Live blogging in Cambodia

by Rich Wells
Posted on 19 March 2014
read time: 5 minutes

This week I’m in Cambodia. Not a typical week for me, it has to be said! I'm over here with Tearfund, a charity working with local partners around the world to help people out of poverty.

What am I doing here?

My aim is to tell stories through photos, drawings and artwork, and help Tearfund supporters back home see the practical ways their money helps local communities help themselves. I'm really excited to be able to explore a new culture, meet local people and find out what life’s like for them. I'm travelling with two other bloggers and together we aim to get 60 new regular givers for Tearfund — nice to have a challenge! Over the next ten days please do follow our adventures via my Cambodia travel scrapbook and consider giving to Tearfund.

My virtual toolbox

Before leaving I spent a while thinking about the technologies I’d use for the trip. Live blogging on the move can be a bit of a challenge, and I wanted to be able to create and share easily, without being tied to a laptop or needing to manually post to all the different services I’ll be using. In case you're facing similar challenges, be it for work or play, or are simply interested, here’s how I'm updating my travel scrapbook:

Tumblr. I'm using Tumblr for my Cambodia scrapbook website. I love Tumblr’s simplicity and how its excellent smartphone apps mean you can post from anywhere with a decent 3G signal. Also it’s free: there’s no hosting costs or charge for mapping your domain name of choice to it. The last thing I need is to be fixing server issues or having to update a Wordpress back-end while I'm away from my computer! There’s also some great themes out there (that said, I've made my own this time round).

If This Then That. IFTTT is an amazing way of getting different web services to play nicely together and automatically share information. I'm using it to repost any images I put on Tumblr to Facebook (in a 'Cambodia' photo album), update Twitter (with an embedded picture and link back to the blog post) and Evernote (so that I have each complete blog post as a backup). It's great to make the internet work for you.

My sketchbook. I love drawing. I find it helps me to look around and take in the world. Although it’s much easier to draw from a photo, I’m trying to draw live as much as I can and then share later using the CamScanner iPhone app. I mostly use pencils, watercolours and water brush pens (I only discovered these a while back and they’re excellent for painting on the move).

iPhone5 with local 3G sim. Getting an iPhone has revolutionised the way I share things. So here goes on my top apps for the trip. After the given of my camera, which is the quickest way to take a photo of absolutely anything, I really rate:

  • CamScanner – great for capturing sketches and much smaller than a scanner.
  • VSCO cam – for tweaking colours and cropping. A lot more subtle than Instragram’s filters.
  • Instagram – for sharing photos and video clips (followed by the aforementioned IFTTT to post to Tumblr) and Tumblr iOS app for sharing to my blog.

My iPad apps

After my iPhone, my iPad will be my next go-to tool. We all have one in the office, and I still find mine invaluable. Here's my iPad apps of choice for my trip:

IA Writer. I use IA Writer for writing blog posts. I love how it’s distraction free and simple. You can't even change the font size; there's something refreshing about that.

Procreate. I've tried lots of creative art apps but Procreate is by far my favourite. It's tactile, feels like you’re actually painting and it's a bit like Photoshop in the way it works. I use an Adonit Jot Pro stylus, which has a much finer point than most other styluses, so is good for more detailed work. I can't recommend this highly enough for sketching.

My camera

I use a Panasonic GF1. This camera's a few years old now, but I still love it. I have 20mm and 45mm fixed lenses which work well in low light. It shoots nice video too (although only 720p) I take photos in raw image format and then process them later on Photoshop.

Macbook Pro

I also have a Macbook Pro which I'm bringing along to process photos and back up things, but apart from that I hope I’ll mostly be working on my iPhone and iPad.

Follow along with me

I'm incredibly fortunate to have been chosen from a huge pool of potential bloggers who applied to Tearfund to go on this trip. I'm excited to be sharing sketches, photos and words to bring this amazing country alive to people who can't travel here themselves. Please do follow along with me at or even better make your own donation:

Texting HOPE TODAY to 70444 will subscribe you to give £3 a month to See For Yourself, Tearfund. It will be added to your mobile phone bill. Tearfund receives 100% of the money. This subscription service will cost £3.00 per month until you send STOP to 70080. If 60 people signed up for just £3 a month that could mean 70 new families in Cambodia could have their lives transformed through the Umoja process. That means 70 families who can get a better education, learn new skills and lift themselves out of poverty once and for all.

Tearfund won’t stop until poverty stops, so please give today.

Related links:

Four ways to be more creative
More about this project

Posted on 19 March 2014 - By Rich Wells
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