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The Benefits of No Itinerary

I’m frequently glad that I’m the sort of traveller that doesn’t even really concoct an itinerary in the first place, let alone stick to one once I’m on the road.

My original plan for this trip was the United States, Israel, Burma and Cambodia. I’ve only hit two of those countries this time around, having changed my plans because of budgetary concerns. Also, I’d flown from Los Angeles to Sydney and then from Sydney to Bangkok over a two day period, so another flight from Bangkok to Tel Aviv appealed to me about as much as spending a night in Poipet.

Then I had to strike Burma off the list this time around because of budget reasons again. However, it’s been great to “fall back” on Cambodia again. It was far from a hardship, I’ll tell ya.

Soon after scuttling the plans for Burma, I realised that there are still loads of places in Cambodia that I’ve not yet seen, despite having spent a lot of time here.

The main reason I’ve been relatively inactive on the photo front is because I’ve had about two months in Cambodia, but have yet to spend much time in previously unvisited areas.

That’s about to change. I intend to explore as much of the rest of the country as I can before my visa runs out, and I’m sure that will mean I’ll be shooting more.

(Actually, I’ve shot a bit of timelapse around Phnom Penh, but the Net here is so slow that I can’t upload any of the footage yet.)

There’s something to be said for hooking up with a tour group. You can be reasonably assured that you’ll get to see most if not all of what you set out to see. If it wasn’t for companies organising everything from accommodation to transport and meals, my parents would never have come to Cambodia to visit me in April of 2010. They’d rather have someone else look after all those details which they find tedious and confusing. There’s no way in the world they would’ve come to a developing country in Southeast Asia if they had to book hotels and transport themselves.

In my view, though, to have the iron-clad itinerary of a package tour takes all the spontaneity away, and that’s probably my favourite aspect of travelling.

Also, I’ve also seen the “edge” of what most Westerners would call civilization in Cambodia, and it’s a place where tour groups just do not go. Some people wouldn’t set foot out of their own country if not for mass tourism, but it’s just not a method by which I could travel.

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