Why Taking a Travel Pause Can Be A Good Thing: A Temporary Home for No Fixed Home

This is coming to you from our temporary home of Siem Reap in Cambodia. Here’s why we made the decision to take a travel pause and how it’s turned out to be a great plan!

We crossed over the Cambodian border on the 1st May this year, after being on the road for exactly 6 months. Don’t get us wrong, we are loving the travel life. But something about the constant movement was starting to take its toll. Which is why it seemed like a good time to slow things down a little, and take a travel pause. We fell for the small friendly city of Siem Reap straight away, so it was a pretty easy decision to make.

So what is a travel pause?

Many people, us included, are only able to travel for a finite amount of time. Although the dream may be to quit your job and never look back, the majority of travellers we have met are on a trip of say, 6 months or a year. This can lead to a feeling of having to cram as much into that time frame as possible. Call it FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), or just wanting to make the most of a once in a lifetime opportunity. But sometimes means that travellers burn out. They end up hating the very act of travelling, of constantly heading from A to B to C. We’re here to say it’s OK to take things slow! We decided to find an apartment and stay put in one place for a few months.

Ok, but what is so great about it?

We are fans of slow travel, but this takes things a step further. The longer you spend in one place, the more you learn about it. We’ve been here for exactly one month now and we have learned so much more about this amazing country and its people than we would have on a passing visit. From the ladies selling fresh veg at the market who now smile at us and throw a few extras in our basket. To the kids on our street who shout hello when we pass. It’s starting to feel like a home away from home! We’ve been here for public holidays, and observed funeral processions and family celebrations. We have tasted the food, wandered the streets and interacted with the locals. We’ve laughed with the local kids splashing in the river, and salivated when the cart comes by selling freshly cooked piping hot sweet potatoes.

Monk having a quiet moment at Angkor Wat

How did we go about finding somewhere to live?

It was really easy, actually. We joined a few Facebook groups for expats living in Siem Reap. These had lots of posts about apartments for rent. We met up with a lovely Cambodian lady after seeing her advert. A short ride on the back of her scooter later (sorry Mum!) we were outside our future home. For the grand price of $200 a month we have a one bedroom apartment with a tiny kitchen and a sunny balcony. Our new landlady even threw in a bicycle each!

Our favourite part about living here is being able to cook again…

Even if we only have one tiny gas stove, one saucepan, two bowls, two plates and a set of cutlery each! We’ve made big batches of vegan chilli, lots of tasty soups with fresh local veg, and some amazing curries. We’re both big foodies and David is a chef by trade, so not having control over what we ate was something that got to us while on the move. Now we can experiment with cooking exciting food made from local ingredients. It’s a lot of fun trying to cook our own version of local dishes! We also eat out plenty of times too. Siem Reap is a vegan food heaven with so many incredible cafes and restaurants to choose from.

homemade chilli and Angkor beer
First home cooked meal in our new home!

What do you do all day on your travel pause? You must have so much time!

Yes we do, and its fabulous! Going from working full time, to travelling full time, to suddenly having all the free time in the world was a really odd experience. We are determined to make the most of it though. We’ve settled into a routine now after the first month. After breakfast we cycle to the gym. Angkor Muscle Gym is a proper old school gym – lots of topless local guys flexing in the mirrors and heaps of antique equipment. But its a friendly place too, and only costs $1 to use! After we pedal back home again and make ourselves a healthy lunch, we spend the afternoon working. I’ve had lots of time to write, and work on the blog, while David is getting to grips with editing some of our backlog of photos. We are also looking into doing some online English teaching to earn few pennies.

Our top tips for settling into a new place

Facebook has actually been great. We’ve joined some expat groups on there which have everything from shopping tips, second hand sales and job offers! David has found a group of people through Facebook who meet up and play 5 a side football every weekend. I’ve found a few yoga classes to try. Don’t be afraid to talk to people and ask questions. We’ve quizzed the market traders on what they are selling (turns out ‘that yellow stuff’ is an amazing Cambodian curry paste!) and asked locals how to say particular phrases. We’ve found there is loads more to Siem Reap than just Angkor Wat.

What are the drawbacks?

Like I said, we only have a certain amount of time for our travels before we go back home to the UK. Now that we are spending a few months in Siem Reap, we are going to have to make some tough decisions. We won’t have time to visit ALL the countries that we want to see in SE Asia. Do we head to Laos and Vietnam? Or Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia? For someone who spent about a year planning, stalking travel accounts on Instagram and fantasising about which countries we were going to visit, having to cut some from the list is really tough. But we honestly feel like it is worth it for the immersive experience we are having in Cambodia.

Have you ever taken a travel pause, or lived in another country for a while? Let us know about your experience in the comments!

Posing at Angkor Wat


14 thoughts on “Why Taking a Travel Pause Can Be A Good Thing: A Temporary Home for No Fixed Home

    • June 1, 2018 at 12:42 pm
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      Thanks ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

      Reply
  • June 1, 2018 at 2:40 pm
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    I’m ready to move into your apartment when you guys move out! I’m forwarding this to Chris so he can see the advantages to taking a pause- he just wants to go, go, go!

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    • June 3, 2018 at 8:27 am
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      Haha! Yeah we started off the trip being all go go go, but we would have burnt out by the end of the year I think. Looking forward to moving onto the next destination being fully recharged!

      Reply
  • June 1, 2018 at 2:51 pm
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    Great advice guys! It would be such a wonderful opportunity to really get to know the place, people, and culture. Good luck deciding where to go next!

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    • June 3, 2018 at 8:26 am
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      Thanks Kaylee! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  • June 3, 2018 at 2:58 am
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    Good article. We certainly understand this decision but felt the FOMO stronger than the need for a long pause. For us, there is too much in the world to see and we just couldnโ€™t jutify losing that much time. There have been several times where we would globe to do exactly this, though. We have taken 7-14 day pauses on three or four occasions which allows time to plan upcoming countries, and just relax doing yoga, gym etc. it is certainly nice. We have been going for almost 12 months now, and have extended to 18 cause we canโ€™t narrow down all the list visits. We just donโ€™t know when weโ€™ll have this opportunity again. We hate that we missed you in SEA, youโ€™ve been to many of the places we recently left. Good luck with the rest of your trip and maybe we will cross travel paths one day ๐Ÿ˜Š. Grant and Megan.

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    • June 3, 2018 at 8:25 am
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      Thank you guys! Yeah it is a tough decision to be honest, and I don’t like the idea of missing out on some of the places we were going to see, but at the same time we are really enjoying being here. We hope to be able to travel long term in the future so I’m sure we’ll come back and see the things we might miss this time around! It does seem like we just missed you a couple of times, but looks like you had a fab time in SEA too. Maybe we’ll bump into each other one day! Enjoy the rest of your trip & safe travels. Charlotte ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  • June 3, 2018 at 12:19 pm
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    We are about to start our year long RTW trip and I found this very interesting. We have talked a lot about not wanting to rush through things and have periods of time where we are in one area for an extended period of time for exactly the reasons you mentioned. Like you, I have spent an extensive amount of time researching potential destinations, etc and I imagine it is going to be difficult at time to be ok with missing out. Good to hear that it has been working for you. Best of luck on the remainder of your journey. We enjoy following you.

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    • June 4, 2018 at 1:41 am
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      Thank you! Yeah it can be tricky to find a balance…once you get going on your trip I’m sure that you will settle into your own travel style and find out how fast / slow you are comfortable with. It took us a while to find out rhythm!

      Reply
  • June 3, 2018 at 2:25 pm
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    Great read guys, I’m glad you are taking the time out, to rest and relax, to get your energies back before you burn out, I can’t wait to meet up with you, I’ll be arriving 4 months today, woohoo, ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ˜˜๐Ÿ›ฌ๐ŸŒˆ love, mam mxx

    Reply
    • June 4, 2018 at 1:38 am
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      Thank you! We’re really looking forward to seeing you too xx

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  • June 4, 2018 at 3:23 am
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    Spot on! I’ve been doing that for years. But making a temporary home base doesn’t mean you have to stop traveling – the difference is you can leave your stuff in your apartment, go off and visit another country for a few weeks and then come back to your temporary home. You’ll get the “holiday vibe” back too which you don’t get if you’re always traveling.

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    • June 4, 2018 at 7:21 am
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      Thanks! Yeah we’re going to go on a couple of little ‘holiday’ breaks to other parts of the country while we’re here, looking forward to it ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply

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