Highly recommend this podcast. Insightful debate on privacy vs security.

Sitting in Kep. Listening to some amazing podcasts and soaking it all in. This one made me jump up and say ‘you can’t do that!’ – hope you enjoy it.

Check out this cool episode: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/radiolab/id152249110?mt=2#episodeGuid=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.radiolab.org%2Fstory%2Fupdate-eye-sky%2F


A 6 Month Flight Fast.

Yippee! I did it. It was tough and I realized how privileged I was in the process.

From May 2014 – Aug 2015 I was averaging a flight every 10 days.
At first it was fun. Hopping on UN flights to strange and exotic places. At one point  I flew from rural Afghan to Istanbul to Toronto and then on to Trindad in less than 10 days. Insane. There were moments that it became overwhelming, especially when you find out turbulence wasn’t the reason your plane suddenly veered off course (actually it was because a drone almost hit the plane).

During  this time I was only living out of one small backpack in a very small compound. I never really got to unpack the other one.

I started to worry about my carbon footprint. Sometimes there would only be a handful of us on a one hr flight. If I wanted to go to a grocery store one block from my house, I would need a convoy of two cars for a 15 min trek to buy peanut butter and cigarettes. In rural Afghan you burn wood to keep warm during winter. I could go on and on and on.

Then it all started to change. My weekly carbon footprint was becoming bigger and bigger.

So after a while of this,  I decided enough was enough. And after some inspirational readings from http://www.outofedenwalk.com/ and a month walking the Camino. I made a big decision. Choose a lifestyle, job and a place to live where I could keep my feet on the ground for a while. This meant no flights for 6 months. Even if there was a $11 flight to PP (yes, they do exist) or a $20 flight on AirAsia to some place exotic. I would take the much longer night bus (which actually cost more) to PP or I just stayed at home. I even started to walk a lot more instead of biking.

It hasn’t been easy. It took a long time to slowly change my privileged lifestyle – but this fast was totally worth it. What I have loved is that I was able to completely slow down my way of life.


Why are we called Expats?



Lately I started to struggle with this notion of being called an expat. I came to this country as an NGO volunteer several years ago and now its home. Cambodia is home and I can see myself here for a while. Am I an expat? an immigrant? an inpat? an migrant worker? I found some articles but they tend to lean towards privilege vs  reality. Our simple put – “rich vs poor” I wonder what we would call a Cambodian who moved to Canada?

Africans are immigrants. Arabs are immigrants. Asians are immigrants. However, Europeans are expats because they can’t be at the same level as other ethnicities. They are superior. Immigrants is a term set aside for ‘inferior races’.


A more current interpretation of the term “expat” has more to do with privilege. Expats are free to roam between countries and cultures, privileges not afforded to those considered immigrants or migrant workers.


“During my stay in Thailand I have undergone a transformation from starting out as a (short-term) expat to becoming an immigrant and then a permanent resident and I suppose the final destination would be citizen, but I don’t plan to change my nationality,” he wrote in an email. “When did the transition from expat to immigrant to resident happen?  It is difficult to say since it is gradual, and it is more a state of mind than something physical.”


If you think about it, this slight difference is reflected in the narratives attached to each. Successful American immigrants such as Indian Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo or Ukranian Jan Koum, co-founder of WhatsApp, are heralded for “making it,” but they never fully shed the “immigrant” label or a mention of where they came from. With an Anglophone like, say, Rupert Murdoch of Australia or Tina Brown of Britain, their countries of provenance seem less relevant. In those cases it seems intention doesn’t as much matter as arriving from a former colonial superpower.

Or take an Arab Gulf country like the United Arab Emirates, where there are astaggering 7.8 million non-citizens out of a total population of 9.2 million. The vast majority of those foreigners are migrant workers building the shopping malls and luxury condos that make the country appealing for the small slice of affluent “expats.”






Renovating the new pad.

Its a tough job renovating a new house in Cambodia.
Now imagine renovating an abandoned 1940’s colonial shophouse with the following fun challenges:

No electrical – not even a socket in sight.
No running water – the former owners just collected rain water for the toilets, cooking etc.
No drainage to the city – just one massive septic tank but all the rain water was seeping in the foundation
No internal drainage – no modern pipes just an archaic 1940’s french drain around the exterior courtyard. This lead out to the back of the house. Unfortunately most of the neighbouring properties had houses built over the drains.
Damaged main beam in my bedroom– this wasn’t hard to repair but it initially worried the crap out of me.
Holes! Holes! and Holes! – those old tile roofs do break over time and their were leaks everywhere which just sucked on the one day it rained during construction.
Only 2 Doors and 2 Windows – Yup it only came with 2 doors and windows! Those we are the front. Who would have known that door prices can range from $80 – $300 USD for a single wooden door!

I will let the pics say the rest.


An abandoned 1940’s house close to river but far away enough from the shenanigans of Siem Reap. Its a gem and a rare fine in Siem Reap. There are only a handful left in the entire neighbourhood.


A 5 metre+ tree was growing in the open courtyard – right out of that funky french drain. The roots grew right under the foundation of the main house. The tiles were so warped. I loved it.


After clearing out the other trees/brush that were growing out the garbage, we found and old School pump that was one of the two main water sources for the house. Unfortunately the pumps water source was right next to the septic tank – my guess is that it leaked into the ground water?


Outdoor bathroom and open ventilation.


Oh the roof. Oh the walls. Thank Buddha that the tiles are kickass!

I moved in 2 months after I took possession. I am still renovating bits by bits but the major construction is complete. I am just super happy that after 2 years of being on the move I finally have a house and a bed to call my own for a long long time.

Will write another post – final post renovation. Excited to share the final results and share lessons learnt.

Island Gems

Stuck myself on an island for Khmer New Years with some great books and found these gems that I bought back to the mainland.


The Spirituality of Pilgrimages
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart. And try to love the question themselves”
Rainer Maria Rilke

“To ignore evil is to become an accomplice to it”
Martin Luther King Jr.

The Alchemist 
“My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer,” the boy told the alchemist one night as they looked up at the moonless sky.
“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.”
Paula Coehlo

Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls
“For an American, though, Australia seems pretty familiar: same wide streets, same office towers. It’s Canada in a thong, or that’s the initial impression.”
David Sedaris

The Famished Road
“You are a mischievous one. You will cause no end of trouble. You have to travel many roads before you find the river of your destiny. This life of yours will be full of riddles. You will be protected and you will never be alone.”
Ben Okri

The road to Santiago. PostDated Sept 2015

A postdated blog that I forgot about when my iphone died 1/3 way through my trip. Thank Buddha for saved draft.

Sept 2015.
Currently 1/3 through the 900 km+ Camino to Santiago and beyond. Walking solo on the way but meeting beautiful souls from around the world for conversations, tapas and wine.

Offline while walking and should be back online in mid October.

Pics describe this trip best.

I am walking the Camino alone. Without a guidebooks/maps or phone and without any clear schedule. Some days I walk 6km others 30km+ . I stop when I feel tired and try to find a place to rest – sometimes it means I walk longer most of the time I find a place to sleep.  Just reading the’signs’ alone the way, stopping in cathedrals, conversing with pilgrims, refilling my soul with good books and music.  Enjoying the journey and embracing the struggles more than the daily destination.

My new bf ‘Cookie Monster’ – cookie holds all my possessions on the Camino including wine and of course cookies!

The cathedral in Burgos. One of the best cathedrals I have ever seen.

I love stopping in random towns along the way for snacks. This was just one of the many scenic towns along the way.

In Ages I found a fantastic wine for 4Euro. Shared it with a passerby who declared it was the best they had on the Camino. Bold statement. Cookie monster was pleased.

I am in awe of the way that the Camino brings people together. While sharing wine with my new friend he suggested that I stop in the next town – the oldest human remains in Europe were found there. I randomly found myself on a tour bus with other pilgrims and we were on taken to a dig site by an archaeologist. Those skulls were damn cool. Being on/in a bus for just 20 mins was so weird.

One of the best things about waking the Camino is visiting the old cathedrals (when they are open). I am not catholic but mass is becoming one of my fave ways to reflect on the journey at the end of the day.

A long 33+ km day ended with a nice river.

Pilgrim graffiti!

There are loads of markers leading ‘the way.’

Ancient battle between two outdated tribes was fought here. I wonder who one?

I love the rock art we make along the way.

575 km left to Santiago. Another 100km to the coast!

Mountains, Vineyards and not a person in sight. Its such a perfect day.