Like Alice tumbling down the rabbit hole into a land of mystery and intrigue, I waver on the brink of my own blackened rabbit hole.
In a few short days I will jump on an aeroplane and embrace life in a foreign land.
The land is Cambodia and the life I will embrace is that of a rookie journalist trying to find a story in a smorgasbord of alien customs, traditions and dialects.
Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh will be my crib for the next three months as I brave humid conditions and foreign languages in the search of a story for the daily English language newspaper, the Phnom Penh Post.
The Phnom Penh Post is Cambodia’s oldest existing independent paper read by thousands of locals, expatriates and foreign subscribers.
As my departure day dawns, my imagination runs wild about life in the rabbit hole. I have been hit left, right and centre with advice on what not to do while I am there …
* Don’t drink dark coloured drinks – they have probably been drugged.
* Don’t eat anything uncooked.
* Don’t drink water that hasn’t been boiled and then re-boiled for extra measure.
* If you’re robbed, don’t fight back, let them take your cash and they will most likely give your purse back when they are done.
Criminals are polite like that.
“Enjoy yourself,” a former Phnom Penh Post journalist advises me.
“I had the time of my life.
“Make sure you do too.”
Departure is dawning and the rabbit hole remains a kaleidoscopic uncertainty.
I have been injected with drugs of the legal kind and my passport lies on my bed stamped with a business class visa.
There is an adventure on the horizon and nothing is going to hold me back, not even advice that sets my pulse racing at a ridiculous rate.
My mission is to set fears and prejudices aside and to learn, understand and grow in experienced truths.
Learn the language, the customs, the history.
Understand the pain and the poverty.
And grow into a skilled journalist who has witnessed and shared the burdens and joys of her sources.
– Follow Deb’s adventures in Cambodia, as she updates this blog during her travels.