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JOURNEYS | ANNA EHRGOTT IN SRI LANKA

 An Island Dubbed “India’s Teardrop”
 Sri Lanka feels rich in just about everything – culture, spices, personality, color and commotion.  I’ve personally never felt more at home anywhere. The tropical island in the Indian Ocean took me in with a warm and muggy embrace. 
If I had a bucket list, this place would have been number 1 for the past 5 years. Even then, with the highest expectations I’ve ever taken on a trip, I wasn’t disappointed once. It was one of those trips where you don’t know where to begin talking about it, because everything was a highlight. I’ll start with the first day. The rains came… I hadn’t done my research and soon realized I booked my trip during monsoon season. Soon after the storm came in, I noticed tortoises washing up at my hotel room’s doorstep and the local sacred cows were seeking shelter under our awnings. The ocean was rough and I soaked my clothing as I walked around in awe of a sky that can hold that much water miles above us then at a moment’s notice let it all return to the earth to flood the land. The next morning, the weather ceased, the ocean unveiled some of her waves to us. And they were perfect. In every way.  I feel like a newlywed talking about my lover. Smiling just writing this about my new favorite place on the planet. I surfed my brains out in the warm, turquoise water. The reefs provided plenty of options, longboard waves, hollow waves, rights, lefts, big waves, little waves. Almost every day started with sun and a dip in the salt water and then ended with a downpour.
After I had my fill of perfect waves, I took a train to the mountains in the center of the country to do some hiking, fabric buying and.. well I mostly just wanted an excuse to take the train. The people I met at the coast and traveled with were epic, the locals were epic, the curry was epic, and hikes were epic and even the leeches weren’t enough to deter my uncontrollable stoke from running wild in the jungle. In my downtime between surfs, I read a bunch of books, ate a bunch of naan and ayurvedic soups and did a bunch of long division to try to navigate my finances into being able to afford spending a couple months a year here.. I left it at that. Shed a(n) (indian) tear(drop) or two and said goodbye to the family I stayed with and the waves that I had fallen for, and hit the reef for, and accepted all their tough-love ways. I can’t wait to return. 
Words and images by Anna Ehrgott