Over the past two years, I’ve had more serious relationships with places than I have with people. When I first arrived in Cambodia, I fell in love with the place. I started studying the language. I read everything I could about the country. I even started a daily Cambodian-related email newsletter. The plan was to stay here for a while and make it my home.
It was like being in a relationship. It was a relationship. It was new and exciting at first, but the excitement gradually faded. Things became more boring as things became more routine. Is this normal? I guess that is how relationships always are, but is it how they’re supposed to be? Did I give this place the attention and chance it deserves? Am I jaded? Should I have tried harder to make it work? What could I have done differently? Am I ready to settle down? Does a perfect match exist? Will I ever find it? Other people would be happy with this, so why aren’t I? Is it even possible for me to be geographically monogamous?
I don’t think I thought that I’d permanently settle down in Cambodia, but the idea of staying here for a year or two crossed my mind. It’s the thought of that, of the deep connection I would have had with this place after two years, that causes me pangs of regret. Oh what might have been.
I love Cambodia. I really do. But I’m not in love with Cambodia. I love it like I love my friends and family. The warm feelings are all there, but there is no passion. There is no romance. That is gone now. I’m bored, and I’m sorry. It’s not you. It’s me.
The photo above is an unfiltered, unaltered photo I took of the sun setting over the confluence of the Tonle Sap and Mekong Rivers at Phnom Penh. The light and the clouds were crazy.
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