ELYSE KNOWLES

Life Of Elyse BLOG

A Heartwarming Experience in Sri Lanka

Elyse Knowles Sri Lanka

What a beautiful place in the world. 

Sri Lanka is layered in culture, happiness, hard work, colour and SMILES. Their local communities are so genuinely happy & full of this beautiful zest for life & zest for the day at hand. I took a lot out of this trip. It was an eye opener in terms of appreciating the simple parts of life. The air, the scenery, the fresh food, the lovely people - simply the gift of being here on earth. 

The Sri Lankan community is largely Buddhist, which means they believe that nothing is fixed in this life & anything is possible. They cherish wisdom, mediation and mental development - all of which they believe can emerge if you keep your mind pure and calm. 

To me, this is a beautiful way of looking at life. It’s uncomplicated, it’s not offensive & it’s relevant to everyone. How we act & behave everyday is a reflection of the people we truely aspire to be from the inner most part of our core. We should all be kinder. We should all be more self-aware. We should all be more accepting of others. 

Elyse Knowles Sri Lanka 4

During this trip, I also learnt that life doesn’t have to be cluttered with “stuff”. It can be striped back & free of baggage. Surrounding myself with the happy people of Sri Lanka, it became very apparent how much goodness comes when we take a step back & return to basics. To rediscover the most raw forms of happiness. For example, instead of buying something for that instant feeling of gratification, perhaps we should instead go for a swim in the ocean. Or we should close our eyes in a sunny park for 20 minutes and enjoy the feeling of warmth & fresh air. We should tell someone how much they mean to us, or do someone a simple favour to make a small part of their day easier. The gratification you will feel from these simple acts is quite remarkable. And something we all forget (myself included!) 

During our travels in Sri Lanka, we firstly visited the Wild Coast Lodge in Yala. The lodge is located about 6 hours by car from the airport. But, holy moly it’s well worth the travels. The lovely staff at Wild Coast pick you up when you arrive & from that exact moment, you are off!! You literally don’t have to think about anything from then on. The staff take amazing care of you during every step of your travels, which makes the experience feel warm & homely. 

Wild Coast is placed within the national park where leopards, elephants, monkeys and many more animals roam free. This is the beauty of Wild Coast. You feel like you are surrounded by wildlife from the moment you wake up, to the moment you go to bed. And you pretty much are (whilst being kept very safe of course!). 

The lodge has built these amazing tent like huts that make the experience feel a little like glamping. The interiors are very classy & designed with a Safari like vibe - raw, native & natural to the surroundings. We (Brooke and I), had our own pool at the lodge which you might have seen on my Instagram stories. The pool looked directly out onto the beach. If you were lucky enough, you could see monkeys & other wild life hanging out and going about their day! It’s so surreal … Sri Lanka is such a unique part of the world. 

Back to my point about safety - for any of you who are reading with a few fears or hesitations, don’t worry! There is a guard on watch all night who keeps an eye on the beaches & all of the other areas that surround your room. You’ll even have a designated Wild Coast worker to collect you as it gets dark. They’ll walk with you to the restaurant area just incase any animals are out for a casual evening stroll :) 

This was my first ever safari and it truely was AMAZING. Every morning around 6.00am, you’re off & racing into the park to see the animals waking up. I get excited by most dogs … imagine how I felt about lions & elephants! I was in my element. I adore seeing any animal in their natural habitat, going about their day. They are such happy creatures in this world - so content & healthy. 

It was a very dry time of the year while we were there. The dams & much of the terrain looked very dried up which doesn’t create the most comfortable landscape for the natural habitat. This all changed for the better however on the day we left. A big down poor graced the land & gave the animals a chance to have a shower & cool off. Seeing this was very special. And it was of course another reminder of just how precious water is. Especially when it’s clean & fresh from the sky. It is natures gift to us all - animals and people… and it should never be taken for granted.  

Elyse Knowles Sri Lanka

Brooke and I had an absolute ball! The best experience for me personally was watching an elephant walk right in front of our car as he headed into the bushes. He was divine!!! So big, so slow, so graceful yet so powerful. Another highlight would have to be the staff. Their friendless and general nature were amazing. They make the whole trip a memorable experience. 

Another fun activity we did, and something I’d recommend to anyone who travels to the lodge - was a tour around the surrounding villages. We rode on bikes which was fun & made for an awesome way to see and experience the local villages. Seeing everything from their homes, to their watermelon fields, to their sacred buildings where they pray - it was a true insight into how the locals live & what they cherish. It was a beautiful experience. We had smiling kids chasing after us all afternoon… again the smiles are laughter scattered throughout Sri Lanka are insanely contagious! 

From the safari adventures, we then headed off to Cape Weligama, (about 3 hours from Wild Coast, closer towards the airport). We headed off to the beach for the final leg of our holiday. Being by the ocean was not a bad way to finish as it gave us the opportunity to relax, unwind & take in all that we had seen & learned along the way. 

Brooke & I spent our days exploring the local towns & speaking to the locals to find out how they lived from day-to-day, what they loved to cook & eat and which particular aspects of their lives were the most meaningful. The answers we received were of course lovely. We didn’t expect much less knowing how sweet & kind the people of Skri Lanka are. Riding bikes and talking to the locals is a brilliant way to immerse yourself in a new place and learn new things. Traveling is such a gift. Get as much culture as you can while you’re away, as you’ll saviour the experiences for a long time. 

Cape Weligmama had another amazing pool that looked over the sea. You can see whales in whale season & enjoy their epic surf just below the hotel. This place is perfect for wave chasers. 

The other memorable thing about Cape Weligmama was the food! We ate so so much food as it was far too yummy to ever turn down! While filling up at each meal, we also exercised & stayed active. If I don’t exercise while I’m travelling, I end up feeling yucky by the end of it. When you are indulging in so much delicious food, it’s good to move my body & keep it in good shape. We did pilates, workouts in the gym and workouts by the pool on sundown. Mixing it up always makes the burn a little more enjoyable! 
Overall, Sri Lanka is a beautiful place in our world. A cultural experience we should all see & immerse ourselves un. 

It was heart breaking to hear the stories from the terrible terrorist attack Sri Lanka experienced earlier in the year. The locals were understandably upset & confused. Why their country? Why them? What did they do to deserve such horrible cruelty?

The damage from the terrorist attack has sadly lowered the levels of tourism over last couple of months, which is devastating for their hard working economy. People have lost their jobs, hotels have shut down & families have been hurt. Please do yourselves a favour & visit the beautiful Sri Lanka. I promise you, you will have a BALL. You’ll feel very very safe (there are three security checks points throughout the airport, so trust me - it is crazily safe), you’ll see incredible things, meet beautiful people & come home with a fresh perspective.

In the meantime, be good to one & other and enjoy all of the little things life to offer. When you really think about it, it’s the little things we couldn’t live without - so cherish them. 

Love Elyse x