Because the dusty hustle and bustle of big cities and going up and down those temple stairs in the sun take a lot out of you, sometimes you need to take a vacation from your vacation.

After a ridiculously long bus ride from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville on Cambodia’s coast, we had delicious Indian food and then took a boat to Koh Rong for our island get-away.

As a glimpse into what was waiting for us, the upper deck of the ferry was decked out with mattresses on which sprawled tanned youth boasting about their travels to date.

Turns out this small island is full of backpackers that smoke all day and bum around at the few bars lining the coast. Holly and I splashed out and got a cabin up on top of a hill with a far-off sea view. We had a gecko as an alarm clock and sand in our beds.

We listened to a stoned Turkish guy go on about ecology and not reading anything anymore and German boys gush about their adventures through Asia on motorbikes. A group of friends from the boat, beach, and bar was quickly formed.

On our second day, we walked across the jungle to an isolated beach on the other side, our sweat dropping on the rocks, marking the path for anyone who followed. A dog from the beach (we called him Leo) followed us up down the steep rocks and through the forest.

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Smiling through the sweat.

Never have I ever been so happy to see the sea.

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This is what greeted us. We stayed in this water all day.

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Playing a plastic and feather version of a hacky sack.

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We built a fire and watched the big red sun set into the ocean.

As the sky darkened, Holly and I jumped on a fishing boat that brought us through the big waves back to the main beach. We were happy to find that Leo had made his way back safely. The others bravely (insanely) decided to walk back through the dark jungle and we were very relieved (and a bit surprised) that they all arrived, with all their limbs intact.

There was another day or so at the beach, some sun burn, and a lot of pineapple, then it was back to the mainland, back to buses and tuk-tuks and another kind of happiness.

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