tonle Sap Lake. So I booked it, and didn’t look back. Nothing better than finding socially responsible tours that take you to see incredible things. If you are looking for things to do out of Siem Reap, that don’t involve temples, this was such a great half day of fun! /•/
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