Home » Interviews » Explore every nook and cranny of your world: Sinhalayas

Explore every nook and cranny of your world: Sinhalayas

Hello, we are the Sinhalayas, a collection of around ten people who hike, bus and take the train around this scenic country of ours for the fun of it. Most of the blog content is written, photographed and edited by Halik Azeez (abdulhalik.wordpress.com) and Gerald Pereira(thejester100.wordpress.com). Getting content for our blog, SinhalayaTravels.Wordpress.com, is quite simply a pleasure, since it is the chronicle of trips we take to get away from the hustle and bustle of living in Colombo.

All of us are in or around the early twenties and are from fields ranging from marketing to computers to journalism. The only common feature among us would be the fact that none of us balk at spending the night at a train station just so we can be on time to see the sunrise from atop some rock in the hill country.


Q: Welcome to Speakbindas. Tell us since when blogging has been a part of your life? Was there any motive or inspiration as a backbone of it?

Ans.: Nearly all of us have been blogging on individual blogs for a few years now. In fact, that’s how we met; over the internet through blogging. Fortunately, none of us turned out to be serial killers. One day back in August 2009, seven of us decided to go visit a monastery in Kandy. We saw the monastery, and then decided to go somewhere else and got directions from locals to a secluded little waterfall about a hundred meters up a rocky stream. It was after that trip that one of us, Zaki Ousmand, decided to blog about this, and other adventures so that others could enjoy it as well.

Q: What is your blog all about? Which topics do you cover? Is that you alone running/maintaining the blog, or have a team?

Ans.: Our blog is all about traveling in Sri Lanka. But rather than a plain vanilla review of locations, we provide information to people who want to just rough it. In addition to the standard description of a location’s qualities, we describe how to get there and back with minimal expenditure and at least a few temporary scars to remember the trip by.

In total, there have been around fifteen people who have come along with us on various journeys. The bulk of the content is written by Gerald and Halik, but occasionally we post details of trips by others as well, such as a post we have coming up about One Tree Hill in Nawalapitiya by Naveen Marasinghe.

Q.: How important is it for the blogger to interact with their readers? Do you respond to all the comments that you receive?

Ans.: On our personal blogs, we usually respond to each and every comment, even though it gets annoying sometimes, because reader interaction builds relationships with them, making them want to come back and visit the blog regularly. On the SinhalayaTravels blog, we usually only reply to questions posed in comments.

Q: What are the present statistics for your blog, i.e. number of daily visitors, visitors geographical status etc.?

Ans.: Ours is still very much an unknown blog out of the circle of our friends and a few local travel destination blogs. Hence we only get around 150-200 hits on days that we post something new. On other days, we’re lucky to get 50. Recently, we had a sudden surge of traffic from wordpress.com which caused the hits to go above 1000 in one day. We think it got featured there; hence the sudden surge and then the unfortunate sudden drop the next day. One day we were basking in hits and the next we were tweeting links(twitter.com/sinhalayatravels) to posts to get visitors.

Q: Is blogging for you just a passion or a medium for earning too? Does it help you to earn enough cash to quit a 9 to 5 day job?

Ans.: For us, it is merely a fun way to remember our trips by, and also to help others looking for a great time. As for monetary gain, we recently won an award from a tourism site which entitled us to a free holiday which we can’t use since there are a lot of us. Other than things like that, we do not earn anything from it. Right now we are looking into publishing posts in a magazine, which will mean a small income but it will be nowhere close to a regular job.

Q: Who are your favorite bloggers, whom you read frequently?

Ans.: Well there is quite a few, most of whom we met on kottu.org, a Sri Lankan blog aggregator. Other than each others’ blogs, there are many gems on that site well worth a read. When we’re not traipsing about the country or reading our blogs, we usually scroll through the posts on that list.

Q: From the secret bucket of your blogging experiences, what tips you would like to share with the fellow bloggers?

Ans.: Use twitter. It is quite useful especially if you have a lot of followers. Just tweet the link to your latest posts with some interesting text and people will visit. Another is well, content. Since we travel, we have plenty of content in the form of photographs and information about the place. When making a post, you have to have something engaging. Nobody wants to hear about how you totally rule at playing Guitar Hero, they want to hear about how to play Guitar Hero.

Q: Do you believe that blogging completes you? If yes, tell us how?

Ans.: Well not exactly. It’s just a fun thing to do. It lets us interact with people, get to know new people and have fun with people. It’s like any other social activity now. On the side, it also helps us improve our writing skills.

Q: What was the happiest and gloomiest moment of your life?

Ans.: Well as far as the Sinhalayas are concerned, the gloomiest was probably when we were stuck in the middle of nowhere after a hike, in the rain, with leeches everywhere and the night approaching fast. Miraculously, we got out of there and it was a great experience to look back on. Happiest moments keep popping up each time we go on a trip. Each location has something amazing to offer.

Q: Say, you are sponsored to travel to 3 world destinations, where you need not to worry about costs for food, hotel or anything. Which destinations would you pick up, and why? Would you like to take someone along with you? If yes, whom?

Ans.: The Amazon. Hopefully any natives we run into won’t try to eat fellow brown people. A Trek through Africa will be a must; the Sahara holds many an attraction for a wilderness explorer. The Antarctic because its hardcore.

Q: Are you into watching movies? If yes, which fills your list of favorite ones?

Ans.: V for Vendetta, A Beautiful Mind, City of God, Godfather, LOTR, Fight Club

Q: How has blogging helped you other than money?

Ans.: It has helped us meet new people, learn all kinds of things and constantly provides us with good reading material. We would never even have started this blog if we hadn’t been blogging before that. Only a few of us even knew each other before we met over the internet.

Q: What would be the one thing you’d change about yourself?

Ans.: We would prefer to be more prepared for future trips. But what the hell, its part of the fun.

Q: What will you do without internet?

Ans.: Well for one, our productivity as employees would increase since we don’t spend so much time on the internet. Other than that, our lives would be significantly more boring without the internet around to communicate.

Q: What is your deepest fear?

Ans.: This would vary depending on who you asked. Most of us would take a few minutes to make up our minds, then reply saying we needed more time to make up our minds.

Q: If you could meet one person, dead or alive, who would it be?

Ans.: No one. Meeting dead people can’t be too much fun. But a trek with Bear Grylls would give us a chance to see if he REALLY goes through so much trouble to survive on the ‘harshest locations known to man’

Q: Which is your favorite television show? Favorite songs?

Ans.: Most of us seem to like Man Vs. Wild on Discovery, with Bear doing everything a circus freak would on that show. As for music, tastes vary wildly since we come from all kinds of different backgrounds.

Q: How much money do you have in your purse/wallet right now (including change)?

Ans.: I have Rs. 1783 Sri Lankan in my wallet right now. What any of the others have, I haven’t the foggiest, since they’re probably at work.

Q: What is your favorite food? Any particular dislikes?

Ans.: We come across all kinds of different food when going from place to place. The most memorable is probably from a place called Hotel Thameemy in Batticaloa. When we sat down, our table was eventually filled up with all kinds of dishes to choose from. Paratas(Barotas), Rotis, fish, chicken, beef and kinds of vegetables. That meal still visits us in our dreams.

Q: What’s your take on the technological advancement these days? Does it make people’s life simple or complicated?

Ans.: It depends on how you use technology. It can complicate of simplify depending on what you’re doing with it. Take for example blogging and tweeting. These tools greatly help people to keep in touch, and stay updated on each others’ lives. On the other hand, a high end cellphone with a lot of features can confuse a novice user quite easily and cause them to think all technology is quite baffling.

Q: What do you think of “blogging is the next BIG thing”?

Ans.: Blogging, to us, is merely a social tool. It’s not a BIG thing, just a thing. Like TV, youtube or cereal boxes. Useful, and fun. It brings us all together and is very enjoyable, but blogging as a big thing would have happened a long time ago.

Q: Any special message you would like to share with your blog readers as well with everyone else?

Ans.: Travel! Explore every nook and cranny of your world. Walk to the end of your lane and see what lurks there, climb a mountain, explore a ruined building! You can only do it for so long, and it’s tremendously rewarding.


Devang Vibhakar is the Founder and Editor of www.SpeakBindas.com. He has interviewed more than 350 people. His effort was recognized by Limca Book of Records, twice. He has been to Scotland as well as Germany as part of vocational & cultural exchange programs and has compiled five books so far. He's passionate about bringing forth interesting stories & interviews of entrepreneurs to avid readers of SpeakBindas. He can be reached here.

One thought on “Explore every nook and cranny of your world: Sinhalayas

  1. Previous comments:

    Devang Vibhakar January 23, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    Wow! you guys met online and now traveling across Sri Lanka. You all have Indeed proved the best use of internet 🙂

    Reading your answers itself felt like a trip. Thank you for participating. Keep traveling.

    realskullzero January 24, 2010 at 8:59 am

    Dude this is awesome…great stuff!
    realskullzero´s last blog ..Circus on Video My ComLuv Profile

    Jerry January 24, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    And thank you for having us 🙂

    We’re glad you enjoyed it!
    Jerry´s last blog ..The Brief, Yet Definitive Guide to Jaffna My ComLuv Profile

    The Unsilent January 26, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    Woah super stuff!! 😀

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