‘Protect visiting destinations; it makes this island a paradise’
- The Wandering Souls on their experience with travel
Thilini Anupama and Mahidi Maduwage, both 23 and pursuing their studies in the fields of psychology and software engineering respectively, hail from Ambalangoda. The couple share everything together, including their undying love for travel. We caught up with the two of them, better known as @__wandering_souls_ on Instagram, to find out more about their love for travel and their blog.
How did you discover your passion for travel?
Even as individuals, we were really passionate about travelling during our school days too.
However, we actually discovered our passion for travel after we started travelling together.
During our first few journeys together we realised that travelling is something that really soothes our minds. It helped us in many ways. Since we started travelling, we have met a lot of people with various kinds of personalities. So some total strangers became our friends during these wonderful journeys. We feel that travelling really brought out both our strengths and weaknesses as we had to face numerous obstacles as we travel.
Likewise, we became passionate about travelling and continued to travel.
What inspired you to start a travel blog and how has the journey been so far?
At first, we never thought of starting a blog. We just wanted to keep our IG profile as a collection of memories. Then after some time, both of us became interested in starting a travel blog because we believed that it would inspire our followers to be passionate about travelling and they would also fall in love with visiting new places, meeting new people, and creating memories.
The journey so far is filled with both ups and downs since, as bloggers, we need to deal with both the good and bad sides of being on social media platforms. Overall, the journey was wonderful because we were able to visit so many places and made countless memories that we would cherish for the rest of our lives. Moreover, we got to work with fellow bloggers who were really amazing individuals.
What is your most memorable travel experience?
It’s really hard to name one. But if we were to name one we would say it’ll be our visit to Kithulgala because it was the first journey that we went on together. We had a breathtaking experience doing all the adventurous jumps and water rafting. We are eagerly waiting to go there again to feel that incredible experience once more.
Have you been anywhere which turned out to be totally different to how you imagined? If so, how?
There are two places which turned out to be totally different to how we imagined they would be.
One of them was Ellawala: A hidden waterfall situated near the Ella-Wellawaya Road (it used to be a hidden place but not anymore). When we were planning to go there we didn’t expect it to be so far from the main road and we thought we would be able to have a peaceful leisure time there.
But when we went there, we had to walk for a longer period and the place was packed with people. So crowded. However, it was the most stunning waterfall we have ever visited. A real wonder of nature we would say. It has got a natural pool in which people can play around and have a bath. So we waited until the place became less crowded because we wanted to enjoy this magnificent beauty and have a relaxed time there.
It was an unforgettable journey.
What has been your most successful blog post to date and what was it about?
The most successful blog post to date is a post regarding Ella, Sri Lanka. We uploaded a picture that we took in the Ella Railway Station during our second trip to visit the Nine Arches Bridge.
The post reached around 12,000 accounts and turned out to be a big shot.
What are the biggest challenges you faced when you started out your travel blog? Anything that you would have done differently today?
As bloggers we all face many challenges when we start blogging. One of the biggest challenges is creating your own base of followers. It’s not an easy task to create an audience who would support, enjoy, and appreciate your content. We didn’t know much about blogging back then. Therefore, it took somewhat longer to reach a broader audience. Yeah, things would have been different and easier if we had more extensive knowledge on this field.
What are your travel plans for the rest of the year and are there any bucket list destinations you will be ticking off?
There are so many places on our bucket list; the places we couldn’t visit due to the ongoing pandemic situation.
For the moment, the first place we are planning to visit is Jaffna along with our university friends and try beach camping in Baththalangunduwa. Other than that, there are so many places like Aberdeen Falls, Pidurangala, Knuckles, and many more places filling our wish list waiting for us to be there. I really hope we will be able to tick off all of them!
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring travellers?
This is more like a request, because as we already know a lot of people have been destroying beautiful places of visit. People forgot to leave only their footprints in those places. Due to that reason, a considerable amount of places became restricted for visitors. We are just asking people to protect all those heavenly places because they are what makes this small island a real paradise.