Laura Hodges


Laura Hodges

From starting the new year in Washington DC, my journey will take me through South-East Asia to my teaching placement in Cambodia

Asia » Thailand » Central Thailand » Bangkok June 7th 2009

my final night in asia! i'm sat with my beer and my book ready and have just checked in online for my flight...printed out the boarding pass which cost me more than my beer! not impressed! grumpy old man on reception 'forgot' to inform me of this! gosh people can be rude!!! however saying that, travelling is all about chance encounters and taking risks and opportunities! i have met some of the most wonderful people on my travels, i could write a book of all the email addresses and personalities!! bangkok has been no exception!!! on my first day i met three lovely canadians; we managed to navigate the local bangkok bus network and arrive cheaply in downtown bangkok. i left them to find my pre-booked guesthouse, which was nothing like the pictures! i was paying ... read more

Asia June 3rd 2009

so the world once again throws you troubles and you wonder how they will get easier! the re-evaluation of what is important gets thrown into view! after spending a wonderful week in bali with steph, i assessed my funds and knew it would be tight. and i didnt realize how lonely i'd feel after leaving her. we went snorkeling and i faced a big fear of going underwater. she held my hand as we found nemo and angel fish, and so many different types of coral and plastic bags! after that we had a cheap romantic dinner by our guesthouse, met a kind german lady who was picking her boyfriend up from the airport and then we all headed into town to play pool! word of the wise...balinese people do not know left from right! up ... read more

Asia » Malaysia » Wilayah Persekutuan » Kuala Lumpur May 27th 2009

on monday i said good bye to cambodia. I really wasn't as sad as i should have been cause i alread know that i will be going back. i'm not sure when, why or how, but i know i will be back. by the end of the three months, the country just felt like my home. the people became so close to me and i will really miss them, not just the other volunteers (who i will miss incredibly and will also hopefully visit in austrailia, boston, paris, england!!!) but also the cambodian people, those that worked at the school, my students i taught, or even the people i met in random locations like yoga or the pool. i has been the most memorable experience and i hold firm that people travel/volunteer to escape something. i ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » South May 15th 2009

Saturday night, I was packed and ready to go! My alarm was set so that we would be in time for the 7.30 bus to Kep and then beyond that I had no idea what laid in wait! This would be a week like no other…nothing would be planned. The bus ride was so relaxing. We stopped for a great coffee served by a gorgeous Khmer man and then I proceeded to read my book, bouncing along the bumpy road until arriving in the rain clouds at about 11.30. Kep isn’t what I expected…actually I’m not sure what I expected! The rain on our arrival left the beach looking gray and very small with its high tide, but then as we got ushered into the nearest guesthouse along the beach we set out along the path ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » South April 27th 2009

The adventure began at 6am packing for the weekend in Koh Kong. Anna, Rachel, Cindy and me got on the bus after stocking up on supplies (sweets, crossiants and crisps) at the station!! The journey was such a lovely one to watch out of the window, the scnery was full of lush greens and wild vegetation because the rainy season has arrived early in Cambodia. after about 3 hours of passing time eating, sleeping and talking, the bus stops for a break in the middle of a field. the men clambour off and we remember the horror story of one of the other volunteers, who told us that her bus only had one toilet stop and it was in the middle of a field. we disembark quickly and head towards the bushes!! however, less than 10 ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » East » Kampong Cham April 18th 2009

I knew that when i set out on saturday, I would be embarking on an adventure, but i did not realise that i would have the experience of a life time! life became so different by travelling only a few hours away from the city! this will be an epic tale...i hope you are comfortable!!! soriya and i got a shared taxi to her village; a mini bus with no air-con and over 30 people for a 18 person vehicle and all the luggage in the back! we were so lucky because we got the back seat and could stick our heads out of the open back where the luggage was strapped in tight! we talked the entire journey while most people slept and i immediately realised that this was going to be such a wonderful ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh April 5th 2009

What a day!!!! I got taken to the Royal Palace with two of my students, but because we were late we had to wit until 2pm for it to re-open!!! so we went for an early lunch and ate greasy burgers at 11am and then went to a vietnamese cultural thing. little did i know that complacency would get the better of me. two women were so quick to open my bag and steal my camera. i am so lucky that i have my photos backed up! after that we decded to cheer ourselves up with ice cream at an air-conditioned shopping centre which was wonderful and then we made our way back to the palace for 2pm. we were joined by srey roth's beautiful little cousins, 5 and 8 years old and we spent the ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh April 4th 2009

I always get my best thoughts while I am riding my bike along the busy streets of phnom penh. it is so beautiful in a completely different way to any normal city. London is beautiful for its own modern reasons, but fighting your way through bustling traffic going the wrong way, speeding over lights before they change and the dust almost suffocating is elegant in a way i really can't describe! it feels so normal and I am starting to get worried about returning to England. Even the smell of the litter and rotten food round by the markets is starting to feel like home. I even cycled alongside a cambodian and started talking about our lvies! it was surreal riding down russian boulevard and talking about where he was going for khmer new year!!! I ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » East » Stung Treng March 11th 2009

So after getting to know everyone in the volunteer house, there is not one person i could say a bad word about! i am so lucky! the guy that was here before was saying that the previous group divided into team america and team austrailia! instead this year it is just team britain!! during our orientation week, we took a trip to the CRDT project in streung treng which is about 7hours drive from phnom penh! *note* i am volunteering with a school called CWF (conversations with foreigners) and they help people who want to improve their language skills after school or work. it is quite cheap for the three months, but all the money left over from supplying the school is sent to the various CRDT (cambodian rural development) projects, run by the same people. ... read more

Asia » Cambodia » South » Phnom Penh March 1st 2009

i have now settled in at the school and halfway through orientation! i am teaching level 4, 6 and advanced discussion! haha theres a section about religion, i will be in my element!! (the levels range from 1-8 so i have a nice mix!) the focus is more on conversation rather than grammar, but i think i might try and extend activities for the grammar focus, there are some really odd words that they want us to teach from the text book: divorce, adultery and other really un-cambodian things!! how do you make things like that fun!!!?!?!?!!!? we have been having khmer lessons which have been useful, its amazing how much you start to pick up on! i'm really looking forward to the next three months! we are going to the very rural province this week! ... read more

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