In one month from now, I’ll be back in Cambodia. Need I tell you how excited I am? This trip will be different from last year’s trip, though. Last year I was in full-on promotion mode, doing as many interviews, readings and signings as I could manage. I traveled from Bangkok to Siem Reap to Phnom Penh to Laos to Singapore and was rarely on my own. But this trip is a different story. This time I will travel via Kuala Lumpur and other than a stop-over there where I’ll do one or two readings, I’ll be in Cambodia the rest of the time, and in Siem Reap for most of it. A month in Siem Reap, mostly on my own, mostly just living and working. A bit scary, to be honest.

I decided that after going on and on, both in person and on the page, about how much I love Cambodia, I should actually live there for a while. A month is just long enough, and also as long as I could take. While I’m there I’ll run one instalment of the Anjali House Young Adults Writing Workshop which I founded last year. I’m sure I’ll dip in and out of the shelter and work with the other kids on and off, as well. Otherwise, I’ll be working on the inevitable tweaks of novel three which (I think) we’re calling Between Perfection and Ruin. I’ll be writing poetry. I’ll be seeking out some contemporary Cambodian poets. I’ll begin thinking about novel 4 — I now realise all this Cambodia fiction needs to be a trilogy. And of course, I’ll be blogging, taking photos and videos and posting them, and doing an on-line journal of the trip just as I did last year.

So  being the A-type compulsive that I am, I’m in hyper-organizational mode. So far, I have:

     * booked all the air flights and hotels
     * ordered my Malaysian Ringgits
     * gotten my Cambodian visa
     * sent the lesson plan for the workshop off to Anjali  House
     * bought my medicines: malaria tabs, a broad spectrum antibiotic, plus extras of what I usually need
     * made a list of other essentials like immodium, sun screen, insect repellent
     * made sure I have enough copies of A Clash of Innocents  and Her Life Collected to bring
     * been in touch with my friends in Kuala Lumpur to organise my events there
     * notified everyone I know in Cambodia that I’m coming
     * made a list of NGO’s and cultural programs that I want to visit
     * bought a new pair of flip flops
     * booked my pre-trip haircut
     * juiced up my camcorder and reminded myself how to use it

Being able to share all of this with my blog friends last year was vital to me, and I’m really looking forward to sharing it all with you again. Right now from my room in London, a month in Cambodia sounds like a long time. But having a month before I actually go sounds like nothing at all, so I thought I’d start focussing on the trip with you now. And here’s a short video from last year to get us in the mood:

PS I won’t be staying in such luxury this time, but still…