The adventure is under way! Just a quick post to let all of my (2, maybe 3) readers know I’ve arrived safely in Phnom Penh.
The journey started with a bit of a mixed check-in experience at Heathrow.
The pro: I’d like to congratulate myself on thinking ahead to select my seats online a couple of days before, so as to avoid the inevitable put-in-a-window-seat-next-to-an-uncomfortably-overweight-fellow-passenger-who-sleeps-the-entire-time. The no escape-route danger zone, if you will. Tip for other solo travellers who also don’t like flying, or also can’t sleep on long flights; set alarm in phone for online seat selection whenever the airline allows, and enjoy feeling of organised accomplishment.
The con: had something of a false start with the airline refusing to let me through as I didn’t have a return flight booked out of Cambodia. Tried to explain several times I’d read the Cambodian visa page and it was fine, but I only elicited suspicious looks in return. After five different colleagues were called over to join the consultation, and throw many concerned glances in my direction, I was sent on my merry way. Phew.
Finally checked in and through security, I suddenly felt quite alone and the thought of not being back home for a while was a bit odd. Tucked into a sausage sandwich to make me feel better and posted the obligatory ‘bye I’m off’ post – and was amused to see that it was in the top 5 Instagram posts tagged at Heathrow T4. Does that make me enough of a Z-list celeb for reality TV?
After a long and bumpy 13-hour flight to Kuala Lumpur, followed by a shorter and less bumpy one to Phnom Penh, I was delighted to arrive in Cambodia to two familiar faces – my friend Cerys and her boyfriend Joe, who are travelling more or less the opposite route through SE Asia to me, so we decided to meet up in the middle of their trip. ‘CHEAT!’, I hear you all protest, the phony #solotraveller not to be believed. To that I say, well yes, I suppose there might be a bit of weight to these accusations, but I wasn’t about to bypass the opp to see some friends – and gives me a nice trial period in which I can be supervised before I’m released into the wild fully solo. Jackpot.
In Phnom Penh now for a few days, so I’ll check in again soon.
Until next time,
Number of strangers I’ve spoken to today: 8. 6 of whom were Malaysian Airlines staff determined not to let me fly.
Interaction was: largely stressful, to have adventure almost over before I even got through security.
One Woman and Her Backpack x
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