I moved to Cambodia. Wow. Feels incredible to say! And scary as hell!
I’ve been wanting to live abroad for years, but was too scared to do it (and sad to leave family and friends!), so pushed the desire aside. And with each of my three trips to Southeast Asia, my crush on the region grew and on my last trip in December 2016/January 2017, a voice inside of me said, “Marisa, you gotta do it.” I had to listen.
Let’s back up… how did I get here? For multiple reasons, 2016 was my most challenging year yet. In November, I quit my job without a new one. I wanted to get away and contemplate my future. Pictures of Bali danced in my mind (never been before) and the decision was made: Bali for December 2016.
I had always followed the rules and went from school to school to job to job to job. I’d never done anything like this before. Friends joked that it was my “Eat, Pray, Love” trip. I was heavily focused on the eating and praying portion and jetted off with a sense of curiosity and adventure.
I had an incredible, liberating month in Bali. I continued to listen to the voice inside of me and next went to:
- Siem Reap, Cambodia, to volunteer teach English for a week as I wanted to start 2017 by doing something good for the world (and had been wanting to do this since my first trip to Cambodia in 2014).
- Koh Samui, Thailand, to work out at a fitness camp for two weeks as I wanted to do something good for me.
While I was focused on eating and praying in Bali, I unexpectedly fell in love. Guess my friends foresaw the future 😉 I went back to Bali to spend more time with him before we came back to Los Angeles together.
Being back in LA was a challenge. I love LA. I adore LA. But my heart was not there. That yearning to experience life outside the US was burning hot and I heard the voice again, “GO!!”
With my last few adventurous vacations, I’ve felt alive discovering new lands and communities; have seen life from a different perspective; have reprioritized what is important to me.
I wanted to slow life down and do something more meaningful with my time. So, with all these new feelings, yearnings and love by my side, we decided to move to Cambodia. Why Cambodia? To me, this country and its people are special. So warm, welcoming and appreciative. I still remember riding my motorbike to volunteer teach English one morning in January 2017… I had a huge smile on my face and that inner voice said, “You are supposed to be here.”
I’m aiming to work for a non-profit, teach English or something that’s heavily involved in the community… a complete departure from my 14+ year career in digital marketing, communications and public relations!!
As of now, despite neither of us ever being there, we plan to settle in or around the Sihanoukville area, a coastal city in Southern Cambodia.
Excited for this adventure and hope you will follow along!