Under the stars of Sri Lanka

It’s almost midnight and here I am on another train heading towards the South Central part of Sri Lanka. The window in my cabin is open and the cool air blows in, and I sit staring at the stars glistening above. I realize this is the closes I’ll come to sleeping under the stars.

My friend Sue and I had talked about taking this particular trip for over a year. We finally booked the train tickets a month ahead, not knowing what to expect on a night train ride.

We were shown to our bunk beds and we both just stood there laughing, thinking that this was going to be one long train ride.

It’s about 3 hours into our ride, I have the lower bunk, which gives me a vantage of seeing the stars and  city lights in the distance. From time to time I stick my head out to catch a glimpse of the starry night and feel the cool breeze on my face.

Trying to sleep in a moving train is almost impossible. We finally reach our destination 10 hours later. We stretch our achy and tired limbs and head to find our hotel. After a few hours of sleep, we head out to our first stop, which is called 9-arch bridge or also called sky bridge. Construction of the bridge was completed in 1921 and is spectacular when you watch the trains going over it. The bridge is a huge tourist attraction not only because of the hike to get there, but also because it was built with only stone, sticks and cement and no steel.


I realized that this was going to be a long weekend, when my friend started to complain about everything. If we had to walk a few kilometers she complained, if the sun was shining brightly, she complained, It really did not matter what it was, she found a reason to complain.

However, after a few hours I learnt to tune her out and do the best to make my visit an adventure. I was unaware of all the hiking involved, but yet I was up for the challenge. Sue on the other hand decided to sit at the bottom while I went on all the hikes.

Despite her best effort to dampen my trip, I managed to capture the images I wanted and do the things I had planned.

The train ride back home was another long 10 hours. Since this was during the day, I managed to enjoy the views of the lush green tea estates, the waterfalls and the mountains in the distance. The random conversations with others passengers also visiting Sri Lanka, made the train ride go by faster.

Here are some of my favorite pictures I captured.


Train on 9-arch bridge







View from the train


Tea pluckers after a hard day of work


Tea pluckers getting the tea leaves weighed


Tea plucker



Tea plucker

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Not all friends are made for adventures

I’m sitting here sipping on coffee, watching the sleepy town of Ella come alive.

This city has become a huge tourist destination, due to all the mountains and waterfalls surrounding it. I therefore decided to take a train ride here. In order to make it more of an adventure, I invited a friend along.

However, the adventure I was hoping for is not meant to be, specially when she is a complainer about everything.

While I enjoy my alone time, here are a few pictures from this area.

9 arch bridge

Enjoying the view

The view from top of the Little Adams Peak Rock

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Taking a train South bound – Pt 2

My next train ride was to a city called Galle, which is now a UNESCO heritage city. This city was founded by the Portuguese in the 16th century and still standing are the lighthouse the Fort and stone sea walls.

I had visited this city briefly a few years ago, but this time around, I grabbed my camera and walked around to capture some images.

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Taking a train southbound

“I gonna buy me a ticket now, as far as I can
Ain’t a-never comin’ back
Ride me a Southbound
All the way to Georgia now
Till the train run out of track”

The Marshall Tucker Band

The lyrics to this song snuck into my head while I was riding the train southbound in Sri Lanka with my head out of the window.  The train  sped past the ocean and coconut trees swaying to the wind and I saw the beauty of this country I still call home, for the first time in a different perspective.

Despite having lived most of my life in Sri Lanka, I don’t recall ever taking a train or had the desire to visit the different places. However, on this visit, I have taken a lot of train rides in order to avoid the traffic which seems to be getting bad to worse. Even though the train rides have been due to the traffic, I have started to enjoy the rides and every time I step into a train, I feel like I am leaving for a world anew.

Here are some pictures from my trip to the most Southern tip of Sri Lanka.





The lighthouse right at the most Southern tip



If you look closely, you will see the man climbing the coconut tree




Seeing people cross the tracks is a common sight


The final destination

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Taking flight through 2017

There is nothing like being stuck in planes and airports for 24 hours + forcing me to catch up on some writing. As much as I love travel, I hate the part of sitting in airports or planes for hours on end, feeling claustrophobic and helpless.

It is that time of the year, where I head home to Sri Lanka to see my family and friends.

I sit here sipping on over priced coffee, watching everyone around me on their electronic devices trying not to make eye contact with the person next to them, just in case conversation ensues. I am not in a position to point fingers, when I am doing exactly the same thing.  I stop for a moment and look around me, trying to see if there is anyone that looks vaguely interesting and just maybe I could strike up a conversation to kill time. However, all I see is couples engrossed in themselves, parents trying to keep their kids entertained or others who look like they are traveling for work on their devices or phones. I sigh and get back to my writing.

There is a part of me that is excited to be going back and seeing everyone and then there is another part of me that dreads the thought of being back and dealing with the chaos that somehow seems to rear its ugly head.

But instead of worrying about what may happen, I want to instead reminisce of the year that was.

2017 was one heck of a year for me!  It involved a lot of traveling and adventures and sometimes misadventures, but I wont forget all the exciting places I got to visit. Wyoming, Denver, Charleston-South Carolina, Savannah-Georgia and Asheville North Carolina and the trips overseas, Germany, Norway, London, Switzerland, Sweden, Sri Lanka and Malaysia.

Despite all that, the highlight of the year was running 6 half-marathons and the Marine Corps Marathon. The anticipation building up to that moment, standing there at the start line and then crossing that finish line is something I will not forget. It seems like it was only a few days ago that I felt the adrenaline of it all.  I hope that in 2018 I will be able to experience it all over again.

The challenging part for 2017 was trying to make my dream of being self-employed a reality. It was a true test of myself and my capabilities. I am yet unsure if I am made of steel and if can or want to continue down that road or if I am going to take the easy road and throw in the towel and find myself a 9-5 job. As much as I enjoyed not just the challenge but the freedom to be creative in the kitchen, it is no easy feat to chase a dream.

They announce boarding for my flight, I grab my computer and head off to find my seat and get ready for a 14 hour-long flight to my next destination.

I sit by the window watching the city getting smaller and smaller. I am lost in the clouds and along with it lost in a cloud of thoughts.

Running, baking seem pretty uncomplicated in comparison to my personal life. Trying to sustain romantic relationships seems to be the hardest part for me. Despite having recovered from all the heartbreak, I find it hard to put too much effort into maintaining relationships. I seem to struggle to balance it all.  Not having too much time over the weekends make it harder. I can’t stay out late on a Friday night because I have to wake up early to be at the farmers market, I can’t stay up late on a Saturday night, because I have to go for my long run on Sunday. Those seem to be lines that kill any hopes of romantic relationships. Not many people understand my need for the baking or the running and that it is my salvation.

As the plane descends and I watch the lights on the runway grow brighter, I tell myself that 2018 will be a better year for me. I will continue to run and bake and maybe chase my dream or throw in the towel and just maybe it is the year I learn to sustain a romantic relationship. But mostly I hope that I have the courage and the strength to face whatever challenges that are thrown my way.

I wish everyone the best for 2018 and hope that you have the courage, strength and wisdom to take on everything that comes your way.

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As I get one year older its all about candles and bucket lists

As I approach another birthday, I am more than ever keenly aware of all the changes in me. Parts of my body seems to be embracing gravity and I seem to be fighting stiff achy joins with fatigue and a few grey hairs along with few more wrinkles. I was wondering how I am going to make it to half a century, which will be here soon if this is how I am feeling now?

Of course as I get older I can say that I have more life experience under my belt in a hindsight kind of way and pass it on my younger relatives or friends who will choose to ignore it anyway.

In the last few weeks as my birthday was looming in front of me, I have been trying to look back and see what changes I have made and maybe what changes I need to make to my life. As much as I have tried to ignore the aging factor, it seems every time I look in the mirror I notice a few more grey hairs making its appearance. It seems my hair follicles are telling me to accept the inevitable. I never thought there would come a day I would see so much white hair, which is more obvious because of my black hair. I guess I could always patronize myself with the thought that this grey hair equals being distinguished or more experienced.

Looking back I realize that I had assumed that by the time I get to this of stage of life I would have a career that I loved, a chunk of change in my bank account, house owner and basically living the good life. But instead here I am trying to be self-employed, chasing the crazy dream that I have always had.

Sometimes I questions myself, if this a much delayed mid-life crisis or is this my life?

As I sit here trying to recall the bucket list items I had a few years ago, all I can remember from the list is  running a marathon.   I can look back and be happy that I can tick that off my list now along with the 25 plus half marathons I have run. It seems forgetfulness should be added to the aging factor.

Maybe I am one of those late bloomers, who starts everything later in life. While most of my friends were getting married and having kids, I was chasing a different dream of wanting to be a journalist/writer (which I did) and traveling the world. I have no regrets of not sticking to the norm and doing those things, but at the same time I guess I wish I had made different choices.

Maybe now is the time to sit down and make another bucket list, even though I am not ready to kick the bucket.

Procrastinate less is gonna be the number one item on my list. For some reason as I get older, I am turning out to be more of a procrastinator than I ever was. I was one of those people who always thrived under pressure, but I seem to be taking that to a whole other level. I should add write/blog more to my list, but words just seem to be fail me lately.

I could focus on the negative aspects of my life, the wrinkles, the grey hairs and aches and pains and make lists, but instead, I will blow out the candles on that cake and be thankful for the experience I have had so far and for all that I have achieved. After all the past is gone and the best is yet to come.


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2 steps forward and 5 steps back

I have sat staring at my computer for days trying to write.  But days or even weeks seem to go by and words just fail me.

Between being in an accident where my car was totaled and training and running a marathon and a few half-marathons, one would assume that I would have a lot of stories to share, yet I still seem to be at a loss for words.

The last few weeks have been challenging! Trying to buy a car and come to grips with everything that was happening and constantly trying to fight that feeling that every time I take 2 steps forward that somehow I end up taking 5 steps back is overwhelming.

I get it,  I maybe being a tad dramatic at this moment, but it is all perspective and trying to find the right perspective sometimes is hard, even though I walked away physically unscathed from it. However, even a month later, I still seem to have a hard time sometimes when I am driving, I see a car swerving towards me and I have that moment flash in front of me of being hit.

The hardest part for me was going to the junkyard and seeing my car all torn apart that I barely identified it. I never thought of myself as someone who was attached to a car, after all it was and is a mode of transportation, but at that moment, the tears came flooding and it was hard to control.

I realized that I had this sentimental attachment to this particular car, because someone I care and love had helped me pick the car.  We had a lot of road trips in this and despite the fact that he moved away, this was the one thing that I had that constantly reminded me of him.  Staring at it all torn apart at that moment, made it feel like the final nail was hit in that coffin.

But fortunately for me, I had a marathon looming ahead and that gave me something to focus on. All that miles and energy and dedication towards it kept me sane and saw me through some difficult days.

Race day was finally here and I was nervous.  So many questions going through my head, will I be able to finish it in time, beat all the deadlines they gave and most importantly will I cross that finish line standing up?

I stand there among the thousands and because of all the uncertainty  in my head, I felt like a fraud and that I did not belong there. But the race starts and I keep going mile after mile.  I was thankful that my brain nor my body was giving up on me. Of course there were times I was questioning my sanity for doing this and telling myself this would be the last marathon I would ever run. But between my music and my random thoughts about everything, I made it across that finish line.

Now that the race is run, the finished line crossed and a car purchased life seems to be back on track.

Even though I know it is the norm  for curveballs to be thrown in your direction and that is life, sometimes it is hard to deal with. Like most people I too, bury my head in the sand for a while, but I typically always pick myself up and continue on to the next challenge.

At the end all these curveballs and challenges is what has made me stronger and wiser (some people might not agree with the wise part) or at least I tell myself.


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Sometimes saying no is ok

My friends or at least most of my friends always tell me I am very nice. Then again there are those who probably think I am not nice….those people better take a number and stand in line.

I have time to think about random things when I am out for a 10 or 15 mile run, I need something to focus on besides breathing, trying not to trip on the sidewalk or the music that’s playing. So I typically pick a subject and try to analyze the heck out of it while running.

I always wondered what makes me nice?  Is it that no matter what I am always there for them ? Or maybe it is that I try most often to do the right thing and be considerate about people.  But I realize all of this seems to stem from my inability to say no.

Therefore, Would they still think I am nice if I were to say no from time to time?

There is no doubt that being called nice and thoughtful is great, but sometimes I honestly don’t want to be nice. I want to be selfish and self-centered and do things that just make me happy and not worry about anyone else’s feelings.

I tend to be one of those people who will be at a stop light and give money to the homeless person standing there with a sign or fall for the most gullible story, even though I know that they are probably lying. Plus I am the one when a restaurant gets my order wrong, will point out that it is  wrong but still refuse for it to be remade and walk off unhappy that I didn’t get what I want. That maybe due to the fact that I worked in the food industry and just don’t want the other person to feel bad that they made it wrong.

However, I decided that the time has come to take control and learn that saying no is ok.  I want what I ordered and paid for…see thats easy right? At least typing it was easy, I will have to take it out to the real world and see how I do.

Even with friends, I need to learn that sometimes I have to say no….No I cannot watch your dog, no I cannot give you a ride at midnight because you drank too much, no I cannot lend you a 100$ and no I cannot let your kids/grandkids help me in the kitchen when I am baking for an order.

But it turns out saying no comes with a price. A friend recently asked me to come over and do my baking on a Friday while watching their 4 dogs and 3 cats, because they wanted to go away for the day. As hard as it was, I had to say no! Lugging all my baking pans, sugar, flour, nuts, eggs and baking in an unfamiliar kitchen was not something I was willing to do. I spend most of my Friday baking to get ready for the market on Saturday.

However, after I explained myself as to why I cannot do it, she has chosen to no longer talk to me. Now our friendship has been destroyed,  merely by the use of that 2 letter word.

I question myself about it.  Could I have been more accommodating? I really don’t know the right answer to that. I mentioned my dilemma to one of my best friends and he supports my saying no, but then again he is one who constantly tells me that I have to say no, because he claims that people take advantage of my niceness.

While I want to continue to be nice and do the right thing and help friends or strangers, I am going to continue to say no from time to time and  try not to feel guilty about it. I can only hope that the rest of my friends don’t get offended by that.

And that food I ordered that was wrong, I did go back and get it corrected.

I understand that saying no is very tough for most of us and the struggle is real, but I believe that we can still be nice and decent to one another and yet exercise our right to say no from time to time.

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Trying to be perfect is my shortcoming

It has been a while since I sat at my favorite coffee shop to write and people watch. But it has been a while since I even had any down time for anything that was not working or running.

While running my last half marathon a few weeks ago I was trying to go back in time to how things have changed in my life. One year ago I quit my dead-end job, even though there are moments that are challenging and I just want to give up and get into a another dead end job, I have no regrets of quitting it. It was one of those jobs that was mind numbingly boring, only positive aspect was my coworkers who made it tolerable and  the paycheck.

Of course now I have to work twice as hard for the paycheck, but I find it more satisfying. I may at some point throw in the towel and decide to be a slave to a 9-5 job, but for now I enjoy pushing myself and testing my limits and seeing how far I can go.

The most exciting part for me is that I can obsess about things being perfect and experiment and do things the way I want and know that it is appreciated. Trying to buy best quality ingredients and offer a decent product may not be business savvy, but I want to be proud of what I offer.

I have mentioned before that my friends constantly tell me that I am obsessive about things being perfect. While that might not be my strong suit, then again it maybe my strong suit, because it forces me to push myself even more.

When I read the reviews written about the items I sell,  I realized that my wanting it to be perfect was so worth it.

Most often no matter what I set out to do, I want to give it my all, even with my running, considering I have never been an athlete or consider myself athletic, I challenge myself. Running a marathon has become a huge undertaking on my part, the time that goes into the training has been unbelievable. However, even though I know I will not be one of the first crossing that finish line, I know my determination will get me to the end.

However, I have to confess that sometimes I dislike that part of me and wish I could change. Trying to get everything right is not a good thing. There are times I just wish I could say ‘oh it is not up to my standards, but it is ok’.

Learning to say it is ok is a constant struggle, because most often when someone says that to me, I roll my eyes and walk away, mumbling under my breath that it is not ok.

I understand that there are times it is ok and that there are times it is not ok, but learning the difference and when to say it is my battle. In my opinion it is a fine line between the two and I am taking baby steps in that direction and towards learning to step back and enjoy my hard work and appreciate the compliments I get.

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Things end, but memories last forever

Four year ago today, I ran my first ever half marathon. I remember standing at the start line feeling anxious, questioning my ability to do it but yet telling myself I could do this. I turn and see him standing right there next to me and I felt reasured that I would be able to do this with him beside me. After all I had paid to be here and trained really hard for this moment and having the person I loved by my side, everything seemed possible. I put my music on and keep going, afterall my goal was being able to cross that finish line and I did it and I had never felt so proud of myself. Of course half way through it, I was ready to give up, hang up my running shoes and find a sport that required less energy and maybe more sitting around.

However, fast forward through the 4 years, I have run numerous half-marathons, a marathon and now getting ready for another marathon and a few more half marathons this year. I no longer question my sanity nor my ability to do it or have the desire to quit. Running has become this huge part of my life. If I am planning a vacation, running gear is always included and time to run is always in the schedule.

It seems without a doubt I get a little sentimental and emotional around this time of the year. I run this same race every year, because it has so many memories attached to it. The struggles, the accomplishments and how running saved me. Maybe that statement sounds dramatic, but when I first started running, it was as a way to cope with a broken heart.

My broken heart was healed only to be broken again.  Despite that, this race reminds me of my ex. We may have gone our separate ways and not spoken to each other in years, but how could I forget the person who was there with me and ran this race and supported me and encouraged me the entire time. Without a doubt when I stand there again at the start line, my thoughts will go back to that first race.

It has taken a lot of sweat and tears to get to the point where, four years later I can run this race and think of the positive influence he had in my life, because I have realized that feeling  bitter and resentful is a waste of energy.

Sometimes life takes us in different directions, but I believe that every person comes into our life for a reason and sometimes as the saying goes for a season.

Times does heal broken hearts and life goes on, some memories start to fade, while some remain strong and I am glad that despite all the challenges I have faced, that I have learnt that it is better to hold on to the good and let go of the bad memories.


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