Today is a rare cloudy and cool day in Siem Reap. The first time I came to Siem Reap was in December of 2012. I live here now, with my fiancee, Vicheka. She is Cambodian and works as an accountant. I have written my first book and am currently making efforts to see it through to fruition. Usually I would be at the gym right now but I felt compelled to get this page up and running, so here I am.
I am a pretty easy going person as far as westerners go. I believe that the testament of a country is its people, and the souls that call Cambodia home are calm and beautiful. I find life in Cambodia to be stress-free compared to palpable angst of the United States. Our only vehicle here is a motor scooter. It’s an automatic, so no shifting is required as we traverse the stop and go traffic around town. I often think of Manhattan and how sensible it would be for it to be a scooter only island. But sense doesn’t always work its way into the American equation.
So, who am I? I am Benny Mailman. I was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin at Saint Vincents Hospital. I came a bit early and was blessed that Saint Vincents had the right equipment to save me. I grew up in Milwaukee until I was 10. Then it was on to Sparta, Wisconsin. I played football and baseball. My heart and refusal to quit got me through those years in the sports realm. My talent has yet to appear. My true talent was humor, which got me in some trouble. Adults hate the class clown, which I was named in my Senior year.
After graduating I went straight into the Marines. I have many stories from those years. I spent 2 and a half years on Okinawa with a Recon unit. Again, my heart and refusal to quit got me through yet another realm. This particular realm was not that pleasing to me. They allowed for no individualism and were pretty strict on order and rule type things. I gave them 4 years then ran out the gate with my honorable discharge papers.
Once back in the states I went on a 6 month bender before looking in a mirror on January 1st, 1993 and voicing to myself “What the hell are you doing man?” I enrolled in a tech school, then transferred to the University of Wisconsin La Crosse. I went out for football, and although I was gifted in the strength department, my speed was not speed at all. I finished college, getting my BA in Telecommunications with a minor in public relations. I remember walking off campus and laughing out loud. I really thought that day would never come.
So after 2 institutions I moved to Las Vegas and began my life as a freed soul, a freeing only we have the power to access. I began doing stand up comedy and soon would study improvisation with Second City when they arrived. After working at the Venetian as a concierge and getting let go at 89 days and 6 hours, I started to ride the bike taxi. This was the most freeing of all my endeavors.
The bike taxi would take me to Orlando, NYC, Long Beach, Denver, and Phoenix. In NYC I started up my comedy again and made great progress. I lived with a Dominican family in Washington Heights my entire time there, which was almost two years. NYC is a Love/Hate relationship, as my friend Ashley Strand told me. Many stories from here also.
I eventually would end up in Los Angeles, living in Korea town, off of Vermont and Wilshire. I studied with the Groundlings and met some great people, many of whom I see on television and in movies now. I continued my stand up but due to financial crushings, I moved to Denver and started riding the bike taxi again. While in Denver I sought healers and shaman and that really opened my eyes and soul. I planned a journey over seas that would start in Moscow and the Trans Siberian railroad. From there I would go to Mongolia, then into China, then wing it. I had no idea how long I would travel. It ended up being almost 9 months and as many countries. I fell in Love with Cambodia and Laos. Nepal was nuts, but great memories.
I returned to the United States a very changed person. I would write a book in between working and traveling back to Cambodia. Finally done with the book and able to work on it from my computer, I moved to Cambodia for good last year.
So here I am, on a cloudy day, starting my blog. I will have many stories and updates as I roll through the coming days and years. I truly wish you all peace and Love, and hope you find whatever it is your soul is searching for. I know I am on the right path, and I am cool with that.
Peace and Love