“Sri Lanka on your own, are you crazy?!”
“Natalie, it’s not safe to do this on your own”
“Your going to Sri Lanka on your own? I’d never be that brave”
These were just a handful of examples of words I heard fall from people’s lips when I told them I was going to Sri Lanka and yes I was going by myself. People thought I was crazy. Hell, when I stepped on that SriLankan Airline plane I thought I was crazy. To be brutally honest I booked this trip on a whim, I hate to be predictable and for a number of reasons including wanting to do something to shock myself I booked a non-refundable airplane ticket to Sri Lanka with a return date 3 weeks later and booked myself onto a volunteer programme to occupy myself whilst I was there.
I’m a dreamer, and I love to wonder what the world is like in places outside cold, wet London but never did I once believe I would actually do it. Never did I once believe me, the girl who hates to be by herself in public would travel 5,408 miles away to a country I’ve never been to be before and go all by myself not knowing a single person there. But I did it. And it was… The greatest, most memorable thing I have ever done in my entire life.
As an average person my life is a little mundane. Straight from school, into work I was living an adult life whilst everyone around me was at university still being young. I felt like I was wasting away, and at 19 years old no way was I ready to give into the adult life. I needed to be young. I needed memories. I needed to remember why life is worth living because you do forget to appreciate things around you when your stuck in an office 9 to 5, 5 days a week. All I knew was how to work. It was my time to live. So I did something crazy, but I had it all planned. I never thought I’d go through with it though, but the days were coming closer and closer. Suddenly I found myself sitting at the airport trying not to cry whilst saying goodbye to my Mother, it was time to go through security and all of a sudden it all felt a bit too real. Then there I was sitting on the plane next too an overly large yet happy looking Sri Lankan man, watching the plane leave the ground and realising there was definitely no going back from now.
So why did I step on the plane and why on earth did I go solo? Because I needed to and that was it. I was terrified, but that somehow encouraged me even more. Why play it safe anymore? I felt like I had nothing to lose and a million things to gain. It was time to be fearless, something I had never done before. It was time to take a risk and do something memorable for once. It was time to be selfish, and do something for me which I didn’t do an awful lot. It was time to actually start living my life. And during those 3 weeks I lived every single day. Ever seen that question lingering around “When was the last time you tried something for the first time?” Well in Sri Lanka I was trying everything for the first time. Every. Single. Day. And it made me feel… amazing. For the first time in a long time I really felt alive. I lost nothing (except a few pounds, unfortunately not in weight…) and gained a million (unfortunately this time not in the money sense).
And I do it all over again in a heartbeat.