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This guest blog is written by Bridie Johnstone, a student of the Australian Catholic University, who recently participated in a month-long Immersion Experience Program in Cambodia with PEPY Tours / Ayana Journeys. In this post, she shares her experiences of personal growth and development. 

During my time in Cambodia I was lucky enough to experience many fun A’s and fun B’s whilst tiptoeing, stepping and jumping into all three of my comfort zones; green, yellow and red. Wondering what that first sentence even means? Let me try and explain it to you.

Fun A is when an experience is enjoyable for you in the time that you are experiencing it. Riding in tuk tuks, eating delicious Khmer food, swimming in the Mekong on a 36 degree day, and practicing the Khmer language with everyone we met were just some of the wonderful Fun A experiences I had throughout the trip.

Fun B, on the other hand, is an experience that you are able to reflect on and realise that even though it may have been uncomfortable, difficult, or challenging at the time, it was actually rewarding for you personally… and a little bit fun! I (thankfully) had many more Fun B experiences throughout my time in Cambodia, which has lead me to take on life with a much more motivated, determined and positive view.

I was greatly challenged yet empowered to understand myself more than I ever have, and I was able to personally develop and grow from the challenging situations I experienced.

Everyone has different levels of comfort for different things. At the beginning of the trip, each individual person in our group defined what was comfortable (green), uncomfortable (yellow), and extremely uncomfortable (red) for them. Throughout our trip we had the opportunity to meet with each of these comfort zones and every single one of us challenged ourselves by stepping into a yellow or red zone. I went from being the Bridie that was terrified of deep water and boats, to being the Bridie that went on more than 5 boat rides throughout the trip. I have always had a terrible TERRIBLE fear of spiders, and now I am able to pick up a spider on a piece of paper and take it outside. A debrief session with our group at the end of each day allowed us to explore different challenges, opinions and perspectives, and constantly support one another.

With the guidance and support of our wonderful and inspiring trip leaders, Sarah and Untac, I was able to understand myself better than I ever have.


I learnt to think more deeply during my time in Cambodia, and I want to keep making the most of everything I experience, take on every opportunity, and keep thinking deeply about the world, myself, and all of those around me in my every day life.

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