A personal learning journey and reflection
Normally, I'd be all egoistic in rambling on about how I reached the summit of Adam's Peak in 2.5 hours and only stopping once or twice for short water breaks. Or, how I survived the cold temperature and icy, windy chills at the summit without anything virtually to keep me warm. However, those two topics would probably be shared in another post in the nearest future.
What I'm about to share is an experience that I've honestly never experienced anywhere so far in most of the countries that I have travelled.
28th April 2016
During a short 4-day business trip in Colombo, Sri Lanka, I decided to allocate one day for travelling out of the city. Lo and behold I decided to climb Adam's Peak, a mountain located southwest of Hatton. As it was a last minute decision, I was unable to get a train ticket from Colombo to Hatton and decided to take an almost 9 hour bus ride. So this journey by road was going to be 4 hours longer than the rail option.
When the bus was leaving the depot, I was greeted with smiles and friendly gestures left right and centre, which took me aback. I thought it would be good to just mingle around. So mingle around a packed bus I did. I got to know people literally from all walks of life in the country and I could sense they were very genuine in their friendliness towards me.
We stopped for a short break a couple of kilometres away from Hatton, where I was to transfer to another bus that would take me to the town of Nallathanniya, located at the foot of Adam's Peak. The group of guys that I was speaking with invited me to join them for a meal. It was already 8pm at the time and I was famished (my last meal was literally 12 hours ago) so I decided to follow them. The food they got was something that was similar to what the people back home would call "roti prata telur", which was basically flattened dough doused soaked with a bit of oil and cooked with an egg.
The meal was quick as the driver had a schedule to stick to, and so did the rest of us passengers. That wasn't the point. The point was that the locals were so inviting and giving that they bought the refreshments. They paid for my share as well. That was something I could well afford to even pay for everyone else on that ride but they were so gracious that I just obliged. I have never felt so humbled in my years of existence on this planet.
This experience of the bus ride itself taught me two things. One, to look deeper into someone else's perspectives especially if he/she is like the odd one out amongst the rest of the population (I was literally the only foreigner on that ride out of Colombo). Where I come from, 90% of public transport commuters are so fixated on their goddamn mobile devices that they are completely ignorant of their surroundings. I felt like an outsider at first but the locals made me feel so welcome during the ride.
Two, to be more humble and gracious towards others. That particular experience at the rest stop really made me reflect a lot on the remaining journey towards the mountains. Hell, I'm even reflecting on it as I'm typing this. It makes me wonder how many of us take so many things for granted in life. We're always expecting to receive more than what we give.