Dear Sri Lanka,
Long ago, I started having the itch to visit your beautiful land. In my mind, I saw colonial architecture, tea terraces for miles, Indian Ocean beaches, elephants, and jungled highlands out of a fantasy landscape.
Finally, this year, while traveling in Asia, I decided to just take the plunge, live my Sri Lankan dreams, and start a new decade of my life in your country. Boarding the plane in Bangkok, I didn’t know what to expect, but I was excited nonetheless.
From the moment I got off the flight at Colombo International Airport, late at night, I felt welcomed. The next morning, when the sun came up, I got my first glimpse of your country in the daylight. Beauty and chaos all merged together into one. The Singhalese language, a new one for me, filled my ears with its interesting sounds and words I’d never heard before. And the people, friendly, cheerful, and willing to help a slightly lost gringa in a new country.
For the next week and a half, I explored you to the fullest. From your crazy cities to deep emerald forests in the highlands. From the wetlands of the rainforest to the drylands that resembled the African Serengeti. The different landscapes on this small island seemed as diverse as an entire continent. And then at Yala National Park, a leopard, up close and crossing the road right by our safari jeep. Reaching the top of Little Adam’s Peak near Ella felt like I was on top of the world, or at the very least on top of Sri Lanka. Walking across the railway tracks at Nine Arches Bridge and then watching the train pass was simply the quintessential Sri Lankan experience.
After a few days, your little quirks didn’t bother me. Slow service to get meals, traffic jams, burning garbage, it’s all part of Sri Lankan life. And it’s Sri Lankan life I wanted to embrace.
As a traveler and a nomad, my life is filled with many goodbyes. New countries lead to eventually having to leave. And tonight, as I depart from your beautiful land, I am confident that it’s not a goodbye, but a see you later. I have every intention to return to Sri Lanka. It has cemented a place in my heart and is more than just a dot on the map, another country in my travels; so I will return. But until then, please stay beautiful, unique, and so friendly. Te quiero, Sri Lanka!
(If you want to see this fantastic country for yourself, let me know! I can help you set up the most amazing Sri Lankan experience with my professional contacts in the country. Reach out to me, and together we can make your Sri Lanka dreams a reality!)
Edited to add: I loved Sri Lanka so much that I went back again within a month. Absolutely on my list of top five countries I’ve visited!