Tucked away in the northeastern corner of Cambodia, I've found a place of solace in the town of Banlung where I'm taking a little break.
Originally, I was only supposed to stay in Banlung for 4 days then leave Cambodia to Laos. This isn't necessarily a complicated border crossing, except that I'm now on a motorbike (oh yeah, I bought a motorcycle 3 months ago.) And when you have a vehicle, are on your own and female, and at any border crossing in the world, you need to be prepared.
Then I was given a choice.
When I was about to leave for Laos, a local Cambodian I met sent me a message of warning and to check the local news. I discovered that military troops from both Cambodia and Laos were gathering on the border, and the prime minister of Cambodia giving a 6 day warning for Laotian troops to leave the area.
Since I was young, I've read stories of adventures, but my favourite was always Robert Young Pelton. He made his living making friends with the worst sorts of war lords and criminals and traveling in and out of the world's most dangerous places. My brother and I read his book (Robert Pelton's The World's Most Dangerous Places) so many times, that it's falling apart on the spine and the cover. My choice was whether I wanted to pursue what he has done so many times: Enter a (potential) war zone.
I thought I could go. I could learn what was going on. I could seek that dangerous thrill and be like someone I aspired to be like.
I took a deep breath and realized that I needed to slow down and think about this. There's adventure, and then there's the adventure left for professionals who have extensive life insurance policies on top of their experience and training and language and everything else that comes with international conflict reporting.
After taking a step back, I opted to stay far away and wait until the border situation resolved itself or if I needed to change all of my plans. Since then, it's been about a week and everything is resolved but I'm enjoying my time catching up on things in my life I've long neglected and just living a bit of a 'normal' life on my own.
I've been to waterfalls, drank rice wine during a ceremony to celebrate the growing of rice, interacted with indigenous cultures, volunteered teaching English, caught up on a variety of mundane tasks I've been pushing off, and kept a steady sleep schedule.
Far from dull, but also far from any conflict.