I have a friend who lives in California. He records YouTube videos for a living. He, as I am, is a lifelong freedom-lover. He'd LOVE to leave the U.S. occasionally - and travel the world! And knowing I've lived in Cambodia for a few years, he asked me two questions: 1) 'Where are the best places to live in Cambodia?' And 2) 'I have family here. Should I split my time between U.S. and Cambodia?' Below, are my answers.
Ah yes: I felt the need to detail how INCREDIBLY CHEAP it is to live a great, rewarding life in Southeast Asia; Cambodia specifically. Or in short: How to live 'dirt cheap' ($300 to $600 per month) - and love it! Here are the EXACT details on how I do it. And If you'd like to? You can too! ...
Best places to live in Cambodia: You've got 4 excellent options, in my experience. 1) Siem Reap. This is a town in the north part of the country. It is all centered around the beautiful temple, 'Angkor Wat.' The town itself can get a bit noisy and touristy. Which is one of the reasons I left - after about a year there. Overall though: It's FULL of westerners, great nightlife, cheap food and cheap lodging. Many love it there. I still do.
2) Battambang: This is also up north - just a few hours away from Siem Reap, by bus. The city center is small, 'quaint,' nice. More importantly? It is less expensive and FAR more relaxed and quiet, than Siem Reap. If you're into SUPREMELY cheap living, living a relaxed life, and enjoying Cambodia in its most basic sense? This is a great option. I have a friend there who spends $50 per month for his room rent, $100 per month on eats, and about $100 on entertainment - and that's it! Cheap living at its finest.
3) Phnom Penh: This is the capital city. It's about 6 hours by bus, from Siem Reap or Battambang. Cost of living (I'll detail that later) can be a bit more than options one or two. Yet many people consider it worth the price. You've got a great riverfront. Great malls. Speaking of which - you do not in Siem Reap and Battambang. AND: You've got more English teaching options. If that's something you'd like to do. You'd be great at that btw, _______.
4) Kampot and Kep: These are two small, coastal towns in the south part of Cambodia. They're about a half-hour apart by motor bike. Both are just a few hours by bus, from Phnom Penh. I spend most of my time here, in option 4. Why? The ocean and surrounding mountains are awesome. The people are more relaxed, quiet than in Phnom Penh. Cost of living is cheap as hell. AND: If you want some occasional excitement? It's a quick bus ride back to the capital city. Where there's more in the way of 'night life.'
My overall best option? Spend three months in each city. Get the best of each. Then cycle on to the next. I enjoy doing this. It breaks up the year well. And you get to enjoy ALL the country has to offer.
As to your question about leaving temporarily and then returning:
I prefer NEVER to return to the U.S. The troops on streets pointing guns at citizens, the psychotic police, absurd taxes, and push for mandatory 'sick care' - along with toxic vaccines - were enough to drive me out. Permanently. However: If you'd like to return and come back, that works. If I leave for a bit, however: I'll just take a quick, $300 flight over to Manila. Which is a FAR more westernized country - due to the U.S. involvement since WW2. More: You can QUICKLY jump over to Thailand or Laos from here, for a bit of a different feel and culture. All this makes it TOTALLY unnecessary to return to U.S., in my opinion.
Since you've got family ______. You'll likely want to return to the U.S., periodically. However: This CAN present a problem. As the flights from Cambodia to the states are normally somewhere around the $1,200 to $1,500 range. And that's not an amount, in my opinion, to 'sneeze at.' Yet if you're committed to this lifestyle? It is a reasonable thing to consider. You can probably arrange for cheaper flights - by simply booking them far in advance of your return times. I realize it's tough to juggle a family AND a freedom-based lifestyle. But I've seen some do it. I'm betting you can too.
Cost of living: I rent an apartment by the month for $100 in Kampot. I pay $10 per month for wifi access. You can eat VERY well for just $200 or $300 per month. Fruits and veggies are 'dirt cheap.' Which helps if you're a 100% plant-eater, as I am. Budget a couple hundred for entertainment. $300 PER YEAR to renew your visa. And you can see: You can live here BEAUTIFULLY, for $500 to $600 per month.
I'm not exaggerating on that.
There's my take on Cambodia, _______. I may be purchasing a bit of property here soon. Let me know if you ever make it out here. I can tell you EXACTLY where to stay, eat, go out at night - and much more - to get the best of Cambodia. I might even put you up for a night or two.
As long as you keep recording good videos.
P.S. Remember _________. This IS a developing country. So for some? There may be a bit of a 'culture shock' when they first arrive. People here don't kill themselves to 'work for a living' - not to the extent they do in U.S. So appointments can be a bit tougher to keep. Streets can be dusty or dirty - a LOT more so than in California, my friend. AND: It does take some getting used to, to deal with the fact that many don't speak 'perfect English.' However: And this is a HUGE 'however.' It's all worth it. Especially if you're a lover of cheap food, lodging, entertainment, and just plain old freedom in general.
P.P.S. What's the use of living a life of travel and freedom - if you're not healthy enough to enjoy it!? No use at all, I'd say. Which is why I've released two short books on EXACTLY how to build the body of your dreams - from the inside out! I'm 48 now. Yet I'm in the best shape of my life, by far. I eat cheaply. I don't go to gyms. I work out anywhere. And I'm in better, more 'ripped' condition than most folks HALF my age! You can do likewise. All it takes is a bit of self-discipline, a love of simplicity, and about 30 minutes a day. Visit my Amazon page, now. And learn EXACTLY how. See: http://www.amazon.com/Jeff-Sekerak/e/B015W954XG/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1444196088&sr=8-1