Travelling provides a change of scenery every single day – you’re heading to new places, you’re meeting new faces, you’re experiencing wonderful new things. But, towards the end of my time in South East Asia, nothing managed to get that OH MY GOD, I COULD DIE IM SO DAMN EXCITED feeling out of me anymore…
Don’t get me wrong, I was having a fricking ball and was enjoying every moment still (so much so, I ache to travel forever) but it felt like something was missing from me…and I didn’t know what it was.
Places and moments still had me in awe but it was a landslide away from the feelings I had at the beginning of my trip where everything was new and absurd and so far removed from my life before that I felt like I was living in some sort of weird and wonderful fairytale.
Seven months into living out of a backpack, and I thought that maybe this effortless lifestyle grounds you. Perhaps it makes you so chilled that you take for granted that you’re blessed enough to see something new everyday? But really, I didn’t like feeling so unenthused at the same time. I wanted those crazy butterflies again, the little whelps of excitement, that feeling I used to get months ago…
BUT, within just 24 hours of touching down in Sri Lanka, I could actually feel myself welling up to how different it is here – in Little India.
Even the traffic had me in legit chuckles, with several buses nearly taking off my elbow as I struggled to hold my backpack in the cramped little tuk tuk; the driver looking round to chat…
“KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE ROAD” I’d scream, and he’d just laugh and then laugh even harder every time I tried to explain the train station with a hand tug and a ‘woooo woooo’….Ha I’m in a funny little heaven, I tell ya!
It’s like the adventure is back…it’s a change in pace, in appearance and atmosphere and I feel like parts of this country are really going to test me and be a real challenge. However, I KNOW that this is exactly what I’ve been craving! To walk footsteps on a completely new part of this world and see what it has to offer 🌎…
Welcome to Sri Lanka 🇱🇰😍
My first impressions so far?
Sri Lanka is a sensory overload with its many different noises, smells and sights; the sweet scent of the jungle leaves mixed with the slight decay of the towns; the voices of the locals jibbering mixed with the song of the colourful birds that decorate the trees.
The tuk tuk’s are relentless, beeping loudly at every single person with a backpack hoping that they’ll need a ride. Honestly, there’s something new at every turn and I am in love with how this country makes me feel already!
Everything is a barter, down to the cost of your lunch and if there’s no prices, you’re better off eating elsewhere as you’ll be surprised how much the ‘foreign tax’ is applied when they see you. But just remember a friendly bit of bargaining is expected here and soon enough, you’ll realise how much things should generally cost so that you don’t get ripped off! For instance, my adopted travel sister, Nadu, wanted some pants from the market – nothing special, but for everyday-where – and we eventually got a pair down from 3,800R (£17.50/$25) to 800R (£3.70/$5.20)! (Just shows how the initial price is a total pisstake ha).
Also don’t be surprised if the people that come up and chat to you are usually preparing for a sales pitch – but if you do get a chance to speak to the regular locals (when they’re not after your money) you’ll discover that they’re some of sweetest people you’ll ever meet. The guys who ran our hostel in Unawatuna (Cycling Hostel) could not have done more to assist us and make us feel at home! A bed in an 8 bed dorm: 1000R (£4.60/$6.50)
After leaving that hostel, I’m currently sitting on a crazy bus from Unawatuna to Marissa (for just 70R (30p/45c), my music blaring as I scribble down my thoughts. There’s the gorgeous Southern coastline to look out onto and King Coconuts (the sweetest you’ll ever savour) sit ripened and waiting to be sold on a wooden stand.The bus is driving at a million miles to one, carelessly beeping at every motorbike and pedestrian that gets in his way – but just like many people here, he couldn’t give two f**ks as long as he gets to the destination quicker!
We got the same bus in the other direction to Galle City Centre the other day and getting off was such a quick bustle, that Ben had to jump off whilst it was moving into the unknowing hands of a local woman and I simply waved to the squad as I whizzed around the corner praying it would stop for me soon ha! 😂
Galle Old Town is situated within fortress walls and the little streets and restaurants have a bizarrely European twist, due to the Portugeuse, Dutch and English influences during colonisation. A lighthouse stands on the edge of what could be a British coastline, rocky and choppy – but then it’s surrounded by exotic towering palm trees. Such a contrast, it pulls you straight back into Asia…
As does the wildlife and nature – the vivid hues and array of creatures is something close to a dream. In Unawatuna, there’s beaches of white sands and shores lined with crystal waves. To get to the Jungle Beach, you have to clamber over rocks and straddle thick jungly trees, hanging off the branches that help you along the way like a monkey. Speaking of which, you can hear them playing in the trees above you as you go!
Wijeriya Beach is my top recommendation so far though, as the waves break before the rocks, hosting a flurry of tropical life underwater! We saw angel fish, and rock fish that hid within the sand and fish of blue, yellow, red and green aaaaaannnnndddd FRICKING TURTLES. Yes, we hired a snorkel out for just 250R (£1.20/$1.60) and we actually saw 400 year old turtles plodding along the sands surface, less than a foot away from us, happy to be there for an easy life.
Not touristy in the slightest and not always guaranteed, but an absolute treat if you’re lucky enough to spot them. The amount of sea water I inhaled on the first sighting shows how those little whelps of excitement can still come😍! It was truly one of the best moments of my life❤️🐢!
So I must thank Sri Lanka from he bottom of my heart for bringing some extreme excitement back into my life and for reminding me how lucky I am to be living the life I am each and every day!
My next post is all about the whale watching & surfing in Mirissa and Weligama 😮😍! I f**king love Sri Lanka. Stay tuned…