Phnom Penh Timelapse

A Phnom Penh friend posted this video on Facebook. I’ve watched it a few times through; amidst the deluge of moving anxiety dreams and before-I-go to-do’s, it’s been a nice way to pause—a kind of moment of stillness, a stand-in for the meditation I’ve been entirely too busy to do.

So of course it’s a terribly idealized depiction of the city. (“What did they did with all the rubbish?” one person commented.) But I have to say that there were moments there that kind of felt like this—riding in a tuk-tuk at night, when the city was still, half-asleep with a cool breeze off the river, and it felt magical and precious and like home in a way you couldn’t quite explain.

It’s good to be reminded of that, even if the moments were fleeting and only one side of what it felt like to be there, live there—good because the move is getting close and I’m starting to stress.

I’ve been waking up unrested, unsettled from tangles of intense dreams, catastrophes that prohibit me moving: car accidents, robberies, deaths, pregnancy. In my waking mind, I don’t feel that worried, am still consumed with the day-to-day’s of a life that doesn’t feel like it’s ending. Except that I’ve started to stress about money. Money’s an easy thing to stress about—it’s measurable, tangible, far easier to stress about than the big blank horizon of unknowns.

“You’re still so young,” a friend told me over dinner. “Even if you go out there and it all falls through, and you have to come back and start over in a year, you still won’t be 30 yet.”

“I know,” I replied, nodding. I’d given myself the same rationalization.

“But,” she smiled, “I don’t think that’s gonna happen.”

I sighed. “Me neither. And that’s what really scares me.”

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4 Responses to “Phnom Penh Timelapse”


  1. 1 Lesley August 24, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    I’d like to add the obligatory “30 is not old.” πŸ™‚ I moved to Mexico when I was 30. Not that you asked for validation, but it sounds like you’re doing the right thing. Your heart usually knows before your mind does.

    • 2 laurenquinn August 24, 2011 at 4:13 pm

      Thanks for the vote of confidence, Lesley! Definitely open to all the validation I can get right now. πŸ˜‰

  2. 3 Richard August 25, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    I think you are absolutely doing the right thing. Sometimes you really have no emotional choice. If you didn’t go, the memory of the moment you decided not to can end up haunting you forever.

    Whatever comes of it, you get to wear the smug little badge that says ‘I lived’. That’s something that not many people, regardless of their age, really get to do.

  3. 4 Naomi August 27, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    You are such an amazingly talented writer, and I cannot wait to see what you create out of this new phase in life πŸ™‚


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Lauren Quinn is a writer and traveler currently living in Hanoi. Lonely Girl Travels was a blog of her sola travels and expat living from 2009 to 2012. She resides elsewhere on the internet now.

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