Katharina Pardon is a flight attendant in Germany. She travelled to Sri Lanka by herself on vacations.
ACPN: Why did you choose Sri Lanka to travel alone and why did you go alone?
KP: I have read articles online that it is a very safe country for backpackers to travel alone. So I researched on the internet, read a lot of blogs from backpackers who were already there. I was excited. Now it was clear for me. I want to go to Sri Lanka. Since I started working as a flight attendant, I often travel the world alone and I am therefore a very open-minded person who is happy to travel to a new country and experience a new adventure.
ACPN: How long did you plan to stay in Sri Lanka and why that period of time?
KP: I was planning to stay for about two weeks – I couldn’t stay much longer because I had to go back to work. I deliberately chose the end of January, because at that time the climate is warm and comfortable across the country and there is no rainy season.
ACPN: How did you calculate the money you needed? And how did you gather the money (you saved, you won the lottery…)?
KP: I didn’t calculate anything beforehand. I wanted to let everything come to me. However, I knew that the flights cost me around 350 euros and the lifestyle there is very cheap.
ACPN: Was that money enough? If not, how did you complement it? If yes, what did you do with the money you saved?
KP: I didn’t change much cash at the airport for security reasons. In between, I withdrew money from the ATM.
ACPN: What expenses were you counting on? Which were unexpected?
KP: The high entrance fees for the national park. However, I did not expect that you cannot pay with credit/Visa card anywhere.
ACPN: What risks did you predict? How did you plan to overcome them?
KP: I didn’t expect any risks beforehand.
ACPN: What were you travel plans? Did you plan staying the whole time in one hotel or travel around the country?
KP: Travel the country and decide every day which stop is next. Every day I was in a different guest house.
ACPN: Did you follow your travel plans or did you do some adjustments once you were there? If so, why?
KP: I had an approximate route, but in between I met people and my plan changed. For example, we did the national park together. The national park was not on my travel list.
ACPN: What were the main difficulties you found? How did you overcome them?
KP: Cash payment. I didn’t know that. I travel a lot to the USA, there you can even pay for small things with a card.
ACPN: What surprised you the most (good and/or bad)?
KP: I was very fascinated by the beautiful and green nature and the very friendly and helpful people.
ACPN: Comparing with your expectations, how do you evaluate the trip? What went right and what went wrong?
KP: I actually traveled to Sri Lanka without any great expectations. The short-term bookings for the hotels worked out really well.
ACPN: Do you plan to make such a trip again? To a different country and/or with different conditions?
KP: Yes, maybe I’ll plan another backpacking trip, for example Bali. I have never been there.
Check other interviews in the series.