Nice to meet you!
You may (or may not) already know us a bit through the restaurant/bar we created in 2018 in Siem Reap, Cambodia: Wild Creative Bar and Eatery. But before coming to the Kingdom of wonder, we had a very different life. Here is a small introduction about who we are, where we come from and why we decided to do it.
We are Lorraine & Renaud, husband and wife, nice to meet you. The both of us grew up in France, respectively in Bordeaux and Nantes. We met while we were studying in the same business school, back in 2010 (gosh!!). I (Renaud) graduated in 2011 with a major in Yield Management (analyzing a business’ activity – Hotels in my case – to set up the best pricing strategy), Lorraine specialized in corporate communication and graduated two years later. I spent the most of those two years in California for my first job, while she got a university exchange in Missouri for a while. Out of this period we spent pretty much 18 months separated by the Atlantic and most of the U.S., seeing each other once every 3 months in average. A bit harsh for a start but looking back, I believe it may have been the foundations of a strong couple.
2013 was our first “normal” year as a couple, with a small apartment in Paris, and office jobs we really liked. I left the U.S. when I found a position based in Paris in a young, fast-growing hospitality company. They were looking for a dynamic Yield Management specialist to create and run their department and thought I would fit the position. Dream job for my age, with lost of responsibilities a small team and almost total autonomy. My office was located on the world known Champs-Elysées, in one of those beautiful Haussmannian buildings that make the soul of Paris. Lorraine found a job in a communication agency located minutes from our apartment; she was working big hours but really enjoyed it. Hard to expect better for a career start.
Our 5 years in Paris followed that track, walking (or cycling) to work, living in a beautiful neighborhood. Lorraine changed jobs and ended up working for a prestigious agency, part of the world-leading advertising company Publicis Group, and located at the top of the Champs-Elysées too. We were living in a 10 million inhabitant urban area and working only meters away from each other. Very different from our early years as a couple.
We really enjoyed our Parisian lives, Paris is amongst the most beautiful cities I’ve seen in the world and we never stopped looking at its buildings and monuments with the eyes of two amazed tourists. We were working hard (mainly Lorraine, I confess), had a very nice apartment in a nice area, going out, traveling, enjoying ourselves, I even could realize one of my childhood dream, learn to fly, it was life as we dreamt it would be, after only a couple of years working.
But little by little we felt like something was missing in our lives and slowly decided to take another path, that’s basically how we ended up creating Wild Creative Bar & Eatery in Siem Reap, the city of the amazing temples of Angkor, Cambodia. That’s for the big picture, the full story is a bit longer and more complex, a bit funnier too, but we’ll explain it later, I believe it deserves a dedicated series of posts.
Everyday, customers from all over the world tell us they admire our courage, and say they would love to do it but don’t feel like they could actually do it. It always feels a bit awkward. We really aren’t brave people, we are not superheroes either, nor rich as Crassus. In fact, as you could read here, we are nothing more than your everyday neighbor in the subway.
The only thing is, one day; we took the decision of trying to do it for real. Then we took everything one step at a time and worked a lot on preparing things seriously. The more you study your project, the more you realize it isn’t just quite as hard as you thought.
Over the last 2 years, countless people asked us to share our story and experience; this blog is dedicated to our adventure, our life in Siem Reap, the activities and places we like etc. A series of posts will have as a focus our journey from our Parisian lives to now; we’ll try to describe it as we lived it, give as many details as possible and some advices in case you feel like following the same track. Our experience is very personal of course, but it may give you some ideas and or prevent you from doing the same mistakes.
If you have any questions, or would like us to broach a particular topic, please feel free to send us a message we will be happy to reply with a dedicated article. It will be based on our experience only so may not be a universal answer, but that’s all we can offer!
Thanks for reading and enjoy your day!
Lorraine & Renaud