Watching the big ships from Maersk, MOL++ appear and disappear in the horizon, and waves crushing into the rocks below, as I enjoy a coffe on the balcony… Typical for many in my generation, I don’t care much about material status symbols. Expensive purses, jewelry, designer clothes – it’s nice but just not important. I prefer investing in good experiences whether it’s back home or traveling. These extra days in Sri Lanka with my kids and mom has definitely been a good investment – recharging my batteries doing nothing.
As often as I can, I avoid the big resorts, and try finding hidden pearls that are privately owned and run. It’s just a whole different experience, and I feel more grounded, peaceful and connected in smaller B&Bs.
This time, I booked a room in a private guest house in Unawatuna, which proved to be a true haven for us. A villa with a garden and its own private beach behind heavy old wooden gates, a bit outside the main track. The garden is sheltered from the sun by big palm trees, and Erik enjoys his lunch naps in a hammock facing the sea, rolled into sleep by the ongoing sound of waves. We have breakfast outside, in what Knut (3) refers to as a sandbox, and afterwards climb 4 steps down to soak ourselves in the turqouise water.
With 7 rooms, the owner of this place started his career washing dishes at a hotel. He came from a family without the opportunity to provide support for any education, but really had a thirst for studying more. So he worked 2 jobs, did his degree, and before the tsunami hit in 2004, he had his own restaurant & home.
After the tsunami, leaving the property destroyed, except for one building, he has rebuilt what is now a true gem. With help from an Italian family and loads of hard work, he made his own dream come true. We enjoy an amazing hospitality combined with nice chats, and my little monkeys spend much of the day playing with their 4 year old son, while the family’s daughter is studying at the international school over in Galle to prepare for a future pursuing every opportunity her father didn’t get himself while growing up.
Besides a trip to visit a turtle shelter, a boat trip to the Koggala lagoon and small islands with temples and cinnamon producing families (which our host drove us to and joined in on), and a few rides in a tuk-tuk to dine by the main beach, we have done absolutely nothing. Which is perfect for us. No stress, nothing to plan, nothing to make on time. Just being together, playing, eating, enjoying life.
There are so many things I’d love to explore across this beautiful pearl of the Indian Ocean. But we’ll save that for a later visit, as my little rascals are much happier just spending time together in a slow speed…
Tomorrow, we’ll take the train from Galle to Colombo, where meeting so, conference and my speech on sustainable and digital opportunities for the shipping industry is on the agenda the coming days.