If you read about Cambodia in the American press, you'll likely read about genocide, amputees, child trafficking or another depressing catastrophe illustrated by someone looking mournful in front of a decaying temple.
Now these are all serious problems and need to be addressed. But Cambodia is more than that. There's a vibrant culture — both unchanged for centuries and at the cutting edge of modernity — and endless adventures.
When I was 22, I was bored with university and work and decided to seek adventure. My initial 10 months as a volunteer teacher transformed into three years. I taught English, worked for a development agency, met my wife, contracted malaria three times, got knocked unconscious in a motorcycle crash and was bitten by a gibbon.
I cannot say I loved every minute of it — being eaten alive by a tiny ape doesn't spark feelings of love — but I think these stories are worth sharing. Not to show that Cambodia is paradise, but to show it is a rich and complicated place with room for anyone seeking adventure.
Right now my ebook — At Home on the Mekong: Columns from living in Cambodia — is available through Amazon's Kindle service. If you don't own a Kindle, you can download free apps for Windows, Mac, iPods, and Android devices. You can even read it in your Web browser.
So if you've ever been curious about quitting your job and heading to the Far East, this is for you.