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Hello again from Colombo, Sri Lanka!
It’s been a full week in the country and hang on (slaps mosquito on legs and fails to kill the little monster), the start of the monsoon rain season is off to a roaring start and I’ve been caught in the rain on more than a handful of times already. One of the biggest purchases I need to make soon is an umbrella because the rain jacket I brought along with me isn’t going to cut it.
The biggest thing of note this past week was the unexpected downfall of my reliable iron stomach due to some bug that is apparently going around. It sucked really bad because I hardly ever get sick. I can count in one hand the number of times I’ve gotten sick in the past 2 years. It is not due to my peak perfection as human being but rather due to being exposed to so many pathogens that my body has embraced them as family. That is my theory anyway! All I know is getting sick, even for a day, sucked for me and I’m glad I was back to full strength the very next day.
Let the updates begin!
How’s Sri Lanka treating you?
Aside from the nasty stomach bug, being in the country has been good so far. I’ve spent most of the past week working on job hunting and a few other projects so I’m not out enjoying the surroundings as a tourist but it still feels pretty good to be here.
Weather is the most unexciting thing to talk about but I do have to mention it. It has been a lot more intense than I thought it was going to be. I haven’t been in a place with such high humidity (>70%) in a long time. Even after a week, I’m still getting used to the constant sweat showers just by crossing the street and then trying to navigate the ferociousness of the rains at any given moment. Shorts and quick dry clothing are an absolute essential in this country!
Biggest accomplishment this past week?
It’s been one of those weeks where I don’t feel very accomplished at all. A whole week has gone by since my last update and I’m typing this wondering where all the time has gone because I have very little to show for it.
Sigh, it’s been on of those weeks.
If there is a small bright spot from this past week, it is finding some really cool full time work opportunities that I’m excited to find out more about and eventually apply for. I even applied for a job at PickMe, a ride hailing app that is Uber’s biggest competitor in the city.
Another bright spot is doing some paid creative work for a friend and making them happy with the end result. The feeling of completing a project while I’m sitting on a pile of never-ending incomplete personal projects was a nice change of pace.
What are you struggling with?
Here are a few things I’m struggling with at the moment:
Affordable housing in Colombo is really hard to come by: I got very lucky with the AirBnB I’m currently staying in where I am paying less around $9/night ($270/month) for 5 weeks. Unfortunately, I have to leave after that because of the lack of availability. I spent so much time this past week hunting down leads on AirBnB without much luck. Decent private rooms are running in the $600+/month range. A lot of the AirBnB listings are also unavailable during the dates the I need because of some unexpected influx of visitors into the city.
Another thing I didn’t realize is air-conditioning is often an added extra to AirBnB listings. It is very rare to find a listing that has air-conditioning as part of the price. There are even some listings that charge extra based on the electricity meter reading. Despite my room being outfitted with one, I chose to not pay for it and save $7 USD/night.
The mosquitoes are vicious: the rainy season brings all the little monsters out to play and they are not messing around. I’ve been bitten so many times that my body is in constant swings of itchiness intensity levels all day. I’m also covered the scent of Citronella oil that it has become my go to eau de toilette. My panicked mother even demanded I find a new place of stay because of the threat of contracting Malaria.
Lack of physical activity: my well intentioned plan was to try and get as much physical activity done outside (running, body exercises) and avoid having to join a gym in order to save money. That hasn’t quite worked out because it is not really safe to run on the streets since sidewalks are non-existent and kamikaze cars are all over the place. That, along with the unpredictable weather makes working outside inconsistent.
I’ve decided to join a gym and even that isn’t cheap. The nicer ones run about 10,000 LKR/month (~$66 USD) and while that is really steep, I’m going to make a real effort to go at least 3 times a week to make it worth my money. On the bright side, it keeps me off my computer for a few hours which will be healthy.
What are you working on this coming week?
The biggest things I’m focusing on this week is finalizing a place to live for 2 months after my current AirBnB rental period and continuing to explore all the opportunities I found for full time work. As much as I want to work on my personal projects, the fact that I haven’t been able to get to them at all this past week is telling about my current priorities.
My main goal of coming here to Sri Lanka is to find a way to stay permanently so I need to put as much focus into that as possible.
Any productivity tips?
Since it was one of those weeks where I am absolutely flabbergasted at where all my time went, I’ve decided to start time tracking what I do while I’m on my computer. Partly inspired by this post on reddit of a guy who tracked his life for an entire year, I want to do the same just to be able to keep myself accountable.
I am using a free service called Toggl to do this. They even have a handy desktop app that you can use to start and stop a timer with all the time entries rolling up nicely in a summary report that gives me a good idea of where I’m spending my time.
As a date junkie at heart, I’m also going to start tracking other aspects of my life, such as exercise and TV to give me an idea of how much time I spend on those activities over the course of the year.
Last but not least, congratulations to the Cleveland Cavaliers for being the 2016-7 Eastern Conference Champions of the NBA. Take down the Golden State Warriors and repeat as NBA Champions. Go CAVS!
See you again next week!
About The Author
Nico Atienza is a third culture kid who took a year off from his life to make his dream of circumnavigating the globe come true. Apart from his love of travel, he is making videos for his Youtube Channel, an award winning volunteer who knows how to travel for free using miles & points, and is also probably trying to figure out how to tell his next story.