I have been meaning to put together a post about our natural first aid and toiletry travel kit for a while now. I’m constantly amazed by the power of some of the products that now come everywhere with us and still get a bit of a buzz out of how refined our packing has become.
You see, when we first set off on our travels a few years back, our lack of experience resulted in a toiletry bag bursting at the seams with pills and potions. The fear that we might get this or that the foreign pharmacies might not have that meant that we had enough stuff with us to set up our own little stall by the side of the road, selling indigestion remedies.
Becoming more confident and experienced travellers is one reason we have lightened the load. Developing stomachs of steel is certainly another. Mostly though, we’ve come to realise that there are all kinds of natural, multi-purpose and long lasting products available that’ll do everything we need. Should we require anything stronger, we know from experience that good doctors can be found in all corners of the world.
Wherever possible I try to avoid using unnatural products on and in my body. This however is easier said than done if you’re trying to shop for things on the road. Add to that the need for everything to be vegan and cruelty-free and shopping can become a bit of a minefield.
Pai is a haven for vegan food, however a lot of places shut up shop when the rains come.
Since we were in Pai during the so-called rainy season (we only got wet once), we visited a lot of places only to find them abandoned for the season. The good news however is that some of the places that were still open were serving incredible food. Staying for only four days at the time of year that we did means we couldn’t put together a particularly extensive list of places to eat , but these are our three favs.
We took the train to Hikkaduwa where we planned to stay a few nights, but ended up staying for one night and leaving first thing the next morning. We ordered an avocado roti at a little place when we arrived. When it came, it had cheese in it. We sent it back and the cheese was replaced with hair.
As a holiday destination, Hikkaduwa is pretty perfect for anyone wanting to surf, drink, party with other tourists and eat fairly overpriced food.Everything is in one place.Hikkaduwa beach is lined with pretty bars and restaurants which blast out western music.Since we have little interest in any of what was on offer, we scooped up Maia and set off for Tangalle.
possibly the only photo we took in Hikkaduwa. Beautiful Majalita
At the front of the first of two buses to Sigiriya was a huge framed picture of Lord Shiva which lit up every time the driver hit the brakes. Pretty neat. The public transport in Sri Lanka is great in that there is loads of it and it is very cheap. Despite the fact that it seems to be shrouded in mystery regarding times and routes, you can usually just ask someone at the bus stop and they’ll direct you to your carriage.
We stayed in a lovely air b’n’b called Riverside Villa, which was tucked away from the main town, surrounded by trees and miscellaneous vegetation. At the end of the garden there was a river where the family (as well as various random locals) came to bathe.Chaminda’s lovely wife also made us delicious breakfast and dinners.
Our first bus journey in Sri Lanka was somewhere between a joy-ride and a nightclub.Way way too fast and packed full of hot strangers falling onto each other and grabbing onto random body-parts.It was a hoot.
Ella is beautiful and that is no secret.For this reason it is hella touristy.To experience the natural wonders of Ella without joining a pack of other tourists, you have a to put in a little work. Picking the right time of day to visit the beauty spots is essential if you want to beat the selfie sticks as well as the blistering heat. Sometimes this can be pot-luck, but if you can haul yourself out of bed super early, you’ll often find you’re rewarded with cool air andpeaceful experiences.
We set off for Ella Rock at 5am.This had a number of benefits. We would arrive in time for sunrise, the air was cool and the feeling that we were actually dyingdidn’t bother us so much because we were so tired.Our lovely host Nimal marched on ahead of us, in flip-flops, without even breaking a sweat, which was really nice for him.Tom stopped a couple of times because he thought he was going to throw up. But, in just under an hour, we made it to the top and to our delight, we only had to share the view with one other couple.Apparently hundreds of people would make their way up there later in the day.
The first 20 mins or so of our walk was along the railway tracks. #walkingdead
In order to get to Uda Walawe National Park we experimented with a number of different pronunciations. It seems the best way to be understood by locals is to literally just say it (as written) as fast as you can. Please try this now.
unfortunately we were not able to bring our trumpet.
There are several huge national parks all over Sri Lanka and depending on who you speak to, each one is the best. We opted for Uda Walawe because it was described as being home to around 500 elephants (and it was on route to Ella. More about that later).We figured the chance of seeing some in their natural habitat was pretty high.
We found an awesome B’n’B called Silent Bungalow.The surrounding gardens were lush and the food was delicious and excessive.
Apparently the best way to deal with leeches is to wear flip-flops, so that you can see them and flick them off as soon as they find your feet. Sometimes though, you don’t notice them as they wriggle their weird little bodies onto your skin and start to load up on your blood. There are times when it’s too late to simply sweep them off and it becomes more of a gouging mission. A mission that had Tom freaking out like a little baby. Needless to say, pretty early into our stay we decided that hot and sweaty leech resistance in the form of shoes and socks was a small price to pay in order to avoid excavating any more of these creepy little things.
To get to our farmstay in Sinharaja, we had to remove our shoes and cross a small river. We then had to lug our bags up-hill for about a kilometre. Had we been mentally prepared for this activity, it might not have seemed to arduous, but after 3 hours kicking back in a tuktuk, mentally prepared we were not. It was however, worth the walk.
At the top of the hill, we were met by Karina and Sam, who run a brand new eco farmstay/B’n’B which is truly in the middle of nowhere, with beautiful views of the rainforest as far as the eye can see. Karina from Germany and Sam from the UK had been living and working on their huge plot of land since they bought it about 3 years before. What they are doing is truly amazing and incredibly inspiring. Their plan to reforest the land and break away from monoculture farming is one that involves a tremendous amount of work, but one that is certainly coming to fruition. Karina took us on a walk around the land where she showed us the hundreds of trees and plants all providing food in the form of fruits, veg, herbs and spices. We also had a look around the enchanting mud hut that the pair of them live in. Like something out of a fairytale, their outdoor kitchen, complete with a dining area for their 4 cats leads out to a gorgeous waterfall which they use as a shower.
HIYA, we're Tom and Amy. We left the UK in Feb 2016 to explore what the rest of the world has to offer. Amy left her job teaching music and Tom left his making videos. We hope to fill this blog with a combination of musings, creative offerings and useful advice. Let's be inspired! x