This Friday I wanted to introduce you to Paula Nelms from Paula Through the Looking Glass Blog and her story and picture of Yeay Mao Bokor Mountain in Kampot, Cambodia.
At the respectable age of 30, she decided to quit her successful marketing job, give up her gorgeous London flat and travel around Southeast Asia for 6 months.
Some might have called this a quarter-life crisis but she likes to think of it as an ‘awakening’!
Now she has decided to make this a permanent move and she wants to share my journey, experiences and learnings along the way.
Picture Story: Yeay Mao Bokor Mountain
In month two of my six-month stint in Southeast Asia in 2014, I found myself in the magical country of Cambodia. A country that totally got under my skin and won over my head & my heart.
I learnt about its tragic recent history, in the murderous Khmer Rouge, and the kindness of its people despite all that tragedy.
I discovered the beauty & awesomeness of Angor Wat in Siem Reap and was enchanted by the capital city of Phnom Penh.
I also partook in the partying of Sihanoukville, which is by far one of the craziest, yet gorgeous places in Southeast Asia!
So after a week partying my bum off, I needed a chilled out place to recover…enter Kampot!
Kampot is a sleepy little town just East of Sihanoukville along the coast and is the perfect place for some R&R. I decided to take the opportunity of a quiet town to learn how to ride a motorbike!
On my first ride out I decided to venture around town and drop off some laundry…after 15 minutes of riding, I looked down to the footwell of my rented bike to check my laundry bag was still safe and to my horror, it was gone!!!
Panic ensued as I realised my entire travelling wardrobe was in that bag, and as I retraced my ride I was frantically trying to work out what I would do if I couldn’t find it!
After almost giving up, thinking some Cambodian or other was probably sifting through my dirty undies (!!)
I tried one last road and to my astonishment, a load of people started waving and shouting at me to stop…they had my bag!!! I have never felt such a relief wash over me :) I actually gave the guy a hug! haha
Anyway, you are probably wondering what that has to do with a Buddha, well after all that practice riding and having safely delivered my laundry to the shop. I was on such a high I decided to take my new riding skills and drive up to the Bokor Mountain just outside Kampot.
The ride was serene and the views were fantastic! What a way to spend my first time on a motorbike (well a scooter anyway!). As I rode up the wide, windy road the temperature fell and it got quite foggy, I was on a cloud!
After 20 minutes of this, my hands were numb and I needed to stop, that is when I came across the epic Yeay Mao, happily sitting atop the mountain looking down onto Kampot and the surrounding landscapes. It was both eery and spiritual all at the same time.
I sat there contemplating where I had found myself and how lucky I was to be alive. It’s a day I’ll never forget!
Yeay Mao or Lok Yeay Mao is an ancient mythical heroine and a divinity in the local popular form of Buddhism and Brahmanism in Cambodia.
She is popular mainly is in the coastal provinces of the country, especially along the road from Phnom Penh to the sea port of Sihanoukville, as well as in Kampot and Kep.
Yeay Mao Bokor Mountain is a 29 meters tall monument to inaugurated in 2012. She is considered the protector of travelers and hunters.
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