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Whoa, it has been a while since I was so blown away from a trip! That’s how I feel after taking the Large Minority Lanka Challenge though -Blown Away!

I was ramped up to go on this trip for so many reasons. For starters, Sri Lanka was going to be my first new country (besides a quick layover in Shanghai) of 2017. It was also gonna be my first time back on the road since the GiveBack GiveAway trip to Cambodia in December. So I was thrilled when Johnny (Onestep4ward) asked me and Jordan (The Life Of Jord) to join him on the adventure. What better way to catch up then driving 1000km in a 3 wheeled scooter over 10 days?!

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The Lanka Challenge

Okay, let me quickly explain what this trip was. The Lanka Challenge is team-based competitive group travel experiences. Large Minority run four of these challenges around the world. The Lanka Challenge (Sri Lanka) the Cambo Challenge (Cambodia) the Amazon Challenge (Colombia) and the Philippines Sailing Challenge (Philippines). All of these different tours are based around getting from point A to point B, and the traveler (you and your team) must complete a set challenges in between. Think of their Adventure Challenges as a down-to-earth and much more real version of The Amazing Race.   And you don’t get to dress up like this on the Amazing Race. costumes

team shot
The Country

Sri Lanka is a gem. It’s a country full of beautiful people, scenery, food, animals, culture and landmarks. Although I knew I would enjoy this country, I never expected to love it as much as I did. The people we met were some of the most welcoming and inviting people I’ve ever come across. The landscapes are stunning. The coast line has beaches with surf, palm trees, and great diving.

It’s also one of the only places you can see blue whales year round. The interior has mountains with instaworthy views, waterfalls, and tea fields with some of the greenest landscapes you’ll ever see. There are national parks full of exotic animals like elephants, leopards and sloth bears. It really has everything and I could go on and on but I’ll save it for another post. Point is – it’s a great place to visit.

sigarya

sunset
The Route

The country isn’t very big. The island is just a little bit smaller than Ireland. So it’s really the perfect size to drive something that doesn’t go much faster than 60km an hour. Tuk Tuks are very common in Sri Lanka and one of the primary ways for people to get around cities, towns, and countryside. They’re not exactly used to drive half-way around the country but they do pack the guts to do it.

Large Minority offers two trips in Sri Lanka, A Northern Route, and a Southern Route. We were on the Northern Route, which is exciting that tourism is moving to the north since it wasn’t even aloud all that long ago because of the war.  Just outside the capital city of Colombo, the trip starts in Negombo and moves north along the coast. Just outside the capital city of Colombo, the trip starts in Negombo and moves north along the coast. Before setting off all teams had a quick training day using the tuk tuks around the hotel grounds. So if you have never driven a moto like this or like any other this day will help you.

The route continues to the most northern city, Jaffna, then heads down the eastern coast to Nilaveli. On to Sigiriya then Kandy and finally ending back in Negambo. There are so many incredible places in this route I can’t really summarize it. It’s just full of sights and adventure. Which brings me to the next aspect of the tour.

The Challenges

Envision this – you and your friends want to travel and do something fun. You don’t feel like going to Vegas or Ibiza to just sit around a pool and drink, you want to do something more exciting. Something you can look back on and remember was a serious thrill and maybe even brag a little to the people back home.

That is what this trip was created for! You and your mates make up teams of 2 or 3 people in a tuk tuk. In total there will be about 12 – 20 teams, meaning 30- 60 people. Each team has their own ride to get around. Which is fun, but it doesn’t have that extra edge. That’s where the challenges come in. Every day after eating a full western breakfast buffet at a 4+ star hotel, all the teams will be given a set of instructions on the day’s challenges. I can’t give too much away here but imagine challenges that force you to interact with the friendly locals, have some friendly competition with the other teams, get out of your comfort zone by immersing yourself in the culture and having an absolute riot while doing it.

The days are long and full on but each day when you arrive at your swanky hotel, catch up with the other teams, get a cold drink and you’ll have to think hard to remember just how many amazing things you’ve done that day. Here’s a sample of one of the days from Jordan’s Vlogs.

Perks, Saftey, and Support

I had no idea beforehand what the level of comfort would be on this trip. I had assumed that this trip would be pretty budget and it would basically just be us out there to fend for ourselves, have a cot to sleep on and be eating streetside curries every day. I was completely wrong. First off, like I mentioned before, you stay in 4+ star hotels throughout the trip, except for one camping night. A full buffet with unlimited options is provided for breakfast and dinner every single day. This turned out to be somewhat of a problem for my waistline but I was completely loving it at the time. Once you return to your hotel each night, a team of mechanics asks you to write down any problems you may have with your tuk tuk. They then do a full point inspection making sure you’re ready to ride the next day. You’re equipped with a phone each day so that if sh*t does hit the fan, you can call and the crew will be there right away to get you driving again. We broke down in the middle of a deserted national park and the crew was there in 5 minutes and we were driving again in 10. Unreal. Lastly but certainly not least, safety is Large Minority’s top priority for each team and team member. They had not one, but two ambulances following us each day in case of any injuries. It’s extremely rare that they need them, they weren’t used by anyone on our tour, but it’s a peace of mind knowing they are close by. It was amazing and was only there if you wanted and needed their help. It didn’t take anything away from how real the travel was because you only used these aids if you wanted them.    

Responsible travel

So, not only is this the adventure experience of a lifetime it also has a deeper meaning behind the travel. Something I’m a huge fan of since running our own GiveBack tours. Large Minority takes 10% of all ticket sales and puts that money directly into causes in the country where your challenge is. That means there is guaranteed money each trip that benefits local initiatives. I haven’t seen too many other tour companies pledging quite so much to make a difference. They diversify their donations into a number of different programs ranging from education to environment and health. You can take a look at their partners here.   Responsible travel

Summary

These trips are really f@cking cool and you need to book one TODAY!      

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