Cambodia—A Rustic Love Story
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Cambodia—A Rustic Love Story

With only 55 days before the start of summer programs, everyone at Rustic is getting excited to welcome students to their countries and lead them on incredible adventures. Many of our staff have worked in their respective countries for years and truly consider it their second home—a place filled with friends, family, and memories. Our Cambodia country director, Alexis Simchak, wanted to share her thoughts about her adopted country of Cambodia and why she can’t wait to return home.


What does Cambodia mean to me?

Warmth, love, beauty.

Just after sunrise, monks head out to collect alms in Angkor Wat.

As soon as I stepped off of the plane something felt different. Different than any other place I’d been before.

Is it possible to fall in love with a new country, another land, so fast?

Well that I did. I instantly fell in love with the beautiful country of Cambodia.
It feels like a second home to me.
It feels like a second family to me.

The people.
So hospitable.
Looking forward to the future despite their past.

Always looking to lend a hand and always wanting to share their country with me.
They are proud to be Cambodian and love their country despite its turmoil.
They beam with pride and want me to remember Cambodia in my heart.

RP students work alongside community members to build a sturdy wall of palm leaves in the floating villages.

Opening my window I hear the sounds of the city.
The rooster wakes me up as the sun rises in the countryside.
The children bellow “Hello!” as I walk by.
This place awakened my love for travel, culture, people, and for life.
There must be something in the air here, because I can never get enough. There’s a connection here, something that keeps bringing me back and makes it impossible for me to ever say goodbye.

One of the floating stalls on the river selling noodle soup on the Tonle Sap lake.


We are all very excited to introduce students to their second home this summer. Check out our programs in Cambodia if you want to learn more about this incredible country.

About the Author

Kelly Moynihan

Peru Country Director

More than a decade of program leader experience, fluency in Spanish, and commitment to community service make Kelly a natural fit to direct our Peru operations. Previously, Kelly worked in Costa Rica with indigenous communities and turtle conservation efforts after joining Rustic in 2008. Originally from New Jersey, Kelly earned a degree in journalism from American University in Washington, D.C.