21-year-old Tourist Killed in Cambodia

Nicholas L Shimanek

A 21-year-old British tourist was found dead in Cambodia. A 150-man search across the Western Indochina coast resulted in emergency personnel spotting her body floating off an island between the border of Cambodia and Thailand. Numerous UK news agencies closely watched the situation as she was widely reported as missing for six tense days. The body’s identity was confirmed by her brother, and images of her corpse have been spread on Instagram.

Amelia Bambridge was a British backpacker who decided to travel to this Asian nation entirely alone. Her death came shortly after a tear-jerking phone call Amelia made to her mother, telling her she was having “The best time of her life” and that “Everyone is so cool here.”

Six men who worked at the bar in the hostel she was staying were temporarily arrested before her body was found, but all six were released afterwards. No new arrests have been made in connection to her death.

Cambodia is not particularly dangerous in terms of crime. Kidnappings are not very common, and tourists are generally safe so long as they avoid dark, dense forests and avoid being entirely alone. Amelia was last seen walking through a forest, alone and at night, just before she disappeared.

Amelia’s disappearance is made more disturbing when one considers the increasing number of publications, bloggers, and popular YouTube personalities who continue to advocate for solo travel.

Publications aimed at young adults have made exhaustive lists of nations and cities that are reportedly ideal for someone to travel to solo. One Buzzfeed contributor, Lara Parker, in her piece “26 Remarkable Places for Solo Travel”, included the capitol of Brazil, Rio De Janeiro.

Rio is infamous for its high crime rate. This fact has been well-known among journalists since the intense publicity surrounding the 2016 Olympic games, where tourists were regularly assaulted and robbed in the streets with impunity.

This piece’s list also includes Nairobi, Bangkok, Johannesburg, and Siem Reap, another popular tourist spot in Cambodia.

Not all these listed cities are incredibly dangerous, and they should not be avoided at all cost or irrationally feared. However, each of these cities is affected by its own unique set of crime problems. Poor preparation could place a tourist too close to a more dangerous area in a place like Johannesburg, a city with income inequality and societal division.

When anyone plans on traveling to a new country, they should take the time to prepare for a completely new social environment. Above all, it does not seem to be a good idea to travel to a new foreign nation alone.

Safety should be a major concern for any young people who decide to travel abroad, especially to a country with a drastically different cultural atmosphere. Every new environment has unique dangers, and every country has certain practices and conventions that may seem very confusing to a backpacker who is new to traveling. Planning for these trips should be extensive and include a focus on the tourist’s personal safety.