I remember watching a movie about Anne Frank based on her diary when I was a kid. I’m not sure how much I understood or knew about World War II at that time, but the story of a girl and her family hiding out in an apartment from the Nazis stuck with me. When Andy and I started planning our time in Amsterdam, Anne Frank House was one place I knew I had to visit.
I don’t necessarily push the fact that I am a solo female traveler, but I often encourage solo travel. I just happen to also be a female. Solo travel, whether you’re a man or a woman, can teach you so much about yourself, give you more flexibility, and I truly believe it’s something everyone should try at least once. But some people think solo travel, especially for a woman, is foolish, irresponsible, and just plain stupid. Obviously I strongly disagree.
Travel can bring many difficult experiences in between all the fun times we set out to have. I was just reading a post from my friend Jaime about the Ganges River in India, and it made me think about all of the heart-wrenching or disturbing or awkwardly difficult moments I’ve experienced, especially while traveling in Southeast Asia. I’m not even talking about visiting a concentration camp in Germany or seeing the Killing Fields in Cambodia. I’m talking about normal, every day life.
After an emotional visit to the Killing Fields, I had my tuk-tuk driver take me back into the city to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. This former school was used by the Khmer Rouge to imprison, torture and kill Cambodians. They took pictures and kept records of each person who was brought here, and as a remembrance, many of the pictures are displayed. Walking through the museum was more painful than the killing fields because I could look into the faces of the victims. There were still blood stains on the floor. But the thing that’s so striking about these pictures is how many of the victims were smiling or smirking, staying brave and defiant in the face of cruelty and almost certain death.
Aside from one day alone in Singapore, I had spent three weeks with Amanda. But after our time in Brunei, it was time for her to fly home and for me to fly to Cambodia. I needed a little down time, so I literally did not leave the hostel my first day there. I spent the day in the hostel’s restaurant enjoying the wifi and catching up on my blog, emails, reading other people’s blogs, sorting pictures. (By the way, I stayed at the Mad Monkey, and they have the nicest staff ever!)