Wind blowing. Trees swaying. Cars buzzing. Around each bend laughter echoed through the mountains. At the last minute I decided to adventure off into the rural inland of Sri Lanka with two fun loving Irish ladies I met surfing, who enjoy the spontaneity in life as much as I do. Travel friends give new meaning to the phrase “kindred spirits;” exploring foreign places together without hindrance brings you close quickly. On my journey into the countryside of Ella, breathing in the mountain air and singing wildly with my new friends, I felt at home nearly halfway across the world. Admiring the lush green landscapes as we drove along the dusty narrow roads, we relished together the serenity of this island. From riding party waves in the ocean to walking barefoot through pastel colored temples in the jungle, life was sweet and we embraced each moment as it came. Sharing these memories in life is priceless.
After a weekend away, I was looking forward to seeing the waves again and arriving at the Amuura Beach House in Beruwala, just up the coast about an hour and a half from my last location. I connected with the owners, a German family of three women, through WorkAway and my purpose is to help them with marketing for their property and organic cinnamon that’s harvested just a few miles inland. In exchange, they feed me wonderful healthy meals and I am able to sleep in one of their serene beachfront rooms.
Walking up the neatly manicured lawn blanketed with bright green palm trees, I felt the ocean breeze in my hair and peaceful energy encompass my soul once again. Sri Lanka has a way of doing that each day. Life on the road gives you little trinkets of memories that will forever remind you of a moment in time. Each morning I am awoken to the peaceful sounds of chanting in the distance when the mosque opens for worship. At 5:00am communal prayer begins and its methodical sounds reach underneath my wooden doorway to lull me from my sleep. At about the same time, the ruler of the nest lets me also know it is time to rise and shine. There is a chicken coop here at the beach house with a very loud rooster who shouts the beauty of the day at a very early hour. I always kindly thank him for allowing me to catch the sunrise just in time each morning from our second floor veranda, where there are no windows and we let the natural wind touch our skin as we walk about.
The Amuura Beach House was proudly built around the concept of sustainable living, with everything locally sourced and constructed using minimal waste and honoring our environment. The roof and indoor furniture is made of coconut trees; clay walls and modern polished concrete floors absorb the blistering heat with no need for air conditioning; high ceilings welcome the cool breeze indoors; our bathroom is shared with open views peering into the ocean and lush tropical flowers scattered around the property; each bed is made from bamboo trees wrapped neatly in romantic white mosquito nests. There is no barrier between the inside and outside, so the ocean view can truly be captured and enjoyed. We live one with nature here in our eco-friendly environment, in a very sophisticated and polished sort of way. The tiny lizards that climb the walls at night have become welcomed guests.
In the mornings our breakfast is served on fine antique China outlined with elegant gold rims. This and our delicate cutlery came from tiny shops around Germany, bringing a sense of European culture here to the island. Our breakfast is served with homemade creamy coconut milk, which has now spoiled my morning coffee. We don’t waste any of the coconut here and after making the milk, use the flesh to create a spicy crumble married together with chilies and herbs, that is best topped on freshly baked bread with butter.
The décor is simple, clean and inviting. Cloud like hammocks are nestled between the shaded palms and a tiny wooden swing overlooks the crashing waves of our backyard. Just across the way we look out onto a tiny island with a lighthouse that welcomes us into the darkness each evening after sunset.
Besides a few European guests, we also house the most charming animals. “Nana” is our dog who enjoys laying in the shade and lapping up leftover rice dishes throughout the day. I particularly like her because she mimics the loving nature of the family dog, Nana, in Peter Pan and often I feel like I am visiting Never Never Land. There is also “Cat” who is a tiny and precious kitten that sits patiently at our feet as we eat, hoping to get a bite before she is later served in the kitchen. Between long naps on the shady stairs, she warms your heart with her tiny calico patches and sweet demeanor. The wiry chickens give the front lawn energetic company and provide the beach house with fresh eggs.
Although I am taking a break from surfing until the weekend, it has felt like a cleanse to be here and I have adopted a new appreciation for cinnamon, which we package at nights to be sold at local shops. These ladies are the only exporters of organic cinnamon in Sri Lanka that is sulphur free. Instead of harsh chemicals, they allow the cinnamon to dry for a full six days in the sun before being packaged. Their care and love for Mother Earth inspires me and it’s been a pleasure getting to know each friendly face I have met here. Every night we share stories over dimly lit oil lamps that have seen more days than I have known, while eating homemade vegetarian curries, fresh fish, rice and bright colored vegetables.
Something I thought about today is that someone in my exact situation could have a completely different outlook after experiencing the same journey I have thus far on my travels. I choose to see the best in life and others and I find by doing so that the heart of life is always good and the reward that follows is peace.
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