The question that stumps me most when asked, is what my favourite holiday has been. It’s like someone asking to choose between eating a stack load of pancakes and not gaining a single gram or being surrounded by a hundred, cuddly puppies for an entire day. I mean, surely, I’m not alone here, it’s hard. Every trip I take is different to the next, varying in extremity and dependant on whether I go at it solo, with friends or tag along for a family holiday.
I have sailed through and got caught in a storm in the Mediterranean, rode a bicycle solo across 3 countries and have been lucky enough to rescue baby turtles at midnight with a local Omani. I feel blessed to have all of these extraordinary memories, scattered across the globe, making me believe that every city and town I pass through will always have this little piece of Soph.
But it wasn’t until I packed my bags, jumped on the plane and stepped off in Sri Lanka that I realised the extent of these sacred, shared memories that I have accumulated over the past 5 years.
The 4 weeks in Sri Lanka were spent traversing the country with my family, climbing up mountain after mountain to watch the sunrise and consuming enough coconut roti’s to last me a life time. The combination of being able to go on this adventure with my family and visiting a country that I had zero expectations of, made everything feel so much more special. But I believe that it was this one moment, that just tipped me over and made me the happiest girl on the planet, even if it was just for 5 minutes.
One week into our travels saw us staying in the local village near Udawalawe National Park- the place to be to see Asian Elephants in their true habitat. After a day of bumping around in the back of a Jeep, spotting around 50 elephants, dozens of crocodiles and birds of all shapes and sizes, we headed back to the room for a nap.
It was one of those afternoons where you hit the snooze button way too many times that you become so ignorant to what the time actually is. Little did we know, that we had actually snoozed for about 4 hours and were now running ridiculously late to make the sunset overlooking the park.
We gave a local tuk-tuk driver a call and sooner than we knew it, he was waiting outside, ready to rumble. Let me tell you now, tuk-tuks in Sri Lanka are definitely not 4-people friendly, with my seat being well, between my mum and sisters feet. But nonetheless, when the excitement kicks in, it’s actually a whole lot of fun. Our instructions to the driver, were to take us to the best and most secluded sunset spot in Udawalawe. After driving for 15 minutes we pulled over to find around 15 other people standing by the parks fence at the ‘so called best sunset spot’ gazing at a nearby elephant.
He gave us a look and somehow knew that we were slightly deterred by the group of people. And this is when things started looking up. Dad moved to the front and I upgraded to the back seat. I didn’t realise why until we began cruising down the road with my Dad behind the steering wheel…of a tuk-tuk.
We would have been going at least 80km, with the wind howling and blowing my hair into one big knot. Time was definitely our enemy, but I began to care less, as we were having so much fun just cruising along. The driver instructed dad to pull over on the side of the road, so we could hop out and walk the rest of the way. We walked back, head first into the wind, waiting for the so-called best sunset spot to appear. And there it was.
It wasn’t a grand lookout point with a nice shaded, comfortable spot to sit down and take it all in. Nor would you usually drive past here and be like, yes, this is it. But everything aligned seamlessly, and, in that moment, it was perfect.
We all sat down on a rocky embankment, which most would just consider the side of the road and probably quite dangerous but you can tell that safety wasn’t really in the forefront of our minds, right?
In front of us stood a fully grown female elephant eating from the closest shrub to the fence. Behind her, the landscape was baron and a purple haze painted the skies.
We had just 5 minutes until the sun drifted behind the mountains and the light soon turned dark. But it was in those short 5 minutes, that has given me this euphoric feeling that I still experience today. For just 5 minutes, my life felt like it had completely froze. My cares slipped away and not a single thought that came into my mind, could ever of made a dint on that. Life just felt so simple in the most delicate way.
To this day, I still look back and relive that moment, whether that be when I am flicking through the 100GB of photos that I have from that trip or when I am feeling like life is too complex. It was in this moment, that reminded me of why I travel and how blessed I am to have all these 5-minute moments scattered across the world. I never knew that those 5 simple minutes, could have had such a long term effect on me. Any boy, does that me happy.
Now I’m going to be that person and ask you that almost impossible question. What is your favourite memory or favourite holiday? I’d love to know. Or, even better, if you are a blogger, follow in my suit and enter this unbelievable competition that Yellow Zebra Safari’s is running. The winner gets an all-inclusive luxury safari tour through Tanzania for themselves and a friend. Go check out their page here to see what they are all about or follow this link to enter.
Maybe it’s time to make some more 5-minute moments involving elephants…this time, in Tanzania.
All the love in the world,