Travel talks: In conversation with Luxsan Tharmarajah on post-pandemic travel

Luxsan Tharmarajah, more commonly known as @lifeofluxsan on Instagram, is an undergraduate of psychology. Currently, he works for a US company, from home, and also runs his own small business – @doyousellplantsbruh – that sells mostly cacti. He lives in Colombo and is always looking for places to explore within Colombo. Running his Insta page is a hobby of his, through which he promotes food, travel, and clothes; he said creating travel-related content is his favourite.

We at Brunch caught up with him for a chat on post-pandemic travel.


What are you excited to do after the pandemic?


People are already planning their next holiday after just a week of the vaccine distribution. Many people just want to get on a train or a bus without having any particular destination in mind. It’s too early to say, but the tourism industry might see a big increase in demand as people look for a way to get away from it all. Some citizens have already made plans for vacations, offering them plenty to anticipate. I am planning to visit my grandparents in Jaffna and use this opportunity to explore the beauty of the North in a different light than the rundown version we see in the news.


How has the pandemic affected your travel so far?


As part of the reopening and recovery process, destinations, attractions, hotels, airlines, and other businesses would need to show prospective tourists that they are doing everything possible to reduce risk when travelling, and once in the destination, by adopting best practices. You do not get the freedom to explore; however, this is the perfect time to cash in on the hotels and villas, as the prices have dropped due to the shutdown of tourism. I would say that it is a win-win situation for us overall.


How did you discover your passion for travel?


I was always restricted as a child to travel on my own from school to tuition and whatnot. The thought of exploring new places and my craving for new experiences grew day by day. I discovered my passion for travel at the young age of 15, when I was blessed enough to do a world tour of eight countries across the globe and live my teenage life in New Zealand – this satisfied my craving for travelling, but the more I grew up, the more I discovered my true passion for travel.


Why do you enjoy travelling?


It is all about experience and memories. You will meet new people, learn about different cultures and lifestyles, and participate in new events that are not popular in your city life while you travel. You’ll be open to new ways of thinking and living because everything about your life is new and this will provide you with a new sense of purpose in life.


What is your most memorable travel experience?


I would say Jaffna; I saw it in a different light. There were so many architecture sites and clean beaches. The most memorable trip was taking a boat to Delft Island, a totally unplanned trip. I learnt so much history from that one trip. I received so many positive messages through Instagram and people have actually visited the places that I posted about – It made me really excited to know that I had shown my hometown as one of the places to visit in Sri Lanka.


What do you think post-Covid travel will look like?


In small towns that were still suffering economically during the pandemic, travellers can make a difference. We need to focus on the least-travelled places at this time rather than crowd destinations that attract a fair amount of travellers. Basically, social distancing ourselves miles apart. I believe this will help decrease the spread of the virus and overall, everyone can benefit.


Would you think twice before travelling after the pandemic? If so, how would it differ from pre-Covid travels ?


A few things you should avoid is travelling in groups where it’s more difficult to maintain social distancing.  If you are staying in a hotel that is fully occupied, refrain from using common places like the lobby, gym, and maybe the pool. These small adjustments will be hard to process but eventually we will get used to our environment.


Would you prefer a hotel or a villa after Covid because of safety issues?


It depends. You need to consider the amount of time you spend in that room, the size and ventilation of the space, and the number of people who share that space. It’s more critical that the property has a strong track record and adheres to industry standards and follows safety measures. In terms of food, the best choice is to cook your own food or order takeout. However, eating in a restaurant is still an option.


What are your plans for 2021?


I am already looking at some places that are less visited and exploring them. I love doing solo trips, as it helps me connect with people. As an introvert, I am more interested to meet new people and explore the island and not stick to an itinerary.  I believe that’s how you make memories, but I will also be safe.