by Michelle Mann
All of us wander, some of us late at night to the bodega for no reason. Some of us a few states away. Some of us get drunk and buy plane tickets to faraway lands.
I’ve nested in LA, Paris, and New York. Two of those felt like home.
When you travel there are moments you wake up, you know you are somewhere exotic but you don’t remember where until you dust the sleep off your eyes like glitter from a wild night.
Many times I’ve felt at home in a moment, for a moment. Holding a Cuba Libre at sunset in a rainstorm in the Philippines listening to a rendition of “New York, New York”. Raiding a stylist's closet at a Bangkok Christmas party with Anjelica (a fellow New Yorker), wigs and sequins flying through the air. But those moments and songs fade and we are left in the balmy vastness of the tropics or wherever we may be. The detachment of travel can feel terrifying or electrifying when it re-appears.
Those of us that have wandered past holidays and onto actual real-life abroad, have many fantasies. One of mine has always been to arrive somewhere with the inclination that I’m not just passing through. To find a place to linger in contentment. To find a home, no matter how ephemeral.
One time, not long ago, I found that. With every plank of the rickety pier I clunked my suitcase down, I felt it more strongly. This was a place I would get stuck. The color of the water does not have a name, but it contains a warmth permeated through the whole village. Not just in temperature but in the smiles of the Khmer and the wanderers that cluster in a small village around it. I had arrived at M’Phei Bay on the Island of Koh Rong Sanloem, Cambodia.
**Part 1 of a 2 part series. Stay tuned next week to discover what surprises the island holds...