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Sri Lanka lies in the Indian Ocean a short flight from India.  The main export is tea.  But Sri Lanka is more than just tea.  Sri Lanka is Bali 50 years ago…. But with far more archaeological importance than you could ever imagine!

UNESCO Heritage Sites

Sri Lanka is home to eight UNESCO World Heritage sites and it houses more archaeological wonders than most tourists ever expect.  It is a small country where both Hinduism and Islam have both had a huge influence.  There are mosques and temple complexes found everywhere throughout the country, however it is Buddhism that really underpins the Sri Lankan Culture.

Sigiriya

No journey to Sri Lanka would be complete without a trip to the 1600 year old Sigiriya Citadel Rock, a 200 metres high mountain of rock standing large and tall over the plains of Dambulla.  The summit can be reached by visitors by climbing 1200 steep, well-worn steps and twisting ladders to the first plateau where we catch our first real ‘breath-taking’ view of the surrounding countryside.  It is amazing.  Those with some strength left, it is up another 200 steps or so to the summit and the ancient citadel and elaborate Buddhist city of Alakamanda,  and home of a former royal palace, dating back to the 10th Century.  There are only ruins remaining but use your imagination to picture the magnificent structure, some 7 stories high, housing some 1000 chambers and inhabited by the Kings family, servants and palace aides.

Simple Sri Lanka

The climb to the summit is not for the fainthearted but it is worth every ‘out of breathe’ step.  You pass murals and frescoes of nymphs and Buddha statues of Gal Vihara and the ancient relic shrine of Hatadage.  #One wall is so highly polished, yes even after all these centuries, that it still reflects sunlight to light up a frescoes you would otherwise not see.

The trip down Sigiriya is quicker but the views and artifacts you pass by are just as fascinating.

History

Sri Lanka is a tropical Island with two main climate zones.  There is a wet zone, covering the south-east quarter and a dry zone covering the rest of the country.  The island contains no natural lakes except a few small flood plain lakes but has hundred of man made reservoirs.  The earliest of these built over 2500 years ago, the more recent… 800 years ago.  How forward thinking were the Sri Lankan people.  They still today have no issues with water.  The irrigation canals and drains to move water from the mountains to the plains pre-date Christ and most were built in 6 to 3 BC!   Just imagine that…. Triangular drainage canals, that still work to this day, built BC.

During  the period 1984 to 1986 three lakes were built, mainly for hydroelectric purposes.  These were Lakes Kotmalé, Victoria and Randenigala and were built by impounding the River Mahaweli and were deliberately constructed at different elevations.  The water is collected and then moved to where it is needed for farming purposes (and to generate electricity) via drainage canals similar to those constructed centuries earlier.    It is amazing system and the Gardens below Sigiriya shows them canals and drainage systems in operation.

People

The people are friendly and welcoming.  The food delightful, nothing like Indian which was a surprise.   You will see kids playing cricket everywhere, fishermen on poles and bargaining in the markets.  It is vibrant, colorful and your senses will be overpowered by the smells and sights.  It is delightful!  Amazingly, not too crowded, which was a surprise.

When people told me that Sri Lanka was how Bali was, before tourists, I was skeptical… but they are right.  You move back in time in a good way, when you visit Sri Lanka.

No matter where you go in Sri Lanka you will constantly be reminded, there is way more than ‘tea’  to see here.

Travel…

Travel, it can be the most exciting or the scariest thing to do, depending on your confidence. I have been travelling, virtually every year, usually more than once, since 1975. So climbing on a plane is more familiar to me than catching a bus. But I know for many people this is not the case, and the thought of ‘what might go wrong’ is so daunting that it stops them even dreaming about booking a holiday.

What a Wonderful World

Our world is an amazing place, filled with wonderful places to visit, historical sights and full of people, just like you, who live the same as we do, just ‘doing life’ in their own way! Every culture has similarities but it is the differences that I find intriguing! Things we take for granted in Australia, are a privilege of the wealthy in some countries, but things we wish we had time for, a normal way of life in others. It is said travel broadens our perspective and brings more understanding and tolerance into our lives. For me this is true.

So, if you would love to travel but are apprehensive, where do you start? I thought if I gave you pointers of what I do before each trip, it may help.

Travel Tips and Hints

Zimbabwe

Travel is exciting

There are things that I always do prior going on a trip. My starting point is always my Dream Book! What is this I hear you ask! Well, a lot of years ago, I sat down with a whole heap of magazines… I flicked through cutting out photos of everything I wanted to go and see across the world. The pictures were of things like Angkor Wat, Muchu Picchu, Myanmar, Mynan Ruins in Mexico, Big 5 in Africa, Pyramids, Morocco, Spain, Chile, Amazon, Greece…. etc. I didn’t have a plan but they all looked exciting, different and intriguing.

Over the years, I have ticked well over 60% of these places off my list. So, if I am planning a trip, I want to go somewhere I haven’t been before , so I start there.

My Travel Prep:

  1. Decide where I want to go
  2. How long for?
  3. Think about why? What do I want to see, do and experience?
  4. How can I add value to the people I get to meet?
  5. Who will I go with? Myself, me & husband; in a group, or self managed? Where we go and what we want to experience plays a big part in this step in the planning.
  6. RESEARCH… what are the highlights? What boxes does it tick? What are the concerns? can I do and see what I want to do? Security! Travel partners- big or small group! Ages! .

I highly recommend travelling with a group if you are travelling for your first trip by yourself, unless confident and self reliant. I dislike travelling in large groups. Ten to 14 people is my ideal, 10 perfect! A couple of reasons, more personal, easier to connect, no long waits for the person who is always ‘late’! Smaller buses means you can get into more spots easier. Do not book into a group tour that has different levels/hotels… you will spend hours each day between hotel drop off and pickups! Frustrating and valuable tourist time wasted.

Steps to Travel Bliss

  1. Decide on ‘how’ … research options. Groups, flights, packages may seem the same, but investigate which ticks the most of your boxes regarding costs, value for money, inclusions, optional extras (if you are in a group – do the options!)
  2. Book. (I always try to have my own room, or share with someone I really know well – sometimes you need chill out or ‘me’ time, when travelling with a group)
  3. It is essential to check two things: security (political unrest) and vaccinations required.
  4. Finalise your details
  5. Imagine your holiday going so well it exceeds your expectations. Do not dwell of negative possibilities. See yourself enjoying every one of the excursions, chatting to locals, every part of your holiday. Google, google, google where you are going, immerse yourself in the experience so that you ‘have been there’ before when you arrive! That little tip will save you hours of anxiety!

The scariest part of travel is arriving in a foreign country and not sure where to go, what to do, and it can be very confusing, although the process is the same, it can be very different depending on the country. So, book transfers from the airport to your first hotel. A friendly face will greet you with your name on a board… happiness is… being guided to a taxi and on your way to the Hotel quickly.. no stress.

So, overall, travel should be fun, exciting and a little humbling … if you are unsure.. contact me via FB messenger and I will be happy to help you in any way I can.. or  join one of our trips.

Travel is in our blood and in yours too if you are visiting our Blogs but, I’m pretty sure, before you travel with us, you are looking to get a proper feel for who we are.

Our Background

Joslyn was born in New Zealand and Steve in Zimbabwe.  We met, as you do, in the Solomon Islands whilst working on International Aid Projects.  Both of us, involved in teaching and mentoring local people to be and do more than they believed they could.  Our love of travel and new experiences ensured we became firm friends.  We played squash, golf and scuba dived together.  Steve took off a couple of years from his career as a Crop Scientist to become a salvage diver.  During this time, we hosted groups from Australia and America on scuba diving tours of the fantastic diving spots in the Solomon Islands.

Fast forward a few years and we married in 1986 and moved to and lived in South Africa for 13 years.  We had an opportunity to change countries again and so have been residing in Australia for the past 21 years.

How Often Do We Travel?

We both love travel and exploring new countries, cultures and tasting the different cuisines.  To date, we have travelled to about 73 countries and many destinations and one thing we have learnt is that it is much more fun to travel with like minded people.  So, Life Change Retreats and Journeys was created to enable us to travel with people whose company we would like to enjoy.  Yes, the Retreats have a little ‘work’ involved, but the focus is on ‘you’ and on relaxing, taking the time to look at your life and compare what works and to change what doesn’t work.

Our Journeys are about new experiences.  Even if you have been to the countries we visit, we can guarantee that, in most cases, our trips will be different.  We have (and will continue to) source experts who local knowledge, that can show us the ‘tourist sights’ but also the ‘behind the scenes’ local true flavour and real life of the people and the foods.  And all with your safety and comfort in mind.

Our Life Change Retreats are for you if:Travel makes the Heart Sing

  • You would like to expand your Mind to see your opportunities
  • If you want to reconnect with your resilience and sense of self?
  • It’s time for you to reflect on your current life circumstance and compare what’s working and what’s not
  • You know it is time to start valuing yourself
  • You want to learn how to live life on Purpose and hence find out what that Purpose actually is.

Our Life Change Retreats and our Journeys are for you if:

  • Feeling safe and included when you travel overseas
  • You want to experience and connect with different cultures & spiritual practices
  • You want to open your heart to new experiences and opportunities
  • To make new friends
  • To have fun in a small group with other like-minded people.

Our Retreats and Journey’s are for everyone!  We host Women Only Retreats;  Men’s Retreats; Women & Men’s only Journeys and COMBINED Journeys.  (Combined = singles, friends, partners, couples)

If you are ready to Press Pause on Life,  join us on a trip.   We will leave from an airport near you!