In the last 22 months, I’ve slept at over 300 different accommodations. A guest house, tree house, above a restaurant, in an office, a staff room, back of a van, loft of an orphanage, on the floor of several airports and I’m sure there’s more that I’m not recalling.
I’ve slept on a boat, in a train, and in a plane (if you want to count that), on a bunk bed, hide-a- bed, cot, couch, bean bag, bathtub, and in the dirt of… lets call it a “campsite”.
Not to forget the fancy resorts, average hotels, bed and breakfasts, family villas and the good ol’ hostel dorm rooms.
All of these of course, don’t include the spare space of my dear friends around the world who have opened their homes as I pass through.
My current location of residence is downstairs from my volunteer work place, which happens to be a movie theater! In the home, there’s a kitchen, shared bathroom, open living area and 3 other bedrooms.
The patio acts for a parking lot and shoe storage for all of us, including movie guests. As you round the corner, you’re welcomed to the entrance of The Flicks, the first movie theater in Phnom Penh! Every week they put out a schedule of specific screenings ranging from documentaries to recent blockbusters. The website is definitely worth checking out at www.theflicks-cambodia.com.
As you reach the top step, an outside balcony invites you for a sit before and after the films or you can choose to enter the hall and chill out by the bar.
We serve food, candy and what cinema would be complete without an old fashion popcorn machine (which made for a perfect “creative photo” of the day)!
They also sell locally made coconut oil, body scrubs as well as rich jams and syrups. All of these are made by hand and provide sustainable opportunities to those in need. Learn more at cocokhmer.com.
We always encourage a cocktail to enjoy while you lounge during the show. When I say “lounge”, I’m not speaking of sitting up strait in those awkward movie theater seats with the arm rest digging into your elbow as the kid behind you creates a drum solo on your chair. I’m talking about the couches and bed cushions that make up this cozy room for viewing. Place an order, grab your beer and lay down… The show’s about to start!
The guests range from locals to expats and include a bundle of fellow backpackers that are excited to feel a touch of home with English films and familiar junk food.
My job? I giggle as I type that, because the work here includes preparing the snacks and drinks, selling tickets and starting the film (watching it too if we want!). Clean up is a breeze and socializing with the guests comes naturally and is definitely my favorite part! Remember Bree? This is the fun spirited girl I met on the flight over here in which we departed by saying “maybe our paths will cross again”. Two days later…
Who is the operator of the genius idea? Meet my new Dutch friend Ramon. I’m positive there’s a handful of you out there who already know this popular guy of many talents. Author, artist, traveler, and retired backpacker, he has paved the ways for many couch surfers and exchange volunteers.
Words to describe this fella: quirky, smart, energetic and (based off of his panda bear hugs) certainly warm hearted.
Turns out I’m surrounded my amazing talent as Gillian, his roommate, is a dancer that is now the choreographer for a national broadcasting program. In fact, just this weekend she judged a televised dance competition where she spoke in the native language while scoring teams of K-pop. What a motivated young girl who took a one way flight from America to start a new journey in Cambodia. Want to see beyond the surface of this intelligent girl? I highly suggest sneaking more than just a peek at her blog pixiedustdance.blogspot.
Now we have Ashley, volunteer turned almost local, she’s also a part of The Flicks crew. Although I haven’t gotten to know her well, her straight forward personality leads me to think she’s confidently independent and her artistic creations expose her creativity. Here she is taking a photo of my “Backpacker go-to” layout. She has started documenting the difference between each traveler and what they always carry with them. (I was out of honey and hot sauce or that would be in there as well!)
Last but not least is my fellow workmate and volunteer, Semhal. She’s a driven college student born in America, native to Ethiopia and now traveling the world in the service of teaching English. With similar interests and instant chemistry, I feel like we’ve known each other for years! Between her quality listening abilities and natural positive outlook, kind and considerate doesn’t even begin to express the genuine heart of my new friend.
So there you have it, my short term home and new friends in the middle of Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Next post… Heading to the streets!