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Koh Rong, Cambodia: An Island Village with Heart

by Tuesday, December 12, 2017

I sit on the porch of my rustic bungalow, feeling the warm ocean breeze against my sun-kissed skin; I hear seashell chimes singing its familiar tune and children at play in the background.  I’m on a tiny island off the southern coast of Cambodia, where time isn’t of anyone’s concern.thewanderlustyogi.net

Koh Rong, Cambodia is an island village with heart. It is small ocean side village with the kindest people you could ever meet. Although its population is around 200 and a very close net community, they welcome foreigners with opens arms and enormous smiles.

I came here on a last-minute decision to visit my daughter who is currently living here.  She is a team leader for volunteers working for a non-profit organization called Reach Out Volunteers She has been here a month, and will be here for another six weeks.


my little island girl!

Since she won’t be coming home for the holidays, I wanted to bring her a little holiday cheer, and with me, love and hugs from everyone back at home who will be missing her this year.


I’m just a little bit excited to see my daughter! 😉

The project her team is working on at the moment, is building an artificial coral reef to place into the ocean, aiding in marine conservation.  The volunteers work on their land project in the hot blistering sun, mixing cement and pouring it into molds. If they haven’t already been scuba diving certified, they study and earn their PADI scuba certification to later scuba dive “with a purpose” by diving with the cement bricks under the sea, to the area where the artificial reef is being built.  Reach Out Volunteers have already placed 500 artificial coral reef blocks into the ocean since the start of this program.

thewanderlustyogi.net thewanderlustyogi.net thewanderlustyogi.net thewanderlustyogi.net


I feel quite guilty, as I can view them working from this very porch I sit.  My days consist of sunrise gazing, reading, swimming in the ocean, taking leisurely walks along the shore, ocean hut “vegan” dining and afternoon naps. However, the volunteers don’t seem to mind at all, and watching them makes me feel very proud of them for what they are doing. I’m their official cheerleader for the week.thewanderlustyogi.net

They are a small group this time, probably due to the holidays, only five, (usually being triple that number) but the group is happy with the size and has already become a little family. I have been even fortunate enough to get to know each of them myself.


Reach Out Volunteers- Cambodia! (Sophie, Jess, Kelly, Magnus, Jess, Maddie)

There is Magnus from Norway who is a big teddy bear.  He made it a point for me to join them one night to play a game of trivia. The random facts stored in his head is unreal! I think that’s why he wanted me to play? To show me his skills.  And yes, I was quite impressed! I call him a walking Wikipedia and this gift of his is great for him, since he is in college studying education to become a teacher. He also loves Oreo cookies more than anyone I have ever met.

Then there is sweet Jess from Australia. She is the youngest of the bunch, only 17, but very mature and has a heart of gold. She reminds me a lot of my daughter.  She loves to surf and anything to do with the ocean and is planning on becoming a sports physical therapist. I also learned her love for chocolate. She always gets her chocolate shake before bed, which is as sweet as she is. We shared a sunrise together talking about her future goals and I see her going very far in life.

Next, we have another “Jess” and Kelly. A young couple from Australia as well. Jess is already scuba certified and loved it so much that she wanted to go for the next level of certification and brought Kelly along to so he could get certified also, while they give back to the world together. I haven’t gotten to know them too well, but they are very nice and taught me about a famous Australian sweet called Lamingtons, which sounds totally delicious. I wonder if they sell it on Amazon?

Last, but not least, there is Sophie. Yet another Australian volunteer.  She is always happy and smiling no matter what. Her upbeat attitude is contagious and her smile makes everyone around her feel happy. She loves movies and music and is studying to become a psychologist, which seems to be the perfect fit for her, since she is so approachable and accepting of others. I’m positive she will help many people throughout her career. She also taught me the correct way to eat Vegemite; on toast with butter or crackers, but a very thin layer. I’m still not sure if I will ever like the stuff, but I’ll try it again just to give it another chance.

I’m so glad that I got to come here to Koh Rong, to see my daughter working on this beautiful island with these beautiful people. It is something that I will forever cherish. Before, I could only imagine in my mind what the location was like, what the project was all about and who she would be working with. And now, I know!thewanderlustyogi.net

Although I couldn’t spend a lot of time with her, I loved our morning sunrise ritual together before the volunteers would wake up, talking about the day upon us and getting morning kisses from the hotel family’s puppy Joop Joop. I looked forward to her frequent stop-bys with updates of what they were up to next. I also enjoyed a few nights hanging out playing games or watching movies with these wonderful kids, who gave a few weeks of their lives to give selfless-service, in helping to save the oceans.

I even had the honor of teaching them a sunrise yoga class on the beach, along with the island dogs, and it was pure magic!thewanderlustyogi.net thewanderlustyogi.net thewanderlustyogi.net thewanderlustyogi.net

I cannot put into words how proud I am of my daughter. She is fearless, determined and passionate and touches every soul she meets. Watching her lead and making connections with people from all over the world is the best Christmas gift I could ever wish for.  My heart is overflowing with pride, joy and gratitude.


morning sunrise ritual with Maddie

In these times of sadness, devastation and constant turmoil, a week witnessing the younger generation giving back, gives me hope that they are the change that we wish to see in this world. The future looks bright and they are the light!




Do you have a Travel Bucketlist?

by Monday, February 2, 2015


It used to be that world travel was only a luxury that the rich and famous could attain. These days, people from all walks of life and status are globe trekking all the time.  With awesome travel deals and discounted flights available online, from sites like sky scanner, TravelocityExpedia , and priceline, just to name a few, pretty much ANYONE can afford to travel if they really wanted to. And for even deeper savings, if you are brave enough to attempt alternative accommodation options: like hostels, couchsurfing, and airbnb, you could stretch your dollar even more.

thewanderlustyogi.netI started traveling within the USA while I was young and then slowly explored a little further each succeeding trip into places like Mexico, Bahamas and other Caribbean Islands. To me this was “world travel” I was a bit timid and naive and felt scared leaving the US, possibly because of the media and my upbringing that other places were scary and bad. Unfortunately, I’m sad to report this sentiment is not uncommon amongst people in my country. Why is it that we, as Americans, are brainwashed into thinking that we are the only safe country in the world? I hate to bring it up, but the deadliest known terrorist attack in the world happened on September 11th, 2001, in the United States of America! With this being said, I admit there are some risks involved with traveling, as with a lot of other things, such as driving, skiing, drinking, smoking, eating unhealthy, not exercising , but people do these things everyday without thinking about the risks involved. For me, I’d rather take a slight risk and experience an amazing life of adventure than to be paralyzed with fear, not leave my country, and still possibly die of injury, illness or lifestyle choices anyway.  “Carpe diem” I say!

thewanderlustyogi.netI now travel more international and plan on not stopping until the day I die. The more places I visit, the more I realize, we are all the same. Everyone is trying to get through life  and just want love and  happiness. We are one. Imaginary borders doesn’t change that we are all human beings, sharing this beautiful planet called Earth. I want to see it all!

thewanderlustyogi.netI know this is not possible, for there is only so much time and money to see every single place on Earth, so I tried to narrow it down to make a tentative bucket list of travel, if you will.  It may change as I see more, but here is a rundown of my lifetime itinerary travel goals.


in no particular order-by region

(*denotes places I have already visited or have booked)


Amalfi Coast, Italy




*United Kingdom










Czech Republic



Great Wall of China, China



*United Emirates





Sri Lanka


Phi Phi Island, Thailand

South East Asia










Bora, Bora, French Polynesia



New Zealand

French Polynesia


Cairo, Egypt


South Africa




Rio De Janeiro,Brazil

South America





Galapagos Island


Leon, Nicaragua

Central America

Costa Rica



Writing this made me realize I sure do have my work cut out for me. I didn’t even name the multiple cities in each country either. I may have bitten off more than I can chew, but I have to just chip away, checking off each as I go. I also realized that I guess I don’t want to see Antarctica, however, I don’t think I have to explain why?  Brrr. Lastly, I didn’t mention North America and Canada, but I will write another article on the states I still need to see here at home.

Creating a bucket list is a fun way to look forward to travels, or any goals you set for yourself to accomplish in your lifetime. They say visualization is the first step in manifesting your reality. Life goes by way too fast to let time slip away and not live your life to its fullest. Living by definition is- “the pursuit of a lifestyle of the specified type”

Travel to me is living. 

thewanderlustyogi.netDo you have a Travel Bucket List?

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