I travel because I can. I’m lucky. I am privileged. There is no ban for me (yet). I was born in the ‘right’ country, with a useful passport, no persecuted religion to identify with, no war. Total freedom to roam.

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Swirling mist circled the Buddhist monastery, high up on Mount Koya. Exploring Japan had led me here. The icy air an easy victory for the paper walls. Yes actual paper walls! The paper door has a ferocious tiger print on it, in the grrr pose, similar to those old-school tattoos. Just the paper tiger blocking me from the outside world. A kimono lay neatly folded, waiting for me to brave the ice-air. I’d had a demo in the art of kimono-wearing. Absolutely no cleavage, but the neck (the sexiest part of a woman’s body in Japan) revealed. Screw that! Absolutely nothing should be revealed in the fear of hypothermia.

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‘They call me Satan’s Mistress’, she cackled. Her beautiful worldly green eyes shone and her jet black hair glistened. I was instantly in awe of this solo female traveller.

I met Jean in Osaka, Japan. Traveller introductions are nearly always an insight into the most inspiring people you’ll ever meet but this globetrotter stood out. She talks in a calm, thoughtful southern US drawl. Alert and interested, Jean isn’t over-powering in her presence but when it’s her turn to take centre stage you stop and enjoy the show.

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Siem Reap Girl

Travellers say many things about Cambodia: the people are wonderful, the begging is extreme and that everything is super-cheap even by South East Asia standards. Spoiler: only one of these things is true!

I’m going to take you on a little journey, one that took us just over two weeks to cover from North to South Cambodia. From city living to island life, ‘bum guns’, insect munching, pimped up homes, a dark past and smiley prosperous future. Kicking off with the journey to Cambodia via Delhi and Bangkok and our Cambodian starting point, Siem Reap.

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