In March 2018, I headed to Sri Lanka with Emma, one of my best friends from university, for almost three weeks.
My excitement should have been radiating from within. I should have been OTT hyped. It was the first trip I was about to take in over a year with a friend, and one of the first I had organised myself in around the same time. I wouldn’t be doing any writing, or blogging, or social media. I wasn’t indebted to a brand or company. It was to be my time, and mine alone.
But I was still really nervous. What if I’d forgotten how to travel with someone else?
I was also anxious about the possibility that my moods would ruin the trip. I’d spent the first three months of the year wallowing in a deep, dark well of depression that I just couldn’t seem to leave behind me.
I’d tried herbal medicines, upped the ante on my exercise regime, and considered anti-depressants. But this persistent fog crept into my brain and clouded my vision, turning my technicolour world totally grey. What if this follows me to Sri Lanka? I thought.
Before Emma and I were due to meet in Sri Lanka (she was flying from Dubai, me from London) I remember Skyping her and discussing my anxieties. Emma is literally the most positive, optimistic person I know. “What if the trip is crap, what if we don’t enjoy it because I feel so down?” I asked her whilst literally sobbing into my Mac.
“There’s really no need to worry about something that hasn’t happened yet”, was something like her response, her voice tinkling through my laptop speakers in her sing-song northern Irish accent. “It’s going to be SO fun”.
And it was – really fun, that is.
Actually it was more like three weeks of bliss; of swaying palm trees, smiling locals, spicy hoppers (Sri Lankan pancakes), and seas that shimmered like silver beneath bleeding-red sunsets. Of meditations, reflections, late-night conversations on the beach, and too-fast journeys in rented mopeds and tuk-tuks.
There’s something so unbelievably freeing about women accompanying one another on a travel adventure. All my worries drifted away the second I landed in Colombo. And by the end of the trip I just felt…weightless.
I’ve never been to a country and been quite so enamoured with the people either. Almost every Sri Lankan I met was amazingly warm and welcoming. Sri Lanka is the kind of place in which I felt I could always ask for directions, and where I felt we were pretty much always paying a fair price for things (except for the first night where Emma and I ended up parting ways with £40 for an admittedly delicious, but minuscule crab in a restaurant in Colombo called Ministry of Crab – 8/10, would devour again.)
Sri Lanka was what I needed to pull myself from the plughole of depression. And at only £800 in spending money for just under 21 days of travelling (everything was booked last minute – see below for recommendations), it was quicker than therapy (although I still go to that too).
My Sri Lanka highlights included…
- Climbing the ancient rock fortress of Sigirya
- Watching baby turtles hatch in a sanctuary in Galle
- Staying in Notting Hill Country house in Kandy
- Market-shopping in the boutqiue town of Galle
- Whale-watching in Mirissa
- Chillaxing and renting mopeds in the sleepy town of Tangalle
- Catching the day-time train from Kandy to Ella and checking out all the scenery
Check my photo diary of Sri Lanka below with some more tips/location info under each picture.
Sri Lanka was a dream. Going soon? Got questions about my trip? Leave a comment below and press the heart if you liked this article.