Travel opens all kinds of doors and if you choose to step through them, it can lead to life changing moments. This happened for me 2½ years ago when I spent 4 glorious weeks travelling through Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand with my gorgeous daughter. I returned to “real” life having peaked through the cracks in many newly opened doors, but not yet aware of how, or even if, I would ever step through one….
Cut to a month ago, I received a link from that amazing daughter of mine, to a job being advertised by an NGO in Battambang, Cambodia. When we first returned from our trip we, of course, wanted to watch every doco or travel show we could find, about the wonderful countries we had visited. One of these was an episode of a TV program called Australian Story. The episode, titled “Children of A Lesser God”, followed the journey of an incredible young Australian woman, Tara Winkler, who, after a similar S.E.Asian holiday to the one we had just taken, did not immediately return home to her comfortable life, but rather decided to extend her stay and do what she could to help.
The link my daughter sent me was for a job at the NGO that was founded by this wonderful lady, the Cambodian Children's Trust, and she urged me to apply. The position was for an Ethics and Philosophy teacher for the 45 children in her care & over 80 'street kids' she'd taken under her wing. With a little prompting, a week later I sent off my application, excited that perhaps I was finally going to bust down one of those doors and take a step into a new dream.
A few days went by and then, quicker then I could have hoped, an email appeared in my inbox. They were impressed with my application and Tara wanted to do a skype interview with me. This occurred within days and I was offered the job before the interview was over.
It all happened so fast that I barely had time to register what I had agreed to do. I realised I would be giving up the comforts of home, saying goodbye to friends and family and heading off for a minimum 6 month contract in a country that was not only worlds away from Australia culturally, but was also the only South East Asian country to have known mass genocide and was still, more than 30 years later, struggling to rebuild, after losing over 20% of their population. That's when the nerves kicked in, but I was nervous with excitement more than anything.
With the support of my family and many wonderful friends, I am now in the throws of organising myself to embark on this new journey. I leave in about 4 weeks. I’m not prepared yet, but I will be. I’m excited, nervous, happy, sad, and emotional, but I know that I am going to gain so much from working with these children and all the amazing people that surround them.
I hope that this blog will not only allow me to document this journey for myself, but will also show others that ending up where you are meant to be is possible for all of us...