Awakening on a Sunday morning with a slightly foggy head is not conducive to writing a blog post … so I’ve decided to use other people’s words.
When I was preparing to come to Cambodia for the first time in 2009, I was only 18. I have never been someone who suffers from homesickness but I was daunted by the seven months stretching ahead of me, several thousand miles away from my friends and family. So I bought a white duvet cover and some fabric pens and asked people to write little messages which I could read when I was away. I can’t recall exactly where this idea came from, but the resulting object is one of my most treasured possessions.
Six years later and I still sleep under that same duvet cover every night, surrounded by the love and good wishes of those I hold dearest. I thought I would share some of the messages with you now. The people I asked to write these were not usually given any prior warning before I pulled out a double duvet set and handed them a pen so the messages are unprepared, raw, and honest. The writers range from family members to high school friends, from teachers, to family friends. Some are funny, some are sentimental, some are short, some are long – all of them make me smile. If I have a (rare) bad day here, all I need to do is read a few of these notes and I am reminded of how lucky I am and how full of love my life is. Below is a selection of those messages I feel are most poignant or mean something particularly special to me.
“Try everything once” – brother
“Always ask yourself ‘what’s around that corner’” – close friend
“Make the most of every minute” – childhood friend
“It will be a journey in all senses of the word” – A level English teacher
“Come home safe to those who love and miss you” – best friend
“Open your heart and mind – travelling expands both” – family friend
“Sleep well?” – Grandad
“We will be here to hear about it all when your journey brings you back home, to pause before the next adventure” – Mum
“I can’t believe that you are going to a different country/countries for many many months” – high school friend
“Practice thinking in glorious technicolour” – godmother
“So proud of what you have achieved so far” – spinning instructor
“The longest journey you must take is the 18” from your head to your heart” – Aunt and Uncle
“You are very special to me” – childhood friend
“Please don’t talk them to death” – work colleague
“Check the sobriety of your tuk tuk driver” – best friend
“Promise me you won’t die in Cambodia. That would be a total bummer” – university friend
“Dance your way around the world” – dance teacher
“The difficult times make the best stories” – brother
“The change that is needed lies within each of us” – Dad