As an independent career woman, it’s hard to believe that despite reaching my mid thirties, I had never actually travelled alone in my life.
There had always been partners or friends or family so booking Flash Pack’s Sri Lanka adventure was the first time that this wasn’t an option. But let’s just say, after taking on a new and stressful job earlier this year, I needed a break more than ever!
After spending some amazing days in Dubai (it seemed rude not to seeing as my flight stopped here!), I took a taxi to the airport feeling relaxed and ready to start my Sri Lanka adventure!
Since a Facebook group had been created in the lead up to the trip, I knew some fellow Flashpackers would be on my flight so I kept an eye out and managed to meet up with them beforehand. When we arrived we were greeted by our tour guide, Riz, who presented us with orchid garlands – this is my kind of welcome!
We were then whisked off to our first hotel, the seriously stylish Jetwing Lagoon. Think beautiful rooms, an enormous pool and lush views across the water…bliss. Here I met my roomie for the trip which, after completed a rooming questionnaire prior to the trip, was amazingly effective as everyone commented throughout the trip how good the pairing had been!
Over the following days we visited temples, historic sites and even more beautiful hotels. We climbed 1200 steps to the top of Sigiriya, cycled around Polonnaruwa and explored a tea factory high up in the hilltops (fantastic for all us tea lovers!) We experienced Sri Lankan hospitality, partied with Arrack (a pretty lethal local drink) and had the most amazing feast at a local farmer’s house.
It turns out Little Adams Peak isn’t quite so little but standing above the clouds to watch the sun set was breathtaking…and climbing down in the dark was certainly interesting!
Releasing baby turtles on our final evening together was my personal highlight. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity that was made even better by the most spectacular sunset any of us had seen all holiday… and the pièce de résistance was a beautiful beach BBQ afterwards!
Travelling from place to place in our minibus was where we did some of our best bonding as a group. We had so many laughs and didn’t stop talking for most of the time! Our tour guide and his team were fantastic, I’m not sure how they put up with us all, but they did!!
Now I’ve returned to reality having stepped well and truly outside of my comfort zone, I couldn’t be more grateful for the experience. I have returned with twelve amazing new friends and carrying memories which will stay with me for a lifetime.
Most importantly I have gained a new found inner confidence from knowing that I can do anything! Travelling alone and joining a group tour has been the most liberating experience of my life and I now cannot wait to book my next adventure!
Alison Quinn is a thirty something career woman with a passion for photography, good food and far flung adventure! Find her on instagram @aliem83