Bitten by the travel bug | Sunday Observer

Bitten by the travel bug

1 November, 2020

The concept of taking a break from your monotonous work life to go travelling on adventures is, for most of us, little more than a fantasy. We are too lazy, busy or otherwise incapable of embarking on. However, what most of us do not realise is that by not taking that risk, making that leap, we are missing out on not just a whole new side to the nation that we live in, but a hidden part of ourselves waiting to be discovered.

Life And Travel of Us (@lifeandtravelofus) is a travel blog run by Suki and Sarath a couple that has taken that risk, made that leap out of their comfort zone. In an interview with the Youth Observer, they revealed the reasons behind why they travel and what they hope to accomplish with their blog.

Q : How would you introduce your travel blog to the uninitiated? What would you say is the purpose behind it?

A: We both knew very well that we will never be satisfied staying back home, working at a normal job. Both of us wanted a break from the normal 8-5 office life and stepped out from our comfort zones. So, we decided and started travelling all around Sri Lanka since August 2016. After the time we spent travelling, busting out of our comfort zone and reinventing ourselves, we knew the hum drum office life might not be our thing.

Q : And who would really say “ NO” to travelling?

Q : What kind of content does your blog offer? Does it do anything beyond the scope of travel blogging?

A: We do engage and share our experien ces with other travelers on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. On each and every platform we do a separate kind of blogging. On Facebook we post a lot of our travel albums with travel tips. On Instagram we post our retouched high quality photos. And on YouTube we post our travel cinematics and Vlog videos after post-production.

Q : What inspired you to start this? Was there someone or some specific people that you modelled your vlogs/blog after?

A: People often ask us, what inspires you to travel? Where do you get your travel inspiration from? There are a lot of resources which inspire us, like travel videos, documentaries and stories form friends or fellow travellers. The hopes of experiencing new cultures, local festivals, foods and nature also provide great motivation. However, most importantly, we are just intrinsically motivated to travel. We just love to explore the world and learn more about other cultures. People often say;

“Once you’ve been bitten by the travel bug, you stay infected for the rest of your life.”

Q : How strong is the travel blog community in Sri Lanka? What has your experience been like within it?

A: In early 2016, there wasn’t a strong community among the travel blog in Sri Lanka. But after that it has grown slowly and now it’s got a very strong blog community. But when compared to Europe and other nations we are still far behind to that travel blog community. In Sri Lanka ,still there isn’t any proper recognition or visibility about what is a travel blog / vlog. When it comes to digital marketing, influencers or travel bloggers play major roles in other countries.

For example, the Gopro community use their own community bloggers to market their new products in the world. DJI, Sony, Canon and Nikon are also doing the same. Not only cameras,but there is also a lot more.

Q : How have you interacted with the travel blog community? Have you collabbed? Is there any real benefit in that?

A: We are planning to collaborate with a travel blog community in the future. Till now we have not yet collabbed with any community. There are plenty of benefits, especially, knowledge sharing among the community leads to high standard blogs. Different kind s of perspectives and views can be got. Doing something with the community is better than doing alone.

Q : Which demographic would you say benefits more from your content? What has the feedback been like, both local and foreign?

A: We both have not yet stepped in to the foreign arena , but some benefits for the locals would be...

• When travelling we have to face a ton of challenges, experiences and obstacles which will help develop a bond that is much stronger than the bond built through watching movies or shopping.

• Unforgettable moments and experience always will be shared between us. Like sunrise in Hawagala or a sunset in Ella that feels more magical when you have a someone special to share those special moments with you.

• Travelling with someone is far more economical than travelling solo.

• Unpleasant things can happening while travelling, Fortunately, I have someone with me to lighten up and ease the situation.

• We won’t get bored when travelling. Especially on the long train or bus rides.

• We both can discover our positive and negative traits.

• Travelling as a couple eases our burden of travel planning and decision making. It helps us to making the right decision.

• Travel helps to build our relationship more intimately.

• Travelling is stress relieving; it’s let us to disconnect from our daily life style.

• While travelling around Sri Lanka, we both had plenty of times to try amazing new food varieties.

Q : How do you normally plan an excursion? Is it spontaneous, or is there a lot of meticulous thinking going on?

A: Most of the time it’s pre-planned excursions. We need to monitor the weather conditions and after that we need a sketch a plan for the places with time frames to get the maximum out of it. But sometimes pre-planned excursion can be extended to an un imagined level of experience.

In February we headed to Dambulla. Our only plan was to travel and blog around Dambulla and Sigiriya. But when we finished Dambulla we moved forward to Anuradhapura and explored some more places till dawn. And at midnight we went back to home. That was a great experience.

Q : Are there any specific roles or responsibilities you two play for the blog individually?

A: We don’t work on the blog as individuals. When it comes to blogging or vlogging we both share our responsibilities equally.

My partner, my wife, she will do the research on the locations and the special features in it and make a list out of it. The technical par,t the post production will be done by me.

Q : During the worst of the pandemic, were your vlogs completely on hold? How does a travel brand cope in times when it is discouraged to go outside?

A: Considering the current situation, yes, our vlogs were completely on hold. But we still continued on our Instagram and Facebook platforms to share some of the past experience with the audience. And as knowledge sharing we update them by some editing tips.

Q : Now that there has been something of a second wave going around, how do you plan to proceed with your vlogs? Do you think things will be harder moving forward? Or is there some advantage to be had?

A: Yes, it is much harder to move forward due to the pandemic. We are planning to do some indoor vlogs on Light room post production techniques with fellow travellers. This will help hem to give high quality outputs on their digital platforms.

The only advantage after the pandemic situation is that economy wise the travel spots price rates will drop drastically. For I example, hotels and accommodation. But we should also put safety first.

Q : Considering that you’ve been putting out content since the worst of it, how different is travelling now compared to earlier times ?

A: As I already mentioned, compared to the early stages when we were told to stop roaming here and there and do something useful. After two years they started to follow us and now they join with us with our travel experience.

Travel means something different to every person in the world. People may have similar reasons for travelling, but they are always just a little different than the next traveller. To us, travel is like a dream, it is a door that opens from the real world into a world that is yet to be discovered with freedom.

“First they smile at us, and then they follow us”

Q : What kind of advice do you have for fellow travel enthusiasts and for anyone hoping to start their own travel blog?

A: Always try to give something unique through your output. Everyone has their own talents; you should dig to find yours.

Enjoy every moment, and collect memories than collecting things while travelling.

Pre-plan your trip and pack your backpack well with less weight when travelling, so you can enjoy travel much more.

When travelling give the first t priority to safety.

Finally, don’t harm mother-nature. Avoid throwing plastic/polythene when travelling. Don’t burn or bury the plastic/polytene when camping.

“Love nature and try to find God in nature, in animals, in birds and the environment, it will never fail you.”