I did not expect that a country as Sri Lanka would take me by surprise THAT much! I had been here before as a little kid in 1989, but so much has changed that it wasn’t really a reunion, but a re-connection with a truly paradise island.
The entirety of my time in Sri Lanka I have felt exactly where I am supposed to be and doing exactly what I am meant to do and what I like to do most.
Blue skies, palm trees, heat, noise, the smell of spice gummed incense, the smell of cinnamon, horns sounding.
From exploring the bustling capital city of Colombo, the always-under-construction with future high-rises, truly annoying tuktuk drivers who just walk with you (every darn minute!) and colonial buildings from long ago, to the green hills of Kandy, climbing up the Lion’s Rock to visit the ruins of the Sigiriya Fortress on top of it during sunrise, taking the lush and the world’s most scenic train ride down through the elevated Horton Plains national park to hike-town hub Ella and the southern and western coastline with its beautiful surf beaches, where I fell in love with the charms of Hirikiteya Beach and Mirissa Beach.
It was a great test, also to see if I could run my Flicks Movie Theater back home fully remotely, from a totally different country. Great volunteers ran the venue and made it all work, fed the cats, watered the plants and every week I would send a new movie schedule to my printer in Phnom Penh.
It was also a test to sense if I can still enjoy traveling for a longer term. For over four weeks, perhaps longer. And how that goes, as I had to plan little, but measure out where I’ll be heading in the time frame I had and the budget available.
I had a Sri Lanka trip in my head earlier this year, but was sure that it wasn’t supposed to be only a trip, which means it would become at least more than 2 weeks. Could I actually stay away for 4 weeks? And still enjoy it all and not be bored?
Yes, because it’s impossible to get bored in Sri Lanka.
Everything hits my senses. The people are beautiful and amazing. The food mostly floors me. I have eaten at places where you would not even want to see the bath room, but the meals are so incredibly tasty and healthy. And once paid $2.95 for a dinner-for-two!
Public transport is just unbelievable cheap, fast and highly reliable. The chaotic buses are overwhelming, but also a cultural experience as you are always surrounded by locals (who want to know where I am from and if I have Facebook).
Thanks to my travel buddy Muriel, with whom I traveled along with for the first two weeks, I also learned how to enjoy more budget accommodations. You don’t need a $45 hotel room, if basically you want to surf and bum all day and only need a place to sleep.
I don’t mind sharing facilities. And it also end up that most of these $6-a-night hostels offer some of the best breakfasts I had it this country!
So what is the most magical thing about Sri Lanka? Is it the teeming roads, the colors, the noise, the smells? Yes! Is it the wonderful temples, the paddy fields, the wildlife? Oh yes! Is it the truly fabulous little hostels and cute family guesthouses along the way? Yes!
And it is the little things that left the greatest impressions: unforgettable sunsets, the ability to surround myself with fascinating others like me, the old men in little shop front restaurants that would wave you in, make you take a seat and then place a plate of the cheapest and best ever rice and curry meals in front of you or even that rare tuktuk driver who told me to pay him what I want, “because today I have a glorious day.”
I asked him what happened.
“My daughter got her first period this week. We are going to celebrate this with the entire family today!”
So with the last four weeks I can look back at a quite unforgettable and relaxing experience, where I could work remotely and enjoy those things this country has to offer.
And I have only seen the famous Southern Circle of the country yet, the most traveled one. So I am not ready yet.
After a short break in Phnom Penh, I’ll be back to Sri Lanka soon again. And then I’ll take the train to the northern part and explore the hidden beauty there.
Somebody had to do it.