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Posted on Aug 21, 2012

No Way In Hell Am I Living In That Shack- Siem Reap, Cambodia

No Way In Hell Am I Living In That Shack- Siem Reap, Cambodia

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When we first arrived to Siem Reap, Cambodia; Kobi was ill. The journey across the border and a few other things just got to him and he was  out for a couple of days. And so, in a monumental, life-shocking coincidence of events; Gabi was in charge of figuring out our family’s long-term living arrangements. We were staying at $20 a night place which could never (financially and otherwise) work out of us. And so, unlike how we leisurely make these decisions; here, we had to make last minute travel.  Most of our location changes are being made on the last minute and from time to time we consider various cheap deals for our last-minute travel plans. The question was do we stay in Siem Reap or do we keep going to the next unknown location. And so, day two, Gabi starts exploring a few options from random people in the street who we told we were looking for housing from. Yes, I get on a motorbike with a complete stranger (male) and start riding around town with him. Why? Cuz he said he would help.

So, we went to a few places. Here’s one I really, really liked and thus, took tons of picture and video to take home and show my ill Kobi.

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And we almost rented this very (how do I  put this lightly) “rustic”, local Khmer-style very basic, very simple home. It had bamboo walls, simple plywood floors, a spot for the outdoor fire/kitchen, and well water downstairs for showers, flushing, and all our cooking and sanitary needs.

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I was super-ly excited with this truly authentic experience; Kobi freaked.

Kobi, for the record, (even with raging fever) is the logical one. He can see two seconds ahead and see which situations will drive us mad and cause us to kill each other, quick. I, on the other hand, am the dreamer. I see no reality, and just walk around looking at clouds, and sighing, humming all sort of derivatives of , “Oh, wouldn’t that be lovely! This could be really special Kobi!”

My video (which was no adjusting to the bright light so well… you’ll see) of the place to show sick Kobi in bed:

 

So, needless to say, we opted out of the the long-term accommodation of $70 a month for a twenty-billion star life at the Garden Village Guesthouse instead.

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Here, in exchange for working at the hostel, we pay $200 a month for a huge ‘properly built’ room including a specially-for-us-brought-in bunk bed, a small fridge, a queen size bed, a/c, hot water, shelves for our stuff, a wooden table and three chairs, and ceramic walls the kids can hang their art work off of.

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We have WiFi, a pool table (which Orazi is getting surprising good at), a very hip and happening bar (which my kids spend far too much time hanging out in during the day), a constant flow of backpackers from around the world (who are so cool to get to know), and a staff around us who love our children and kindly correct us when we say incoherent things in Khmer.

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Again, shack would have been a cool experience, for a day, a weekend, maybe a week; but, certainly not as a long-term living arrangement. We’re not who we were when we lived off the river in the indigenous village in the jungles of Ecuador. There there were 14 village kids and a stream more coming by every day; a school our kids lovingly attended; tons of room to roam in the village meeting hall, kitchen, and grounds; and we were, we were truly ready to spend almost two months meditating, learning, stretching our souls, silently being fully offline and into our spiritual growth off the side of the river. In 18 months of world travel and 9 (14 for Kobi) countries; hands down, our Ecuador experience was the most cherished and life-changing there ever was.

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But, we’re in a different situation and a different state of mind here. Now, we’re working on our blogs as a source of income. We’re investing in the online time, out of pure joy, and out of the realization that if we don’t continue to bring money in online; we’ll need to stop traveling and go back to Israel to work in job jobs. We don’t want that.

So, authentic is cool, and we’re honored to touch it lightly from time to time, to experience the whole spectrum of how people can live their lives. But, for us, for now, comfortable living arrangements full of soul-lifting (people who speak English) and body-comforting (clean sheets on beds and hot showers)  perks (oh,and wifi) works very, very well.

I wrote a delightful piece (debate-ably one of my favorites) over at www.FamilyonBikes.org. It’s my first guest post and I speak in great details, and with remarkable photos, about how we ditched simplicity for comfort when we moved out of our pea-sized cabana into a two-story mammoth house-sitting gig. That was way back in Panama, almost a year ago; but that struggle between simple and comfort, that constantly resetting our equilibrium, and what that means to us, is a recurring theme. I think you love it!

6 Comments

    • tracey. i wrote you the longest reply and it deleted it. damn computer. we work here doing amazing things for this amazing, open-minded hostel owner named pohim who understands the real value of using westerns as a resource to help his business grow. i teach clean your soul classes and help with online marketing. kobi teaches the staff english and customer service; is giving business consultation, and is converting their entire booking and payment system into a computerized system. we love it here! so you coming to south east asia?

  1. I actually like the wooden house. 🙂 But agree with young kids in the Cambodian heat without aircon or running water, this is more of a short term stay. If you are heading to Phnom Penh and need any tips, let me know as I live here.

    • i loved it too. thought it would be one cool adventure. i’m never the realistic one though. we would DIE in the HEAT and would KILL each other long term. Kobi is wise that way! if we get to phnom penh, we’d love to get tips from you, and see you (of course)! thank you so much.

  2. i stayed in siem reap for two months as well last year at naga guesthouse (near hotel dela paix)… they have studio apartments with kitchen 🙂

    • so cool. we looooove siem reap. where are you now? thanks for taking the time to comment…

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