There ain’t nothing you can do but feel the way I feel, to.

The view from the balcony of my apartment in Battambang.

I moved to Cambodia one year ago and it was like starting from ground zero. I had to make new connections, form new bonds, learn about particular fields of work, meet people from various organisations and network like crazy.

I’ve had to travel through various parts of the country by bus, spending countless hours on the bumpy, shonky version of what Cambodia calls its highways.

I feel like this view and this place I have now found myself in is far too good for me. It is a basic studio apartment with a bed, a balcony and a bathroom. Luckily, it comes with a beautiful wooden desk for my important work.

I remember being back in Sydney one night at a Christmas party and one of my relatives who hadn’t seen me in years asked me what my plans for the future were. My response was, “I want to move to another country on my own and I want to fend for myself.” “But, why would you want to do that”?, asked my relative. I responded by saying, “because, that’s where true growth occurs”.

I feel as though sometimes you become dependent upon that support and that sometimes during those rough moments, you tend to use your support networks as a distraction rather than a tool for gaining insight. I did this quite often. To mask the pain, I would distract myself through indulgence.

Although I have made many close connections since moving to Cambodia, life can still get extremely lonely. Ive lived on my own with my own private space, and I felt lonely. Ive lived with families of up to 20 people living in the same area, and you still tend to feel a sense of loneliness. Even back at home in Sydney, I remember feeling a sense of loneliness quite regularly.

This has nothing to do with my external circumstances, that is quite obvious. Rather, I believe that this is a state of mind. Will companionship on any level aid me? – only temporarily.

The real truth is, this is part of life. So, what do we do about it?

I believe that in these moments, this is where the true jewels are found. In loneliness, there are wonderful truths of wisdom that are waiting to be uncovered. It is just a matter of how far you are willing to go in order to realise some of these truths.

In my case, I spend long periods in isolation. It can be a challenge, but I just cant resist the gifts that come as a result.