Features

The Sailor shares his sojourns

By Rovina Vandersay

Today, we delve into the adventures of Instagram traveller, The Sailor. With 33k followers, Ishan Malith who goes by his Insta name “The Sailor” because he is actually a marine engineer, has made travelling and Instagramming his real, full-time career.

His colourful, beautifully captured travels to picturesque, ethereal places in Sri Lanka have really caught the eyes of many people. Ishan works with multiple brands, is the Brand Ambassador for Huawei in Sri Lanka, and is also a part of the Collaborator Network.

We spoke to him to learn more about his travel story.

What got you into travelling and sharing your travels on Instagram?

In 2015, I started travelling deep into forests and trying out more adventurous forms of travel. I came across this site, a travel blog called Lakdasun.org and I was inspired by the hardcore travellers of different generations featured there and by how they kept finding new places to visit.

It was around this time that I came across another blog by Jackson Grooves, from Australia, and that’s when I realised that this was something I really wanted to do too.

At the time, I had only 60 followers, but I’ve come a long way. Now, I travel full-time and share my adventures with you guys!

What is your personal style of travelling?

Right now, I get a lot of requests to review resorts and destinations, but my passion lies in camping, hiking, and waterfall hunting. I also usually travel alone or with a maximum of three to four friends, and if the location permits me, I take my Rottweiler, Caesar along as well, especially if I can reach the location by vehicle.

What is the best trip and worst trip you’ve ever gone on?

I have so many experiences of amazing trips, but my favourite would have to be a 50 km hike we took to the Knuckles Mountain Range in Matale. We camped for four nights, deep inside the forest and saw 10-plus waterfalls. The weather was perfect and we travelled in a group of four, consisting three of my female friends (for whom it was their first-ever hike), and I.

The worst experience I had was a camping experience I had once at Diyaluma Falls. It was perfect weather in the morning, but at around 2 p.m. it started to pour, and we had forgotten our rain covers for the tents. This was three years back when it wasn’t such a popular destination. I was travelling with a few friends, most of them were girls, and I was leading the expedition so I felt personally responsible for forgetting the covers. I walked back alone to the nearest town and it was scary because there were rumours of elephants passing and you could easily get lost.

Must dos in Sri Lanka?

I’m not a fan of locations that are too touristy and crowded because I feel the main purpose of travelling is lost and you can’t really experience nature or the feel of the destination.

So for beaches, I recommend Hiriketiya Beach, which is not yet as popular, and for waterfalls, Laxapana, Aberdeen, and Dumbara Falls are my favourite, because you can’t really go there by vehicle, and instead you have to complete a long hike to reach them.

Any advice for other young travellers like you?

Do your homework and read a lot before you travel. Also, if you are travelling inside SL, try not to take huge groups of people with you, and be careful not to cause disturbances to wildlife or pollute the area.

It’s all about sustainable travelling, so that we don’t destroy sensitive areas in nature, and preserve the spirit of these destinations for generations to come.

IG: @_thesailor