Tag: Sri Lanka

What we keep.

The current fires in San Diego has me thinking a lot about materialism and what it would feel like to lose all possessions.

Like many people, I have several material possessions that are important to me. My notebooks of writings, hard drives, and musical instruments are a few of the material things I seem to value most when I think about it.

We are often asked what our most prized possession is…but what about some of our most prized experiences?

Experiences live within you. They go wherever you go. They don’t have matter, yet they matter most. It is a great paradox that provides a sense of self, belonging, and a certain eternal context for your life.

My material possessions are important to me, but the past few years I’ve been more focused on experiences.

Here’s an experience that comes to mind.

During my time in Sri Lanka there were many incredible surf sessions. Endless waves, warm water, good friends, and beautiful scenery…but this particular surf session was different.

It was just me and two good friends I had made during my time in Sri Lanka. We made our way in the tuk tuk (three wheeled vehicle) to one of the longest right waves I’ve ever seen.

All to ourselves, we paddled out in the 80 degree water and paddled as hard as we could to grab our first wave. The wave starts out with a relatively easy take off, then quickly pitches over as it passes a nice sandbar. This is the section to get a cover up or a nice barrel.

We get our waves.

Each of us runs to the sand and up the beach back to the point to grab another one. This repeats. And repeats. My legs get tired while riding the waves because they go on for so long.

The sky turns orange. The sunset comes upon us and we can see the color reflecting off the waves as we ride them. Glowing orange waves and pink sky puts our minds in a state of euphoria.

Legs and arms tired, it’s that after surf session people talk about.

Our tuk tuk driver is waiting on the beach. Time to go.

We strap the boards on. Take a few breathes to imagine ourselves riding more waves. And we’re off.

We continue in the tuk tuk and our driver is excited.

‘Look to the right! You see!’

Wild elephant wanders behind scattered palm trees.

The sky continues to morph into a rich array of timeless colors. The elephant walks calmly, just a few hundred feet away.

Where am I?

How am I on a beach with elephants?

Legs worked.
Arms sore.
Completely consumed by this experience.

We make our way back to the village through the winding cobble stone streets as children put their arms out for high fives.

Time for a cold glass bottled Coke, delicious Sri Lankan food, and a good night of sleep.

What is one of your most prized experiences?

One day, our dreams will be treated equally.

We all have dreams. We all have futures. Unfortunately, some people’s vision and dreams of their future are nearly impossible to achieve because of circumstances they cannot control (where they were born, etc). Hopefully with access to international education and collaboration via the internet, more and more dreams will be treated equally. More people in places that once we’re removed from the world as a whole will be able to contribute in ways that we can’t even dream of today.

The radiance of youth. The potential of prospersity.

This boy was walking down the beach here in Sri Lanka. He really wanted his picture taken. He had a certain radiance to him. He was highly excited and intensely focused. I just got the feeling that this kid was dreaming big about his future. I hope his dreams have the potential to become a reality just like any other kid in the world.

The images suggests that this boy yields the power of the sun in himself. He can manipulate the power of the sun to create his own impact, his own rays, his on reality. He can put his dreams into practice. He can achieve anything.

Welcome to Sri Lanka

The excitement one feels when entering an unexplored country is what often keeps people traveling throughout their entire lives. That first step off the plane, that first interaction with the local people, that first taste of the local cuisine, that first mention that ‘Hotel California” is their favorite song of all time, that first mention that you look like Jesus, that first time you pay way too much for something, that first head swivel when talking to you, that first time you begin to understand their view of the world.

I’ve made my made to Sri Lanka, a country many people are familiar with because of the 2004 tsunami that rocked the East and West coast here. It has already been quite the experience.

Upon arrival I made my way straight to the visa office to get an extension for my passport (3 months). Tourists from several countries get a visa on arrival for 30 days, but just to be safe I decided I’d like to give myself more time. The process took about 4 hours. Numbers were called from people that had arrived both before and after me, and it seemed like there was a decent amount of confusion was about in the system in general. In the end, it doesn’t matter. I received my visa extension after paying my dues ($100 usd) and my taxi driver stood patiently the entire time, guarding my bag with every opportunity he could.

Maleen (the taxi driver) had an interesting story. I could tell once I hopped in the cab that he was a good guy…for some reason I’ve been lucky with taxi drivers. His story goes as follows. His father was is a serious accident that left him paralyzed and unable to work. This happened when Maleen was very young.

As time went on, things obviously became very difficult for the family as the income halved. By a strike of good luck, a family from the Netherlands came to explore Sri Lanka. This family ended up particularly fond of Maleen, and when they found of the situation with his father, they decided to change Maleen’s life. They paid for him to have an education from an international school and provide funds to make sure Maleen’s future would be bright.

It is amazing the impact we can all have with a bit of inspiration and kind actions. There is no telling where or what Maleen would be with out the help of this family from the Netherlands.

I love hearing about things that make you realize that if you impact just one person’s life in a positive way, the stories and inspiration can be passed on to another for more great things to happen.

(Maleen works as a taxi driver, hotel concierge, and waiter)