Back in college, I had the best roommate in the whole world: Jess. It was nearing the end of my freshman year when we decided on a whim to room together during the upcoming fall term. At the time, we didn't really know one another that well, but shortly after, we become inseparable.
For the next three years, we spent untold hours together, doing things like attending late shows at her movie theater job (where I'd get in for free!), knitting while watching "Pride and Prejudice" at home, having spa days, and hosting dance parties. Sometimes we'd even study.
Now that college is over, we've moved to different parts of the country, and we've grown and changed a lot. Though we stay in touch, we don't see each other nearly often enough.
I miss you, Jess!
Jess has a brother, Pete, who has a wife, Natasha. After getting married, they saved up for a long, belated honeymoon, beginning with a classic American roadtrip. Jess put us in touch a few months ago because the second half of their travel-adventure is a four-month tour of Southeast Asia!
I've been corresponding with Natasha regularly ever since, offering ideas on places to visit, and sharing practical advice about things like Diva cups, and the availability of ATMs in Thailand. We've been hoping to meet up for quite some time, and I've just received an email from Natasha—she and Pete are in Sihanoukville right now!
Actually, we've been in the same city for a few days, but it wasn't until Natasha saw our website map, and the orange marker resting right on the beach, that she realized we were in the same place! Excited that we've finally crossed paths, we made plans to meet this evening at a nearby bungalow/bar/restaurant, Monkey Republic, for dinner and drinks.
Night has fallen; the hours have raced by with their typical breakneck speed, and before we know it, it is time for us to meet some new friends. A short walk leads us to the restaurant, where we meet Natasha and Pete at last. We start the night with a round of drinks and some laughing honesty, confiding in one another almost immediately that none of us really wanted to come out tonight.
It seems strange given that all of us have spent so much time travelling, but we're really just a bunch of homebodies! Staying in and writing or watching movies sounds much more appealing than going out and drinking. We all have a good laugh when we voice our (unfounded) shared fear about winding up stuck at a table for hours and hours with a pair of weirdos.
We also have the pleasure of meeting their new friends, Travis and Magalie, with whom they've been traveling for the past few days. They are on day eighty-something of a two-year honeymoon around the world, backpacking by bus, train, and whatever local transport they can find. He's a chef; she's an aspiring writer/photographer.
Over a few hours an many dirt cheap beers, we all get to know each other, trading travel stories both good and bad, from our favorite moments, to some of our worst experiences. Thankfully, Maggie and Travis's awful encounter with bedbugs is a story we only need listen to with horror, we've been lucky enough not to have any personal experience with the little beasts.
Eventually, the conversation steers to cameras, as most of us are avid photographers.
I have no idea what I'm talking about in this photo, but Natasha took it while playing around with our Nikon D700, lamenting the crappy low light performance of her own camera. I remember that frustration all too well!
After lots of drinks courtesy of Maggie and Travis, who insist on picking up the tab (Thanks guys!), and many laughs all around, it's time for bed. We had planned on leaving tomorrow, but we've been wooed by their tales of a much quieter, cleaner beach than ours… so we've decide to spend a day or two more, hanging out.