#Find Your Adventure Interview with Ayesh Waran
By Shabna Cader
Some say you travel to remember, and some say you travel to forget. Ayesh Waran is an adventure travel enthusiast and travel executive at Jetwing Travels, who has a passion for sharing his interest in diversifying the travel industry through like-minded folks.
As someone who believes in travel being a different experience for each individual, Ayesh is also persistent on the thought that there is plenty to gain from getting outdoors and being with nature. “Travel shouldn't only be about luxurious vacations; there’s nothing wrong with a little indulgence, but I think as humans, it is also important to go out of our comfort zones and experience thrilling and exciting endeavours via travel,” he shared.
His first hiking experience was when he was in 6th Grade and went to Adam’s Peak during the high season. He described it as being quite crowded (for obvious reasons) and although a tedious and lengthy trek along the way with plenty of stops for warm tea, watching the glorious sunrise and taking in the views made it all the more worth the while. “I had on a basic pair of slippers too for this which is not typically ideal but then there are those who climb all the way on barefoot and purely by faith!”
I met Ayesh when he organised one of the first hiking tours just after the first lockdown in 2020. He studied mountaineering and outdoor survival skills in India and is therefore a well-experienced and certified guide. The #bucketlistexpedition to Ella was a big hit amongst local travellers looking to get out of not just their homes at the time, but also as a way of varying the ideology of travel itself. Going to Haputale for example by car and by train can be two very different experiences; Ayesh views hikes and adventurous travel in the same light.
“There are many lesser known places, sites and pathways hidden within our island and I think in our lifetime, it is important to embark on travel excursions to unearth its natural beauty. Travel has a way of enhancing and touching lives like no other, and for me, the added thrill of stepping outside my comfort zone, engaging in exciting activities along the way adds value to the entire affair. I also love that camping, hiking and adventures bring people together across boundaries, cultures and languages,” he added.
On hike, he is patient, friendly and informative. Hiking in Ella was a two-part first-time experience for me. I had never been on a hike before, and I had never been to Ella before either. It was at a time I think like most others, when I was just looking for an escape of some sort that I happened to think maybe this could be a good idea. Hiking with Ayesh was somewhat of a life-changing experience for me. I discovered I was far more resilient than I thought I could be, and encouraged by him, it was a riveting adventure that left me feeling invigorated.
In all honesty, hikes can be challenging. Yet, I also can guarantee you that it will just as rewarding. “People travel for many reasons. I like to travel to make memories that are worth the while remembering and experiencing. Sure, hikes can be strenuous, and tiring at times. You’ve got to navigate yourself in sometimes difficult conditions and spaces. Adversities are part of the experience in my opinion though. If someone on hike with me has any complaints, issues or is experiencing any difficulties, it is in my nature to explain things, discuss what the issue is and provide solutions as and when possible. At the same time, I have come to also encounter that regardless of what it takes, travellers rarely remember the adversities and only the memories. The experience is always rewarding in an intrinsic way,” he further added.
Travellers tend to have the most questions regarding what to carry when on hike. Ayesh mentioned bringing along certain necessities like reusable water bottles, a first aid kit amongst a couple of others but also highlighted that you’d need to able to carry them along the way. Most tend to often forget the lengthy hike along the way and instead pack bulky gear which can be tough to carry along for many hours at a time. Instead, he recommends a basic backpack, possibly waterproof but something lightweight. Proper hiking shoes, again possibly waterproof would also do.
He is also firm on the idea that adventure tourism and community-based experiences is what tourism should be today and what tourism will also be tomorrow. “I’ve come to realise that the old way of travelling has been simply for the masses and is quite aimless and with no real sense of purpose. Adventure tourism is probably one of the most responsible modes of tourism because there is an understanding of the environment and heritage and culture.”
At Jetwing Travels, itineraries and travel experiences are based on lesser-known hikes, alternative non-mainstream destinations and sustainability focused around adventure, homestays, farm visits, cooking and crafting together, storytelling, village tours and many more to illustrate the insight of the Sri Lankan community’s ordinary life.
If you’ve got a penchant for exploring our little island in a more adventurous and thrilling way, look up Ayesh on IG for details on his next excursion - @ayeshwaran. You won’t be disappointed.
Ayesh’s Favourite Trekking Locations:
- Lakegala in Meemure (Adventurous)
- Manigala trek in Riverston
- Knuckles five peaks
- Uraketugala in the Hanthana Mountain range (Adventurous)
- Ella Rock