Oh Na Na Sri Lanka!

I usually stick to my craft and only blog about nutrition, but since I had such an incredible experience on my first trip with Navy Land, I wanted to share a little bit of that part of my life with you as well.

Picture this: you show up at the airport to go on a 4 day international trip and you know no one (this is me!). 20 + people whom you’ve never met but are all in matching shirts. Even though these people have never seen you, they greet you as if you are a long lost friend. This is Navy DXB. This is Navy Land.

In true Navy fashion, we turned a red-eye flight into a party and some of us are now on the "No Fly" list with the airline...JUST KIDDING of course, but that's how much fun we had!

Day 1 started with an amazing buffet breakfast and all of us loading onto a bus for what we thought was a 4 hour trip (with a stop at a church and temple) across Sri Lanka to our next destination.

Turned out that Sri Lanka was a bit bigger than we thought, so it ended up a 10 hour bus party (full of music, dancing, and laughter) with an extra stop at a fish drying "factory". We learned about the history of the church, hiked up through the lush jungle to the Cave Temple, and experienced the smell of drying fish (insert sick emoji...ha!).

We finally arrived at the hotel that would be our home for the rest of the trip to find that the whole resort was ours for the next 3 days! The rooms were incredible with spacious beds, high ceilings, homey touches, and a view of nothing but dense, green plants. Just perfect.

Day 2 was full of jungle hiking, trekking to the top of Pidurangala Rock to see the Sigiriya Fortress in the distance, and a lake and village tour. Singing, laughing, telling stories, and getting to know each other better.

There is something about nature that brings people together. As we laid on the rock with a new friend's hand in ours in a moment of meditation, our souls were calmed...just for those 2 minutes though...then it was back to Navy energy!

Naturally, the other people at the top of Pidurangala Rock saw how much fun we were having and literally ran from all angles to join our group picture. One man thought we were so fun he decided to moon the camera (check out the bottom left picture...can you spot the bum? Didn't think this blog would turn into a scavenger hunt, did you? ha!). This is Navy DXB. This is Navy Land.

Even after all of this, the day wasn't over! Next was something that had been a dream of mine for so long: a safari to see wild elephants! We loaded up 4 to a truck, and off we went. The rain only held off for about 30 minutes, but it didn’t stop us. 2 hours of steady rain, laughing until I cried, gripping the truck for dear life, spotting elephants, and maybe a little delirium left me freezing cold, sore, and barely able to think straight but with a full heart and a check off of my bucket list.

Day 3 took us back into the jungle for another hike and then on to Pink Quartz Mountain. We met a group of local parents and children and connected with them. Dancing, laughing, and taking pictures together, the children were so happy to practice their English with us.

Day 4 we hiked Sigirya Fortress from where we could see Pidurangala Rock which we climbed on the second day. It was incredible to walk the same path that others had walked thousands of years before. The view from the top and being able to walk around the fortress was absolutely worth climbing the 1,200 stairs to the top.

This trip was one of a life time! Everything was organized seamlessly, no big issues, new experiences, delicious food, and new relationships. What started as 20+ strangers just looking to have a good experience turned into lifelong friends and memories to cherish forever.

This is what NavyDXB is all about. That's what you get when you travel with Navy Land.

If you have ever thought about taking a Navy Land trip…just go…you will thank yourself for the rest of your life.

Your friend the dietitian...and world traveler,

Taylor Hansen, MS, RD

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