We wanted Indian food for lunch so Shawn googled places along our walk from the Heritage Mall to our hotel here in Siem Reap.
He said he found a place with 4.5 stars with great reviews or… A place closer but had crappy reviews and 3 stars. Which place do you think I picked? It took us about 7 minutes to get there.
A gentleman met us at the doors and opened the 2nd door so we could get the stroller through. He sat us down and then went to chat with another man.
I asked for menus and he happily bright them over. We had a couple of questions, which he answered, and then he and his waitesss headed off to get our order placed.
A few moments later he came over and asked where we were from.
And…thats where a new friendship began.
Karan, short for Gnanasekaran, is a super interesting guy. He’s from Madurai India and in his early 20’s he, and his childhood best friend, left on an adventure around the world to save the Earth.
Their goal was to end Nuclear wars, make Peace between countries and save the planet from global warming. They rode their bikes around the world for these causes and then did it 7 more times over the next 25 years.
They even wrote a book, Mission Save Earth.
We chatted about writing and why I should write a book about our adventures. He’s written several books and has more dreams to accomplish like – producing movies in Cambodia.
We immediately hit it off and really enjoyed chatting.
I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve said it but, meeting people and hearing their stories is my favourite part of our travels (besides eating our way around the world).
He and his friend moved to Siem Reap a few years ago. Karan opened up the restaurant for his Indian traveler friends and customers. Their Masala is hand made by his sister, back in India, and she ships it to him. That is dedication!
Karan was warm and engaging and his chef prepares fantastic food. If you are ever in Siem Reap, stop by Lotus Indian Restaurant.
Talk to people wherever you are
You can do this at home too. Just talk to people. Ask them where they are from. How long have they loved there. Do they have kids, etc. These basic questions can lead you down an amazing path.
Also, I met another gentleman and his wife at the mall. His wife was shopping in the same store Shawn was and we were waiting on the benches outside.
He is form the Philippines but they have lived here for 9 years as English teachers. We mentioned that we were headed to the Philippines and from there our conversation bloomed. Them our spouses joined us and…another great encounter.
Don’t be shy. Ask questions. Show real interest in people and stay off your phones while doing so.
We now have a crazy interesting friend who we will remain in contact with and, should we make it to India, he will hook us up with some great connections and advice. Karan also owns a travel company and again, he’s from India.
I thought we had a good travel story but Karan has been robbed too many times to count, has met lots of important state officials from every country he visited and just…well, the stories are endless and super interesting.
It was also nice not to be the most well traveled people in the room. Know what I mean?
Anywho, check out Karan’s blog, Mission Save Earth, if you want to learn a bit about his journey.