Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Sri Lanka here I come.

Last summer, knowing I was about to retire, I started to look into the possibilities for solo travel. I was born feet first and they have been itchy ever since. My Mum swears she was given the wrong baby in the nursing home. This is in spite of the fact that a lot of her ancestors were seafarers, on oceangoing schooners.

Much to my daughters amusement I came across Saga travel and they run a volunteer programme. My daughters were amused because Saga is for the over 50's, couple that with my retirement and in their eyes I am now officially old. Ha, little do they know. I have my mother's genes and I am very much alive and kicking.

The Saga Volunteer programme appealed because it combines a holiday with 4 weeks placement, in my case, in a school. Maybe the girls are right and I am getting old, the idea of mud huts or very basic facilities does not appeal to me any more. Perhaps it is just the stage that I am at, having worked hard, this is my retirement present to myself. A five star hotel for a month has a lot to be said for it.

I narrowed my choices to Nepal or Sri Lanka. In the end Sri Lanka won out. The school in Moragalla is small with just over 200 pupils, the school in Kathmandu has 1600. I chose the familiar. The first part of the process was to write my life story. This, I was told, was to help the school decide how best to use my skills, should I be successful. I wasn't sure how to get my life story into one short document. Ruthless cutting was required. I find it so hard to shorten a story, I have no problem lengthening it. Eventually, with ruthless editing, I was done. I also had to send a character reference and a criminal check report.  Luckily they were positive so I sent all my documents off in August and sat back to wait. 

Sri Lanka, off the east coast of India
The good news came towards the end of October. They wanted me and there was also two other ladies going too. The trip was going . I was to arrange my own flights as I wanted to travel from Bodrum.  During the waiting period I had been doing some reading about Sri Lanka and of course I also dipped into Nepal. If I was over that way, I might as well go to Nepal for a holiday too.

I looked at the flights and they were not expensive. But I couldn't find direct ones. They went through Delhi or Mumbai. Meeting some of my other cilgin kiz friends for brunch at The Lemon Tree in Bitez, I told them that I was thinking of going to Nepal flying through Delhi. Maria immediately recommended a stop in Delhi, having been herself she reckoned I would love it.

I was a bit nervous about travelling on my own, but with the brother Gabriel's encouragement the tickets were bought and now one month in Sri Lanka has become two months with stops in Sri Lanka, Kerala, Delhi, Agra and then on to Kathmandu. Maria and Gabriel you have a lot to answer for, encouraging me.


Nothing like being ambitious with my "first solo trip" I don't count coming to Turkey. I didn't come here the first time on my own, and now I come so often it is routine.

Am I excited or scared? Both!! 55 and like a teenager off on a gap year, I am heading off on a major trip and my working daughters are envious of my free time. There are definite advantages in being older!


  1. Hppe your mother isn't reading this will be all my fault if something goes wrong

    1. I think she knows me well enough to know I needed very little encouragement!

  2. I'm so excited for you Mary! I know you will do well, the school will benefit so much from your input and the whole experience of travel will enrich you even more. Have you given any thought to writing a book?
    I eagerly await your next post and photographs.

    1. Noreen I hope I will help the school in some small way. It is hard to achieve much in such a short period of time. As for writing a book, that is not going to happen, just editing these posts sometimes defeats me :-)


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