Written in 2017 while I was traveling in Sri Lanka
People asked me to write a more positive blog this time. First of all; I never meant my other blogs to be negative. They describe my experiences (others might experience it different), and yes, my frustrations. But it’s one of the reasons why I love this country; it never fails to surprise me. This blog will start off with a negative story, but will end positive, I promise 😉
My whole live, I’ve been warned. For strangers, for men, for traders, for girls… Tell me a person, and I’ll be able to tell you I’ve been warned for them in one way or another…
Especially since I’ve been traveling in my own in a ‘foreign’ country (which feels like home), people feel like they have to warn me even more.
“You don’t know anything about this country”, “a girl isn’t safe anymore those days”, “You don’t know what terrible things some people are capable of”, “Drugs, rape, alcohol. Be careful”…
I could go on and on.
If I would get 10 rupees (which is about 3 eurocents) for every warning, I would be rich. Not just in Sri Lanka, but also in the Netherlands. Also, if I would listen to every warning, I would have no friends and I would never experience a single thing.
We have lately seen that bad things can happen everywhere, even when you’re biking home after work or school.. Even in a ‘safe’ western country like the Netherlands. So yes, bad things can happen in Sri Lanka as well.
But let me tell you something: Life is deadly, and most people die in bed…
And I don’t want to die in bed, lonely, without any good adventure to tell… I’d rather take some risks and enjoy life, with my Srilankan friends and family.
So I decided to travel by trust. Of course I trust my gut feelings and I pay attention. I don’t do anything that doesn’t feel good. But I believe, most people on this planet actually mean well. And you will sort out the people who don’t mean well quick enough. I know both my parents and my extra pair of Sri Lankan parents are really worried about me, and wish I wouldn’t do this, but I decided not to listen to all the worries and warnings and to travel by trust. Not only trusting others, but also trusting myself in my ability to take care of myself.
Since I arrived, I have only paid for accommodation for 6 nights, out of 54 nights since I arrived. Not because I didn’t want to pay for accommodation, but I feel like you experience so much more awesome things when you travel on trust. I have said yes to almost every trip or invitation. It makes me warm and thankful and makes me appreciate everything so much more. This was possible thanks to my amazing friends, and also to a lot of new friends. People I didn’t met before I stayed at their place. People who just wanted to be kind to a fellow person on this earth. I’ve had awesome tours from friends of friends. I’ve hopped into cars from the mountains around Kandy down to the city, because they were going down anyway. I’ve had lunch and dinner at houses of people I just met. People are very kind, friendly and helpful in this country. All around the world they are, but I feel like people are even nicer in this country. They just want to assure that you have the very best time and that you stay safe, on their paradise island. Sri Lanka, which literally means majestic island, is despite the regular frustrations of locals, the country of their heart. You come as a visitor, you leave as a friend, they say. And it feels like the whole country, including nature and weather, works together to make sure you will. Almost everyone who visits, falls in love with this crazy country and returns at least once.
But I am convinced that this concept doesn’t only work on this island. We all have been warned for strangers our whole life, and we probably all have warned others for strangers. But what if, instead of warning and being afraid, we try to help others? If we wouldn’t spend our time and energy on worries, we could have fun instead. We would be connected by kindness and trust.
Then we won’t be strangers anymore.
I want to thank all my old and new friends who made this possible
- Aisha and her family (and cats), for picking me up at the airport and for not only providing me a bed, but a real home (with books), immediately after arriving
- Thilini’s family, for adopting me as their daughter (and sister, including the teasing) while Thili is in Australia, and taking care of me as real parents, even after my blog about the flipflop rulebook 😉
- Seta and her family, for hosting me and taking me to different religious ceremonies (I even fed an elephant!), and Seta again for being my personal trip organizer
- Imco, co-owner of Surf City Guesthouse, to provide me a place where I can have some space for myself and do a relaxing morning swim and an evening beachwalk ·
- Yamuna, for taking me to the most special party ever, hosting me in her house and lending me her bike
- Father Ruwan, for hosting me in his priest and nun house for retreats and renewals and for praying for me, my family and friends, and his helper Lalith
- Lucky and Aravinda, for proving me Kandy is indeed a beautiful city, if you know where to look
- Buddhi and Thanu from Villa Windsor Castle for providing me a home without curfew
- Sister Grace for the special lunch at the convent
- Trevor, for allowing me to feature his tuktuk wisdom picture
- All the other people who made me tea or food, took me on trips, showed me around, gave me tips or brought me in contact with people who might be able to help me
- My friends and family at home for their love and support
Thank you!! I feel blessed