Sri Lanka » Lifestyle Strategies, Travel, Adventures--Todd's Wanderings
Trusted Travel Questions and Answers

Trusted Travel Questions and Answers is my monthly chance to answer reader questions about travel and destinations. It can be hard to find trusted advice on travel from people who have actually been there. Every week I get a number of questions from readers asking for specific advice. This is my way of answering them but also sharing with others who might be looking for the same information. 8 Days in Sri Lanka Daniel (sorry but you didn’t actually leave your name!) is heading to Sri Lanka for 8 Days and asked the following: I am planning a trip for 8 Days in Sri Lanka. Going straight from the airport to Sigiriya, then Kandy the next day and after that driving to Kitulgala. From there I would like to go to a beach but I am trying to find the shortest most direct way to a beach and I am Read full article…

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How I Paid for 12 Years of Continuous Travel

Recently a number of people have written me to ask EXACTLY how I have been able to travel the world for the past 12 years. After reading a friend’s wonderful post explaining in detail how he has traveled for over 10 years as well at Wandering Earl (yes, people with Wandering names have to stick together) I decided to post my own account. For those of you who don’t know my background, I left the US in 1998 to visit Japan. Coming from a middle class family, it was my first time on an airplane and I was 21 years old! Over 40 countries (I’m sure I’ll forget to mention a few below) and various different jobs later I’m still on the road, now with my wife and my recently born son. WARNING: This is a long post.  For word nerds, it is exactly 2,382 words long. For time nerds, Read full article…

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A Night with a Sri Lankan Gangster

Some names and circumstances have been changed to protect my ass. Not too many things get your heart beating like downing a half a bottle of Black Label whiskey and being hugged by a killer… In the bathroom I called my friend who worked for the Sri Lankan government. It was 3 am and yet somehow he answered. “Where are you?” “Have you ever heard of (name to remain anonymous)?” “Of course I have. Where are you?” “I’m in his suite at the (fancy hotel to remain anonymous).” “What? Get the fuck out of there! I’m coming to get you.” Whiskey does strange things to people, and after downing a half a bottle the world seemed like a gentle, gummy bear filled place. A night out, or rather in, with a group of gangsters sounded like a great idea. I hung up on my friend with assurances I was OK Read full article…

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When to Bribe, How to Bribe, Do you Bribe?

If you travel long enough eventually you face the dilemma of how and when, or even if to bribe. But before we get into the nitty gritty of corruption I want to state right off the bat that corruption, the giving and taking of bribes, is an insidious practice that destroys the very fabric of the rule of law in countries and the trust between citizens and those elected to positions of authority. Now that I’ve sounded off on my public service announcement let’s have a discussion about the realities of travel in potentially unsafe areas, in countries where the rule of law is loosely followed, and situations where it is in your interest to hand over $20, not because it doesn’t do any harm (it does) but because that $20 could save your skin. Shake Down by Local Cops The year was 2008 and I was traveling through Indonesia Read full article…

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Experiencing Sri Lanka’s Providence- Part 4: Colombo's Eccentric Gangaramaya and Peaceful Seema Malaka Buddhist Temples

Called Serendib by Arab traders  (the origin of the word “serendipity”), Sri Lanka has an amazing diversity for a small island and offers the possibility of experiencing vastly different climates, history, and cultures during a short vacation. In this Four Part Series I will share a glimpse of four different areas of Sri Lanka that can, and should, be a part of any itinerary to the island of providence. Part 1 explores the East Coast city of Trincomalee and the Hindu  Koneswaram Temple and Part 2 brought us to the Ancient Buddha Rock Statues of Polonnaruwa. Part 3 visited the Hill Country and Hikes Through the Tea Trials. In this final article we stay closer to home, the city of Colombo. Sri Lanka’s largest city, and the starting point for travelers flying into this South Asian island nation, Colombo is often bypassed completely in favor of the southern beaches, majestic hill Read full article…

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Wild Side of Travel: animal photo tribute

Interesting characters are usually the center piece of my travels. They help make a place memorable either by their actions, personalities and generosity.  However, there is another group of actors that deserves attention, our fury and feathered friends in the animal world. They participate in festivals, live monastic lives in temples, sneak into our rooms at night, and play hide and seek while we tramp through their neighborhoods in 4-wheel drive vehicles. They have made many of my trips extraordinary and unforgettable. Here are a few faces and characters that have stayed with me long after my flight home touched down. Peacocks can’t fly well but they can at least get to the top of houses. In southern Sri Lanka this is a common sight…everyone likes a view after all. It can get really hot in Sri Lanka and everyone likes to cool down. Notice the chains around the neck. Read full article…

Spicy Dhal Curry, bring your South Asian adventures home to your friends

This post is by: Kay (my lovely wife and founder of K’s Kitchen!) I have to apologize for not posting a recipe in a while….It has been really hectic with work in the last few weeks and I just got back to Kosovo from a work trip in Skopje, Macedonia. But that was the great push for me to post the new recipe! After eating almost the same food and way too much meat for 4 days, I was missing spicy Asian food sooooo much. As soon as I got home, I started cooking Dhal, something spicy, easy, and vegetarian!! Oh, eating dhal while watching the World Cup really recuperated me from a hectic and stressful life….and now my husband (that’s Todd for those of you now paying attention) is coming back from the US in 2 days….Life is not bad after all This is a modified version of a Read full article…

Experiencing Sri Lanka’s Providence- Part 3: Hiking the Tea Trails

Called Serendib by Arab traders  (the origin of the word “serendipity”), Sri Lanka has an amazing diversity for a small island and offers the possibility of experiencing vastly different climates, history, and cultures during a short vacation. In this Four Part Series I will share a glimpse of four different areas of Sri Lanka that can, and should, be a part of any itinerary to the island of providence. Part 1 explores the East Coast city of Trincomalee and the Hindu  Koneswaram Temple and Part 2 brought us to the Ancient Buddha Rock Statues of Polonnaruwa. Sri Lanka’s hill country is a world unto itself. Dramatic mountains are smoothed out by waves of evenly spaced tea bushes that calm the senses and clear the mind. Amongst the tea plantations, like no where else in Sri Lanka, you can feel the blend of civilizations between England’s colonial past, the Tamil Hindu community Read full article…

Two Monks: Travel Photo Contest Friday 7

Update: The winner is Dave! The picture is from Galle, Sri Lanka along the old Portuguese fort walls. Dave has decided to highlight UMCOR, the United Methodist Committee on Relief. I worked with UMCOR in Sri Lanka and I can confirm that they do good work. Galle is a wonderful place to walk around and experience Sri Lanka’s colonial architecture. Interestingly enough the fort is mostly occupied by Muslims who have business ranging from antique dealers to gem and jewelry shops. Each year the city hosts a book fair  as well as the Galle Art Festival. **** Welcome to Travel Photo Contest Friday where each week I post a beautiful picture (at least I think so) from my travels and you guess where it is. The first person to guess where this picture was taken (Country and UNESCO Heritage site, yes that’s a hint) will win a link back to their blog with the anchor text of their Read full article…

Learn new Travel Secrets and Save the World

Think I’m exaggerating? Well, OK, maybe I am a bit. But you can at least help secure clean drinking water around the world while you walk away with 500 new travel secrets…all for free. I love it when travel and international development combine as they are the two motivating factors for this site and my wanderings. A few months back you may remember that I posted My 3 Best Kept Travel Secrets on Japan, East Timor and Sri Lanka. This was part of an online collaboration by 200 of the best travel bloggers and writers out there. Now, all of the secrets have been combined into a series of free e-books by Tripbase and they are using the opportunity to do some good in the world. Yes, my tips are in the books as well (in the Worldwide Travel and Worldwide Beaches books), but the important thing is that each time you download an eBook Tripbase Read full article…

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