Monday, April 16, 2012

This is why we travel


Yesterday, my friend D emailed me a piece he'd written on our recent trip to Sri Lanka.

I'd been out all day taking 15 people from Manila all over Tokyo in a chartered bus -- that's another story, by the way, and I'm going to include it soon in a piece on why Japan is still in a recession, sometime soon -- so I'd returned home late and hadn't had much time to work through it.

Still, just before sleeping, I'd began incorporating it into a piece I was doing on our really enjoyable Sri Lanka trip as well.

This is why there wasn't any blog entry yesterday; and there still wouldn't have been one if I hadn't suddenly woken up at 1 AM over here.

A WONDROUS COUNTRY


But putting together our recollections of Sri Lanka really made me remember all the wondrous sights we had seen that simply took our breath away.

It was a truly special trip, and Sri Lanka is truly a paradise worth discovering if you have the sense of adventure and hunger for culture that we at Travelife have. Sri Lanka has among the oldest cultures in the world, after all.


Moreover, Sri Lanka has all these facilities for catering to upmarket tourism in a largely untouched last frontier of an environment -- it has two Aman resorts, after all, and so many truly excellent boutique hotels that would put our own local tourism infrastructure to shame in the high-end market.

So high-end tourists can have the best of both worlds as long as they can put up with some long drives: they'll have uncommercialized travel experiences and at the same time world-class comfort in a uniquely Sri Lankan way.

SRI LANKA'S WAR


But at same time, it has no tourism of significance yet to speak of because the internal strife in Sri Lanka over the past decades has left many of its UNESCO World Heritage sites amazingly devoid of the usual crowds.

In a way, it's a sweet spot for tourists who want to see things many other people still haven't seen. It's just a matter of time before this country becomes a major tourist destination in the Indian Ocean.

WE'RE ALL ALONE NOW

On my first trip to Sri Lanka last year, we virtually had Anardhapura and Pollonaruwa to ourselves -- and what an incredible experience that was.

On this most recent trip, we had the amazing Dambulla Caves all to ourselves. We were so by ourselves in fact that we had to clamber down the mountain in darkness afterwards to return to the car.

The chance for experiences like these are exactly the reasons why we travel: to get out of our everyday lives and to experience the extraordinary and amazing; to stimulate our minds, satisfy our desire for visual beauty and to enhance our creative juices.

OUR WONDERFUL, INTERESTING WORLD


Recently I received an email from someone with some of the most amazing photos of many places I've been to. It made me remember my amazing Travelife.

The photos are not ours and the email makes no mention of photo credits so unfortunately I can't appropriately credit the photographers; but I thought I'd share them anyway to remind everyone of the amazing, incredible, interesting and wonderful experiences in store when you embark on your own TRAVELIFE.

WHAT AWAITS WITH A TRAVELIFE

A mountain in China

Seaside in Oregon

A bridge in Seoul

Hot air balloons over Turkey.
Still one of my most amazing experiences so far.

A statue in France

A forest in Russia

A building in Germany

Sunset seen through a wave


An office in Madrid

Photo of a statue in Lithuania
in the daytime and at night

A forest in Poland

A balcony in Chicago

View of Dubai

A restaurant in Zanzibar

The (flat) floor of a store in Paris

A national park in New Zealand

The border between the Netherlands and Belgium,
literally outside a cafe



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