“The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.” Said Christopher McCandless, and so I.

12 January 2019, my plane lands in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, where I meet my brother, with whom I will share the journey; in the morning we take another plane that takes us to Siem Reap, the cradle of Cambodian history, and then our adventure begins.

Let’s get to know the area: we head to Angkor Thom – the last capital of the Khmer empire – and the historical site, take a tour of the city of Siem Reap and eat the scorpion; but it is only the following morning that the real show awaits us…

5:30 am. we are already seated opposite on the shore of a small pond, and in front of us the sun rises slowly, revealing to us the spectacle that we and hundreds of other people await: the dawn that rises over Angkor Wat, the largest temple in the world!

The show is simply wonderful, and I feel the joy exploding inside my heart: This is why I love to travel, treasure what the world, and nature, has to offer me.

The next day, a very important excursion awaits us: visit the Tonlé Sap or the “floating village”. At first intrigued and excited, once we arrive the truth hits us strongly: we are in the poorest place in all of Cambodia. The guide takes us to the village school, and a group of children smile at us as they play; my heart breaks in my chest. I never imagined that I was in front of a similar show, but the thing that strikes me most are those children: their smiling faces and their joy overwhelm me, and looking at them I can’t help but wonder if they are cell phones or clothes at the latest fashion to give happiness.

The journey ends the next day, again in Phnom Penh, including quad trips, Buddhist tattoos, and dinners of fried tarantulas. It is a journey that I will never forget, that gave me so much and taught me to appreciate all that life can give, because everything is a gift.

This Travel Story is written by Nick Erba. You can follow more of his adventure on his instagram @Nick_Erba

All Photos in this article are from Nick’s personal archive.

I’m a pastry chef and a travel-vlogger and photographer since 2017.

I think that traveling is the best way to know ourselves, that there is nothing more beautiful than learning all that cultures and places in the world have to teach and that making those moments indelible through photography is simply wonderful.

My motto is “SIC PARVIS MAGNA”, “Greatness from small beginnings”, as Sir Francis Drake said, the first Englishman to circumnavigate the world.

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