It hit me here in Sri Lanka while traveling through this wonderful country, full of dualities and diversities. On my day of arrival in Sri Lanka I felt that this country is completely different to India. And I have had another cultural shock. Somehow on the surface Sri Lanka seemed to be the same but on a subtle level I could feel it’s not “India Light”. I have heard this several times about Sri Lanka and for myself I can’t confirm this.
Yes, I am married
During the last weeks in Sri Lanka I was struggling. Traveling alone as a female here in Sri Lanka wasn’t always easy honestly speaking. Men stared at me, continuously tried to talk to me, followed me sometimes (fortunately not too long) and also some other situations occurred where I didn’t feel very comfortable. This happened in India as well but somehow it was different. And I asked myself: “Is it me who is too sensitive and maybe overstating some situations?”. Anyway I decided to wear my fake wedding ring and got out my story: My husband is waiting for me and showed my ring. I am sad about the fact that I had to do this but somehow I felt like protecting myself. And this was the easiest way for me. So I kept on traveling with my fake wedding ring and my fake husband. Sometimes I added some fake kids as well.
I will stop visiting foreign countries
In order to not be permanently bothered by the people starring at me, talking to me and asking me questions like “Are you married?” I tried to take it easy and make a game out of it. React friendly, ask questions back like “Where do you live?”, “Are you married?”. And suddenly after a while I started realizing one point which made me look different on the way I was traveling in the past and will travel in the future. Usually we say “ I visited Sri Lanka.”. Visiting might not be the right word. It implies for me a more superficial and distant relation. It seems to put me as a traveler in the position of an observer which is not wrong. I do observe when I travel. But how about saying or considering “I met a Culture in Sri Lanka”. This is actually what I try to do when I travel. I am meeting cultures. Talking to local people about random things like the weather, the average price of a coconut or deeper things like religions and gods are the moments that I appreciate most during my time traveling abroad. I say “I meet friends” because there will be an exchange both ways between two or more beings. But for example I visit museums to look at art pieces. And in these words meeting and visiting I hear a difference. Do you hear it as well?
āyubūvan – May you live long
Sri Lanka is one of the best countries to meet a culture. For example through staying at a homestay instead of staying in hotels. For me this was the most wonderful and uplifting way of truly meeting a culture.
Homestay. There’s nothing better than staying at a homestay with a singhalese family. Their hospitality is outstanding and I always felt welcome and „home away from home“. They were taking care of me and I always felt very safe. And the food. The food! The best food I have had in homestays. Not on the streets, not at the beaches, not in restaurants. They know how to cook, seriously. And they cook with lots of love.
What I will take with me from Sri Lanka:
- I experienced hospitality in a new way here in Sri Lanka.
- Helpfulness by locals and travelers along my way made my trip a special one. Sharing is caring.
- An open and honest smile is heart warming, on the streets, in a shop, during a hike.
A few Guesthouses/Homestays/Hostels I stayed at during my trip:
- Galle – Pilgrims Hostel: Amazing food and relaxed atmosphere
- Madiha – Madiha Surf 01: Surf vibes and amazing food
- Tangalle – ISHITHA Homestay: Awesome food and good conversations about buddhism with my host Chandi and her son
- Ella – Bella Ella: Tree House nature Vibes and the best food I have had during my trip (the jackfruit curry was amazing)
Potpourri of my activities and favorite spots in Sri Lanka:
- Café Zen
- Café Salty Swamis
- The Pilgrimage Hostel
- Restaurant Spoons
Madiha / Mirissa / Surfen
- Café and Bar The Doctors House
- Massage at Secret Root Garden in Mirissa
- Yoga in Upali’s hidden garden 😉
- Café The Coffee Shop by Heman
- Elephant orphanage
- Hike Ella Rock
- Hike Adam’s Peak
- See 9 arch bridge
- Take the train from Ella to Nanu Oya (Nuwara Eliya). Most amazing thing I did here.
- Hindu Temple: the first Gayathri Temple im Sri Lanka with 108 Shiva Lingams
- Food: Dosa Indian place Sri Ambaals
- Set an intention and take the steps up to this sacred hill
- Hindu Temple in Maskeliya: Sri Shanmuganatha Devasthalam
- Botanical Garden Peradeniya (1500 LKR)
- Take a bus from Anuradhapura to see the sunset and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere (500 LKR)
- Walk or bike the ancient city and feel the vibe of this sacred place (4200 LKR)