Being a 20-Something in Cambodia

Too often I get sucked into those bullet-point articles detailing some new epiphany about the greatness of life as a twenty-something. Each new list reads almost like a set of instructions: 10 Ways to Enjoy Being a Single 20-Something, or 15 Ways to Embrace Living Alone, or 20 Reasons to Love Being 20-Something.

By definition, I guess I am twenty-something, but if I were to follow some of the advice handed out by the all-knowing “Voice of Generation-Y”…well…you’ll see.

6 Reasons Why 20-Somethings Abroad Struggle to Live Up to 20-Something Standard

It’s ok to binge on Netflix.

First, Netflix is a luxury I wouldn’t be able to afford without the password to my family’s account (and I would bet this is true for 98.9% of the Millennials out there). Second, if I even want to open Netflix I have to download some IP scrambler and cross my fingers the movie gods are too dumb to figure out where I am. And third, most often than not my Internet connection is too slow to open Buzzfeed articles let alone stream an entire movie.

Don’t get me wrong, binge-watching TV shows and movies is one of my favorite past times. I just have to pre-decide what I want to watch and start the download three days in advance, which kind of takes all the fun out of it.

Now is the time to figure out you. Be selfish.

Number one priority when you move abroad by yourself: find a friend. You could argue finding food and shelter are at the top of that list, but those hassles are way more fun when you’ve found a companion to complain to. You can maybe pull off the selfish act around the friends you’ve had since you were in diapers, but there’s a history there. You can’t expect someone you’ve just met to take your selfish behavior because deep down they “know you mean well”. They don’t know you at all.

Honestly, I think this is dumb advice even to give those not living abroad. All relationships, friendships especially, have to be give and take. Otherwise, you’re just treating those around you like a psychologist, heaping your thoughts and problems on them without reciprocating (and I’d hazard a guess you don’t pay them, either).

Live alone? Eat that whole jar of Nutella. No one is around to stop you!

Nutella is like, $15 a jar here! And even if I could afford it, the whole “who’s there to stop you?” thing is a real problem. My amazing friends in the States sent me a giant jar in a Christmas package and I definitely ate spoonfuls on one too many occasions. Sure, having to cycle or walk to get anywhere is like a built-in exercise routine, but that only goes so far. You’d have to be out of your mind to think I’d take up jogging in this heat. I sweat enough, thank you.

Also, I think this “tip” shows just how much Gen-Yers struggle with self-control.

Leave those dishes in the sink and treat yo-self.

Not cleaning up after myself is so tempting, especially since I live alone. Who’s there to see it? Me. I live in a studio. I can see the sink from my bed. If I stretch I might even be able to reach it. Making my bed isn’t really an issue because 99% of the time it’s too hot to even use a sheet. But if I decide to leave dirty dishes in the sink the only one being “treated” are the ants.

Save relationships for later, now is the time to date around.

I recently read an article outlining the woes of finding love in the field. While meant for humanitarian aid workers, I live in a town heavily populated with NGOs, social enterprises, and volunteer organizations so I could relate. Not only are women in the vast majority here, it’s also is a very, very small town. By all means, date around; just be aware you will inevitably see your “dates” on a weekly, if not daily basis. Of course, you can always go the backpacker route. They are fun to flirt with since you’ll (hopefully) never see them again but remember they’ve most likely been traveling for months on end with very few showers and are probably shacked up in a 1242098524-person hostel dorm. Gross.*

Doll up for a girl’s night out!

Once I tried to put makeup on before a night out, nothing fancy, just some liquid foundation and mascara. Five minutes later it looked like my face was melting off. Tropical climates really only allow for minimal effort. Guaranteed that shower will have been in vain the minute you step outside.

Sure, you can dress up just keep it classy. Wear anything short and/or tight and you will be mistaken for a prostitute and might get followed home (feminism hasn’t really caught up here). You also don’t want to get mixed up with the backpacker girls and their crop-tops, booty-shorts, and feathered accessories. Leave them for the smelly, backpacker guys. They’re probably staying in the same 1298374-person dorm room anyway!

Now to binge on some pre-downloaded Orange is the New Black while eating peanut butter off a spoon.

The struggle is real.

*I apologize for my rather harsh description of backpacker dudes. While there are several that fit this mold, those I have met are pretty great and were really fun to hang out with/talk to. Sorry, Matt! Forgive me? 🙂


3 thoughts on “Being a 20-Something in Cambodia

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s