Two friends are joining me on the journey.

Auckland Travel Blog

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The last elements of my travel plans got booked today - so I'm going to bookend the journey to Cambodia with a couple of days each way in Bangkok - a real fun city.

On this journey I'm going with two friends who have not yet met each other - so we'll form an interesting trio. Sigi is a professional cameraman who worked on the classic kiwi movie The Whale Rider and plenty of other features. He's an accomplished cameraman, and a specialist in underwater work - though we don't plan to take the waterproof mount for his big video camera; not on this journey. Our plan together is to record enough footage that we might put together a documentary on Savong's School - and thoughts about that occupy my mind at present. I used to be a script editor and writer for TV, so this stuff should be natural for me - but it's different when I'm part of the subject matter. One thing: it will be amazing to look at things from the viewpoint of others - and being with Sigi will let me see Siem Reap through new eyes. I like his quiet humour also. His aprtner and my partner are forming a Siem Reap widow's club.

Sigi is Austrian, and my other travelbud on the journey is Kafy - a Cambodian who left his home country during the Pol Pot years. He's around my age and we're going to have an interesting time showing each other our respective contact points in Cambodia - me showing Kafy the school, and Kafy showing me his roots story. I'm very honoured to be in his company. Kafy is somebody I met through work, back in 2004, and he put me in contact with another Cambodian, a friend of his - Chay - whom I knew at university. In fact the desire to catch up with Chay was the reason I first went to Cambodia, so I think we're all going to meet in Phnom Penh.

In Malcolm Gadwell's new book Outliers, Gladwell talks about how amazing things happen but seldom if ever in isolation. In my life helping build and support Savong's School is one of those amazing experiences - but it never would have happened without a chain of events and coincidences in the past - going back to meeting Chay, when I was 19, in 1974.  How many different chains exist in our lives like this? A chance meeting, a gap of years, another chance meeting of somebody who knows somebody....all leading toward an unexpected and wonderful event in your life.

It teaches me to treasure everybody, value every moment, and don't regret anything that seems bad at the time - wherever you are, it's leading to somewhere beyond.

Like that Captain Sullenberger on the Hudson River Flight. At first he thought, damn - I'm going to end my career with a crashed plane. But now he sees the greater truth. His whole career prepared him to make that amazing, life saving ditching into the river.

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photo by: Fulla