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West Coast, East Coast, and Around the World

Photo Credit: mark stephens photography/Shutterstock

My best friend from college and I haven’t lived on the same coast for more than a decade. With one of us on the East Coast and the other on the West, it’s hard to sync up. Work schedules, meal schedules, sleep schedules — none of these is conducive to staying in touch. 

Yet somehow, we have. But that’s because we don’t do it in the periodic spurts of normal friendships. We do it in megadumps: intensive days-long catch-ups at pivotal moments in our lives in destinations near, far, and often nowhere in between. 

We’ve extended business trips in cities like Atlanta, where I now live but at the time, didn’t expect to. Spent days in a cloud forest in Costa Rica after even more getting rained on at the hot springs. Another time, we walked around the streets of Philadelphia, doing more soul-searching and deep talking than sightseeing. Most recently, it was in Ireland, where she joined a group trip I’d put together for a milestone birthday.

For just $385 — for seven nights not per person, but for both of us — we couldn’t resist this deal. At that price, we figured it didn’t matter how much the flight would cost; the stay was practically free.

Although they happen organically and not with any regular frequency, we’ve gotten to look forward to the prospect of these in-destination extended dates. So last year, with no end in sight, despite not having anything concrete planned, it was a hard pill to swallow that the possibility of a meetup wasn’t even on the table. But we’re making up for it. As travel deals started hitting our inbox again, we jumped on one that was so far-fetched, so far away, and so bucket-list that we were sure it’d balance out the year in travel we had lost: Cambodia.

For just $385 — for seven nights not per person, but for both of us — we couldn’t resist this deal. At that price, we figured it didn’t matter how much the flight would cost; the stay was practically free.


This coming winter, we plan to beat the chill in NorCal and Georgia by hopping over to the other side of the world to Siem Reap, staying at Navutu Dreams Resort & Wellness Retreat. The plan, obviously, was to spend at least a day exploring the Eighth Wonder of the World, the amazing City of Temples, Angkor. This monumental complex is, to date, the biggest religious structure on the planet, and honestly, after the year and a half we’ve both been through, we could use a little restoration in our faiths. This ancient seat of the Khmer kingdom is also the most important association to this Asian country — its main temple, Angkor Wat, is depicted right on the nation’s flag. 

Kompong Khleang is also in the Siem Reap province, and has been labeled one of the best floating villages to visit in the area.

 

Also on the docket: exploring the local villages and cities — particularly the Old Market — via tuk tuk, one of those whimsical motorbike-pulled carriages that have become iconic for Thailand and Cambodia travel. But this isn’t the only novel method of travel we hope to experience. Kompong Khleang is also in the Siem Reap province, and has been labeled one of the best floating villages to visit in the area. And the both of us, well, we happily travel for and in pursuit of food, making these stops high priorities.

However, part of the appeal of this package was also the resort and its inclusions. Right outside the religious site that is the area’s headliner, this small, boutique, family-owned luxury resort’s offer is guaranteeing that I uncharacteristically slow down, creating moments of that quality in-person time that’s been so pivotal to the health of any long-standing friendship. The rate we were paying, we’d receive daily breakfast, roundtrip airport transfers, a welcome drink upon arrival, a shared lunch, and a 60-minute Khmer massage per person. Add on a 12-hour tour to Angkor Archaeological Park and Khmer Tasting Tray for two it was a deal we couldn’t possibly turn down. All of these made the additional inclusion of free WiFi absolutely moot — after a year living in a virtual world, the only things we plan to connect to are the experiences we’ll be sharing. 


Read our other stories in our Travelpalooza series.


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