During the production of this issue of Stowaway, I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Cambodia to document some work that the US State Department is doing. Cambodia has a peril-filled history; it is a country recovering from genocide and overcoming a past wrought with blood.
This trip was my first time to travel out of the country. Before I left on that long airplane ride that took me from Salt Lake City to Seattle to South Korea to Cambodia, I had a moment akin to when Samwise Gamgee first leaves the Shire in the film The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring: “This is it. . . . If I take one more step, it’ll be the farthest away from home I’ve ever been.”
I’m not one to travel often. The cost is prohibitive, and the time away from the work I have to do is scary to think about. However, this time I did travel. I took the step, like Sam did, and I had a great adventure!
This isn’t the right place to enthrall you with my adventures in spending a week working in Cambodia and the following week in Sydney, Australia. My purpose in sharing my travel is the idea of traveling a single step.
Lao Tzu said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” All it takes is one step out of the door and then you are on your way. You’re traveling. You are on a journey. You have made the decision to enter the world, and you are bound to learn new things, meet new people, and make amazing memories.
When we take that step, most of the time we don’t know where we’re going. When I got onto that plane for Cambodia, I didn’t know that I would eat frog, see heartbreaking poverty, and experience true kindness. I never knew that I would be sweating for 10-hour days in the sun or walking through religious ruins where monks used to search for peace. I never knew. I just knew I needed to step out.
Adventures don’t always have a perfect path. But, there will always be a path to step out and onto. All that it requires of us is to take that step. So, do as I did: take that first step. Plan a trip. Do the trip. And then, like me, fall so in love with taking those steps that you have to do it again. I’m already planning my next first steps.
—Adam McLain, Managing Editor
Feature photo by Adam McLain