My brief but beautiful time in Sri Lanka is up! It was a surprising country and I am glad I made the decision to stop here. My trip over from Nepal was unexpectedly expensive and seriously unenjoyable but definitely worth it.
As I mentioned before, Sri Lanka is far more modernized and ‘western appearing’ than Nepal was. There is more money here and more catering to tourists. I had planned to make a quick tour of the country and see as much as I could, but that did not happen. Once I met my yogi friends I was blissfully stuck in the little beach town of Hikkaduwa. HIkkaduwa is considered to be somewhat of a ‘backpackers paradise’, an inexpensive slice of luxury for the budget traveler. It is full of surfing, beach bars, cosy restaurants, and well traveled young people from all over the world. My days consisted of early morning yoga with Lyndon, locally known as ‘the rubber man’ who is a British-pseudo Sri Lankan who has been living in Hikkaduwa for over 15 years. He is an extremely knowledgeable master of yoga who I wish I could pack up in my suitcase (he would definitely fit) and carry around with me for the rest of my travels. Starting each morning with a bit of personal challenge and re-centering does amazing things for the soul! If you ever make it to Hikkaduwa go see Lyndon. Next I usually crossed the street to “the coffee shop’ (a real life game of Frogger, crossing the street when in Sri Lanka) and enjoyed a most delicious cup of cappuccino with a homemade coconut muffin. A really lovely little family runs this place… and coconut muffins, come on! I need to get the recipe. The remainder of my day generally consisted of surfing, sunbathing, avocado salads, beach jogs, and dinner with friends. Life is freaking good in Sri Lanka! Needless to say, I didn’t make it on a tour of the country once I fell in love with Hikkaduwa. There has been something very comforting to me on this trip about having routine. I lack routine in my daily life at home, an unfortunate consequence of being a floor nurse. Some weeks I’m up all night at work, the next week I’m spending my weekend in the hospital, and the week after I’m working every other day. You just never know! This schedule prevents me from establishing any type of routine and because of it I often feel lost and out of control. Having routine these past few months (in the village in Nepal, Sri Lanka, etc) has really been so good for me. I feel more connected to myself and my life and I actually know what’s going on. Somehow I really need to try to incorporate routine into my inconsistent life back home.
I did manage to leave Hikkaduwa for a few days, and explored the more southern coast of Sri Lanka. Helena (my norwegian friend) and I got a cabana in a lazy little beach town called
Mirrissa for a few nights. There was less of a party scene here than in Hikka and it was the perfect place to chill out. The dutch girls came down for a couple nights as well and we went on a safari to Yala National Park. See I did something besides lay on the beach! The safari was meh to begin with and we saw the typical jungle wildlife… water buffaloes, crocodiles, exotic birds, giant iguanas, monkeys, etc. Then, when we were all ready to call it a day… we literally drove right into a HERD of elephants. It was amazing!! And so beautiful to see these incredible creatures up close in the wild. Even two babies! We sat in the jeep for several minutes, in silence with mouths gaping, just watching these majestic creatures move around us. Made the whole experience worth it. After Mirissa, I went back to Hikka for one more day before heading to the airport. I loved Hikka, and could have stayed longer. When I first arrived it was definitely still ‘off season’, which was really great because it gave us the opportunity to really get to know the locals and enjoy the place without all the crowds. The scene really started to change by the time I was leaving (high season is coming!), and I think I’m glad to have been there when I was. A lot of Russians in Hikka also, weird. I went to one last beach party last night then caught a van to the airport at 1:30am to make a 7am flight. Not that much fun. But the flight was easy, and here I am in Thailand!
I am staying in a hostel for 3 nights and then my long lost boyfriend arrives on Monday. It’s been more than two months since we’ve seen each other, so it will be a happy reunion that we are both very much looking forward to. This will be Conor’s first time traveling internationally so I am very excited to introduce him to my life as a backpacker! If all goes well, he’ll be hooked and next time I head out on an around the world adventure I will have a travel buddy! Conor and I have been together for over 2 and a half years and although he knows me very well, I am really looking forward to him seeing me in this environment. Because, as weird as it sounds, traveling is often a place where I feel most at home and am really happiest. I am excited for him to experience that and get a better understanding of why I feel like its necessary (because it is!) to pack up and head across the ocean like I did. It took a long time for me to convince myself that I’m not the most selfish person in the world for leaving my life behind for a few months, but I really needed to do it to reconnect with myself. I can’t be me and feel good about it without having an experience like this. Thank you Conor, for understanding me and still loving me. I am the luckiest girl.
Well, I am happy to be in Bangkok! I was here 7 years ago and swore one day I’d be back. It’s always been one of my very places. But I really can’t believe I’m actually back! Last time I was here I was volunteering in Bangkok for 6 weeks and was just a little 19 year old! AW! This experience will be different and I’m excited to see more of the country. Hope you all had a happy halloween and have good things coming to you this November!
A Mirissa sunset!
Yoga with the rubber man!
A Hikka dance party!
Jungle Safari at Yala!
Trying to look the part of a surfer chick…