Expatification: My First Week Goes Live

So remember what I was saying a few weeks back about y’all having to follow more links? I wasn’t lying.

I had two pieces about my first-week adjustments go live this week on Matador. The first, “How To Rock in Phnom Penh,” is about tromping off to the Dengue Fever show while I was recovering from a stomach flu, and sussing out the very peculiar social scene here. It’s also about realizing, “Holy shit, I’m here.”

The second, “How 12-Step Slogans Helped Me in Phnom Penh,” is a far dorkier account of using program tools to keep myself from totally using losing my cool. (Don’t mention specific programs, so Tradition 11 is safe and sound!)

It was weird to practice restraint and not post my first-week experiences immediately on my blog (sucker for the instant gratification). But it’s something I’ll be getting used to.

It’s also nice to have these go up this week, as I’ve been feeling monumentally frustrated with the freelance process. You know—you pour all this time and energy into pitches and submissions, and you think they’re pretty good, and at least half the ones you send never even earn responses. So it’s not even like you can figure out what you did poorly or how to improve. It can get really demoralizing.

But it’s all part of the game, part of the hustle, and besides—this is the path I chose. And I can always unchoose it, go back to waiting tables in the States. (Or not.) So, yeah, just nice to feel a little gratification is what’s otherwise been a dismal month in the life of a freelancer.

So read away, friends.

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3 Responses to “Expatification: My First Week Goes Live”


  1. 1 Eva December 18, 2011 at 2:24 am

    I hear you on the frustrations of freelance life, Lauren. Worth noting: If you’re getting responses to even half the stuff you’re sending out into the world, you’re doing pretty damn well! I find even a rejection note is a rare treat these days. Keep at it.

  2. 2 Awkward American Traveler December 26, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    Dude! I live in Phnom Penh, went to that Dengue Fever concert, and am a freelance writer giving the middle finger to this gig. I’m loving your blog and am totally re-inspired to write. How long are you staying here?

  3. 3 Anna January 4, 2012 at 1:44 am

    Hi Lauren, I just read your article about trying to freelance in Phnom Penh and you mention being interested in some volunteering. I was a Leadership Resident for the Harpswell Foundation, and it honestly changed my life.

    http://harpswellfoundation.org

    I taught a creative writing class while I was there, but I am sure they’d love to work with you in whatever capacity you feel is appropriate. If you are interested, contact Varony (Varony_harpswell@yahoo.com) and visit the dorm. That would give you a chance to meet (fall in love with) these women, and develop some ideas about what you’d like to do. You can also email me at abvrogers@gmail if you have any questions. Best of luck!


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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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