Which is the best country you’ve visited so far? This is by far one of the most common questions I have to answer. I ask the question a lot too; as a trick question, or not :P. I still do not have an answer to that. Every country I have visited had its own charm, even Tanzania, a country that is certainly not my best. That said, Sri Lanka really made an impression. I want to go back, and I rarely say that about a destination. Well, except Morocco that I recently visited and got blown away. That’s the thing right here: it only gets better. When you think you finally have an answer to the question, someplace more spectacular happens.
Sri Lanka is everything anyone would wish for. Love surfing, hiking, watching the sunset, eating, massages, meditation… I could go on and on. The country has it all; in leaps and bounds. However, what stood out for me and continues awing me is the people. Cliché, I know! Anytime one travels, you are certain to meet some of the best people there are in the world. Seriously there is no better gang than the one you meet on the road. So figure that, coupled with incredibly hospitable locals.
Sri Lanka love
This was the country where I did my first ever solo travel, and it really helped that I did not have to do a lot of “gut-checking”. From the tuktuk drivers to my hosts and school children to street vendors, everyone was genuinely helpful and lovely. I struck conversations with dozens of people in the trains, dozens more when trekking, and I formed what I consider to be friendships that will last forever.
There was this guy I exchanged a couple of mails with before I arrived. He picked me up from the train station, and always came to pick me up on his bike for the 3 days I was in Galle (lovely town btw). Was it a trick? No, it wasn’t – they are kind that way, and with no ill-motive whatsoever.
All my life I thought I was introverted…
(Okay, I’m still an introvert :P)
I also met a Sri Lankan businessman who has a construction company in Sudan. Very insightful, and he really lightened up our night. Note I used our – had already made new friends (locals and otherwise) and we were out for a drink. This was just a few months I had lost a company due to poor decisions. From his stories, I was determined to make everything work. He also offered free boat rides to us, an offer we didn’t claim because we were leaving the town.
I talked all through my train journey from Galle to Kandy with one of the most charming girls I have met so far. While I don’t remember most of what we discussed (isn’t that what life is about? Living the moment?) it certainly left a mark on me.
My hosts all through were incredibly kind. I added an extra day in most towns for that reason only. By God I would have cancelled my flight out of the country too 😛
This experience taught me kindness. I am more helpful to a foreigner in my country. It really helps to have people who genuinely care in a world that is filled with hatred.
I will go back to Sri Lanka: that is for sure. In the meantime, lemme hope I find my best country, or not 🙂
Cheers to humanity!