We all know that inspiration can spring out of nowhere, and so often it's when you least expect it. For us, it came as a pleasant surprise on a leisurely 14km stroll though Lipton’s tea plantation in central Sri Lanka.
Mark and I were making our way up to Lipton’s Seat near Hapatule, a viewpoint from where Mr Thomas Lipton used to sit and admire his lusciously green tea fields below. The walk up to the seat is a very scenic one; the path winds up and around hilly fields where thousands of tea plants grow, all pruned and neatly in rows ready to be picked by experienced hands. Every so often we see a local in traditional dress bent over picking leaves with a basket on their back, smiling as we walk past. Not the kind of place you'd expect to see the words of Gandhi painted into the brickwork.
We make our way up the narrow road and spot a sign pinned to the cobbled brick wall. It’s a quote. It says, “If all beasts were gone, men would die from a great loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beasts also happens to the man. All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth.” Wow! This is pretty dizzying stuff, and gets our minds racing about life as we amble on.
Half a kilometre later there’s another one. This time it reads…. “Those who wish to pet and baby wild animals ‘love’ them. But those who respect their natures and wish to let them live normal lives, love them more.” That’s so true. We were only talking the previous day about keeping birds as pets. However small they are it really does pain me to see them stuck in cages.
Every sign we pass we stop to take in, feeding the mind with food for thought. 7km later, we reach the top. Not quite the view we had in mind due to rolling clouds of mist, but the walk has been extremely pleasant and provoked much thought so it made for an enjoyable experience. We went on a whole trail of conversation, from the environment to childhood memories, all spurred on by these messages, the flow of walking, and that we have plenty of time on our hands.
Lipton's seat was more than just a view at the top of a mountain for us, but the catalyst for a lot of thought. Whilst trekking the route we discussed not only these messages but also where we see Studio Mali going in the future. Although that's not set in stone just yet, and there's still some more work to be done, we do know this: that we want to inspire others to be creative and to find balance in their lifestyle. We are finding our feet right now as we still have another 2 months left travelling, but whilst on the road we are working on this new focus. Expect to see from us more creative posts, inspiration, travel advice to help make that break away, and discussions on lifestyle.