A Little Update…We’re Down to Days, Where Did the Time Go?

Where does the time go? It slipped away from me these past six months. Six months. Ana and I have wandered Southeast Asia for 26 weeks together, and there are just two weeks left before we board our plane for the United States and return home just in time for the hot and sticky season in Florida; a summer of humidity so dense your face melts clear down to your navel.

Oh, wait! That’s what it feels like over here now; the monsoon rains are weeks away from hitting and the air gets heavier with each word that materializes on my computer screen. Well and so, we’re prepared for another Florida summer after avoiding any signs of winter for the past six months.

bamboo train battambang cambodia

Ana and I rode an old bamboo train in the outskirts of Battambang, Cambodia; these are used on the old train tracks and locals transport food and goods back and forth between towns, and through the rural rice paddies!

Right now, we’re camped out at a lovely guesthouse just outside of Kampot, Cambodia with wide open spaces, lush mango trees and plenty of jungle-gym equipment to keep Ana occupied. I’ve forced Ana to act as my tour guide over the past month, it gets her much more involved in our trip that way, and this afternoon she planned us a kayaking trip on the lower Mekong River.

Last week, we ogled at the pretty Apsara dancers, watched a Cambodian circus, saw the marvels of Angkor Wat, and generally took our last month on the road as a complete indulgence. She’s behind on her school work and I find myself spending hours merely answering emails and putting out fires between our sightseeing and epic games of Scrabble (we’re big fans of the game, and Ana’s challenged me to a winner-takes-all-the-glory re-match tonight). My site here is so behind on stories and photos I find myself continually beating myself up over the delays. It’s not that I haven’t written, I have scores of posts and stories, but to take the time to pen them, edit them, then edit and add photos meant hours of Ana sitting in a hotel room watching TV, or playing around on her computer rather than travel.

apsara dancers cambodia

The beautiful Apsara dancers at a show in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

So, from the absence of stories and updates, one might accurately note that we’re enjoying what time we have left in complete abandon of such nonsensical things as a schedule (besides that pesky flight home out of Bangkok airport!) and enjoying our time together.

I’ve been so inspired over the past several months.  Having a giggling 11-year-old to point elements of my trip that never before excited me reignited some wonder. And it’s had challenges; I’m not as cool as a cucumber when dealing with touts and haggling after bickering with Ana in our room about wearing sunscreen and hats. Psuedo-solo-parenting and traveling are a tricky combination and something I occasionally fail at, but she’s still alive, so I figure that’s a win, right? ;-)

frangipani at wat banan

Ana throws frangipani in the air after collecting the fallen blossoms from the floor of Wat Banan near Battambang, Cambodia (and, ::cough, cough:: I won the hat debate :)

Yes, there is more to say. But for now, for now I have a mere 14 days with my sweet little niece before we rejoin our family, and I think I’ll soak it in, I just wanted to let you know that we’re here, we’re traveling, we’re taking time to watch the last sunlight fade from the sky each day, and we’ll both have more to say once the adventure ends and we’re camped out at home thinking back on our SEA trip.

sunset mekong river kampot

A pretty sunset on the lower Mekong River from Kampot, Cambodia.


23 Responses to A Little Update…We’re Down to Days, Where Did the Time Go?

  1. Ava Apollo May 9, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

    What an awesome experience for Ana. She looks so stoked in the throwing flowers picture! 

    • ShannonOD May 9, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

      She was so jazzed at her flower idea of throwing them in the air, so I do think that bleeds through in her expression for sure, thanks Ava! :)

  2. barby May 9, 2012 at 7:02 am #

    I sooo envy you!! I want to go tooooo!

    • ShannonOD May 9, 2012 at 11:27 am #

      Thanks barby! If you want it enough you can make it happen! :)

  3. LifePart2 May 3, 2012 at 8:41 pm #

    Great site! Sounds like a fun experience for you and your niece.

  4. Marc May 1, 2012 at 10:25 am #

    We rode the Bamboo train a few weeks ago… sooo cool how they pull them apart, let other trains past then put them all back together – they would make good transformers :)

  5. joanna_haugen May 1, 2012 at 9:32 am #

    I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: Shannon, you are my hero of heroes for traveling with Ana. It’s an experience she’ll never forget, and I’m so proud that you’ve given her a true education on the road. Can you imagine how awesome the world would be if all kids her age could see the world outside their classrooms? We’re currently hosting a high school foreign exchange student from Slovakia, and it’s been an eye-opening experience to see the United States from her perspective. We’re learning things about our country that we never would have noticed without experiencing it with her. Enjoy the rest of your time on the road!

    (Side note: What kind of shoes are you wearing in the top picture? They look really comfortable!)

  6. leo smithuk April 30, 2012 at 9:12 am #

    Love to see the beautiful adventoures you have done so far !!! Beautiful sunset..nice one.

  7. Drew Meyers April 30, 2012 at 7:54 am #

    Soak up your last two weeks. I’m down to my last two as well, and I’m doing the same thing :)

    Talk to you when we are both stateside my friend!

  8. James Schipper April 28, 2012 at 10:06 pm #

    It can’t be almost already over!?! Where will she take you next? :-D

  9. 1Solofemalenomad1 April 28, 2012 at 8:44 am #

    I think that is such an incredible experience for a child to have and has to be the best education that she will ever get. It certainly will be life changing – for you too I’m sure!

  10. 1Solofemalenomad1 April 28, 2012 at 8:44 am #

    I think that is such an incredible experience for a child to have and has to be the best education that she will ever get. It certainly will be life changing – for you too I’m sure!

  11. Gray April 25, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

    Aww. I can’t believe it’s almost over. I’ve so enjoyed reading your adventures together. What can you possibly do to top this experience?

  12. Laura April 25, 2012 at 11:38 am #

    Aww, this is so sweet! I think you shouldn’t worry about blog updates and just enjoy these last few days. I still can’t believe you did this- she is never going to forget such an amazing experience!! (And nice job Shannon on winning the hat debate ;)

  13. Hire Movers April 25, 2012 at 10:28 am #

    Unfortunately, time flies when you are exploring  and especially something that bright and intriguing as Asia. I wish you all the best with the rest of your trip!

  14. Andi Perullo April 25, 2012 at 8:34 am #

    I agree with EJW! And that 2nd to last picture of her throwing the flowers is AMAZING!!!

  15. offtrackbackpacking April 24, 2012 at 10:11 pm #

    You changed her life forever! And of course, introduced her to the world. It’s a great gift!

  16. GotPassport Family April 22, 2012 at 11:29 pm #

    Hey there Shannon and Ana,

    It is truly a win Shannon.  I have said this before- I admire your courage to be a pseudo-solo-parent to Ana.  Some day you will both look back on this and say “Wow, we did all that!”  We miss having you in Chiang Mai. M talks about Ana lots.

    BTW: that’s a lovely hat Ana is sporting.

    Hugs from Chiang Mai, Thailand.

  17. Used York City April 22, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

    What a fabulous photo of your niece! I think it’s so great that you guys are traveling together…what amazing memories this is making!  Enjoy the last few weeks!

  18. Sophia @ SeaRanchRambles April 22, 2012 at 11:54 am #

    Ever since I heard about your project, I’ve been so intruiged. I am the “traveling auntie” in my family and look foward to the day when I can take my nieces on a memorable trip. Enjoy these last couple of weeks with your niece. Such incredible memories!

  19. Marvin @ intrepidmotion April 22, 2012 at 10:31 am #

    Agree with EJW. You’ve delivered a lifetime of memories for Ana. She not only has a more worldly perspective now, she also has the coolness factor and the ability to inspire her peers at school through her experiences and stories that she will tell.

    Bravo Shannon…you hit it out the park as an adventure guide for Ana. Jo and I hope you’re getting on well over there.  It’s 40+ here in BKK.  We’ll be visa running to Cambodia next month ourselves, and can’t wait to see the country!

  20. EJW April 22, 2012 at 10:22 am #

    Ana will have loads of unforgettable memories with her. What an amazing gift you gave her!

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