Collection of travel moments from 5 weeks in Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Cambodia

I wanted to remember the little moments during my travels that feel special or interesting to me, so I started taking notes. Life is made up of these little moments after all, and travel is especially good for noticing new things about others and about ourselves.

These aren’t really linked to each other except by chronology and by virtue of having all occurred to me on this one trip. But are all moments that I’d like to remember and look back on. Some might mean something, some don’t. Some were fleeting glimpses into other people’s lives, some are feelings that I felt in the moment that I would like to keep.

Some moments reflect on me being a woman, or a foreigner, or being Asian. Besides a few moments of frustrations, nothing to shout about, but sometimes I wonder about things.

Petals and leaves on steps in Ella, Sri Lanka

Petals and leaves on steps from my guest house in Ella, Sri Lanka

Travel moments in Sri Lanka

23 January 2017
Mirissa Beach, Sri Lanka
Totally laughing at myself when I got wiped out by a big wave while playing in the waves with three friends. Squirting water out of my nose, and for the rest of the day my nose leaking water whenever I lean over, like a nosebleed.

Got served fish that was mostly raw in the middle. Not being able to talk to the manager about getting a discount on our bill because I’m a woman and he probably wouldn’t listen to me.

31 January 2017
Nawalapitiya, Sri Lanka
Riding in the van with three French people and one Sri Lankan driver, passing a stationary van with a handful of children in school uniforms (shirts and shorts/skirts) and one lady. One girl in her white school uniform swinging from a pole on the ceiling of the van.

1 February 2017
Two kitten moments
Adam’s Peak aka Sri Pada, Sri Lanka
On the way down from Adam’s Peak, elder woman in deep purple clothes sitting on a rock, playing with a kitten, holding a short stick and twirling it around while the kitten bats at it with front paws.

Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
Driving back to Negombo from Nuwara Eliya with Fernando, the pickup truck in front that is loaded with vegetables stops short suddenly. We send a short honk. Driver gets out, puts up a hand to us briefly, walks around to the front of the truck and comes around with a kitten. He places the kitten by a rock at the side of the road. Kitten looks around, cute and confused, as we pass by.

Travel moments in Thailand

3 February 2017
Bangkok, Thailand
Landing in Bangkok, and even though I hadn’t landed at this particular airport in Bangkok before, feeling confident and familiar. Like I know this place, especially feeling comfortable getting around.

At the hostel, suddenly being surrounding by a lot of Westerners. (Compared with Sri Lanka.)

Travel moments in Cambodia

8 February 2017
Siem Reap, Cambodia
After seeing the sunrise at Angkor Wat, riding in the tuk tuk and seeing people taking their children to school, in their uniforms. A lady on a motorbike passes us, with a little girl hugging her from behind and resting her head on her back. Short ponytail, white and maroon uniform. This makes me think of that feeling of having someone who depends on you and loves you.

At a hip vegetarian restaurant in Siem Reep, Cambodia
Fellow American, who is also a daughter of an immigrant and also from New York, starts a conversation by asking me, after hearing me order in English, “Do you speak English?”

10 February 2017
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
When your tuk tuk driver wears a cowboy hat, plaid shirt, and plaid scarf.

2017-02-10 Tuk tuk ride in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Lee, my tuk tuk driver in Phnom Penh

11 February 2017 (I think?)
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
While riding in a tuk tuk, pass a woman holding a small child who is smiling broadly at me and waving enthusiastically. I wave back!
Maybe I want a baby. What is it about the kids in Cambodia? Can’t help the hormones.

An older guy driving a motorbike with a flatbed cart-like attachment. Two CDs, shiny side out, attached to the bumper of the cart, instead of taillights.

13 February 2017
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Feeling strangely too Western, maybe a copout, hypocritical as I sit in a hipster cafe, not eating like a local, and definitely not eating local ingredients. But so much needing the vegetables, and non-fried food.

14 February 2017
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
The smells in Cambodia. Rotting garbage. Even when walking on fancy streets where ambassadors live.
Remembering while riding in a tuk tuk the other day, passing men shoveling food waste from the street into the back of a waste removal truck.

Crossing roads like a boss. No crosswalks, no signals.

15 February 2017
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
While I’m waiting to cross the street at a busy intersection, there’s a guy on his motorbike. He has his small, bright blue old school candybar cell phone wedged between his face and his helmet so that he can talk while riding. Only noticed because I heard him saying something.

16 February 2017
Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Amazement and wonder that you can take a tuk tuk to and from an airport in this country.
(PS. You also can in Sri Lanka if you are in Negombo, but it’s more expensive than an Uber.)

Riding in the tuk tuk to the airport, Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Three boys, maybe 10 or 11 years old, hop over the yellow and black barrier in the middle of the road. The one in the center puts his arms around the shoulders of his friends as they approach crossing the next half of the road through oncoming traffic.

Easier than journaling

Because I haven’t been able to consistently journal at any point in my life (though I’ve had some good spurts), I think I’ll try to continue doing this. For me the point isn’t to capture every detail, but to get the essence of some key moments in day to day life. A lot of this will be people watching, but some will be introspective. Most of these are so fleeting that the only way to remember them is if I actively write them down. Hopefully they will make sense, but maybe they won’t.

I won’t do much editing from my notes because that isn’t the point. I try to write them on the day of, but in some cases I’ve written them a few days after. Some of these could be turned into full blown blog posts, and maybe I will do that at some point. I hope you found at least some of these interesting!

Did any of these travel moments stick with you? What would you want to hear more about?

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Collection of Travels Moments

  • Lovely photos, lovely travel moments! The ones that stick to me are those I share with the people I meet along the way. Thanks for sharing yours!

    • Hi Therie! Thanks for reading and sharing! I agree, the people make things memorable! Especially since I travel alone a lot, they can be the highlight of certain parts of my trips.