Travels in Sri Lanka 2

This article looks into week 4 of my holiday in India and Sri Lanka in December 2019.

On Monday I travelled from Ella to Unawatuna, which is on the south coast of the country.

The drive was very interesting in itself and we went past many beautiful waterfalls and I was lucky enough to see an elephant on the journey.

Travelling through Sri Lanka, I have been impressed with the amount of interesting Buddhist temples that you pass. I have posted a picture of one we went past below.


Unawatuna was a very beautiful place with friendly locals.

I have posted a picture below of the view from my accommodation. This was a great place to spend Christmas.


The main beach in Unawanatuna was very beautiful and was a fun place to spend time over Christmas Day and Boxing Day.


After Unawanatuna I unravelled to Galle. This was a nice city. It was reasonably busy in the city centre and in the old town.

The Galle Fort is one of the most iconic things to visit in the city and it was a nice place to spend time during the day and in the evening.


In Sri Lanka you are never very far away from nature. On my birthday I did a river cruise with an experienced guide that helped us look for wildlife.


These proved difficult to photograph, but I did manage to see the following from the river: water moniotors, which are a type of lizard, several interesting types of birds and plants, wild peacocks, water buffalo and quite a few monkeys.

blue water lily

Pictured above is a Blue Water Lilly, which is the national flower of Sri Lanka.

What you need to know

This article looked into week 4 of my holiday to India and Sri Lanka in December 2019.

The coastal areas in Sri Lanka are very beautiful and have excellent weather at this time of the year.

It has rained at times but the temperature and sunshine has been invigorating.

The beaches are extremely clean and the water is very clear, with lots of good waves.

I had never been abroad for Christmas but this has been a great experience.

Thank you for reading,

By Barnaby Nash

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, or reach out to me on social media. Have you visited Sri Lanka, if so what did you make of it?

Let’s stay connected

I can be reached on LinkedIn and on Twitter @FollowBarnaby


Please stay tuned over the next couple of weeks as I am planning on publishing lots of interesting content from my travels in India and Sri Lanka.

Travels in Sri Lanka 1

This article looks into week 3 of my holiday in India and Sri Lanka in December 2019.

To get to Sri Lanka, most visitors will pass through Colombo. This was a nice city, with a good vibe.

It was extremely clean with friendly locals. Quite different from any comparable sized city I have been to in India.

I was surprised by how many Christmas decorations were up in Colombo, some of which were very beautiful.

I was not in Colombo for long, but I thought it was a nice place.

From Colombo I travelled to Kandy by train. Kandy is in the central region and we passed by some amazing landscapes on the train on the way there.

Kandy is famous for its Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. This is a very holy place and I am glad I visited it as it was certainly impressive.

There is also a giant buddah statue on a hillside near to Kandy. This was also good to visit from up close, but was difficult to photograph well from afar.

In Kandy, there is also a very large and world famous botanical garden that is definitely worth visiting.

The orchid house there had some of the best plants that I have ever come accross and they had an amazing collection of some of the best bamboo specimens that I have ever seen.

In Kandy, there is also a really nice national park called the Udawatta Kele Sanctuary. This is very close and easy to get to from the city centre. This was a great place to escape to from the city. You can walk around the trails for hours and not go past the same place twice.  

I went there on a day that it was raining, but there was something special about being in the middle of a rainforest when it was raining.

After being in Kandy I travelled to Ella by train. This is a popular train that is famous for its breathtaking views from the side of the carriage and the journey didn’t disappoint.

Ella is a nice town with friendly locals and a relaxed atmosphere. One of the best things to do in Ella is to climb Ella Rock, which is a small mountain close to the city with excellent views.

I have included a picture above of the mountain itself and the view from the top.

It took around 2 hours to climb from town to the summit. There is a juice bar at the top and refreshment was definitely required after 2 hours of climbing.

In Sri Lanka you see many beautiful waterfalls, I have included a picture of one below.

What you need to know

Sri Lanka has surpassed my expectations as a country.

The hospitality in India is fantastic, but the friendliness of the locals in Sri Lanka is on another level.

I am looking forward to seeing more of the country, including the coast next week.

Thank you for reading,

By Barnaby Nash

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, or reach out to me on social media. Have you visited Sri Lanka, if so what did you make of it?

Let’s stay connected

I can be reached on LinkedIn and on Twitter @FollowBarnaby


Please stay tuned over the next couple of weeks as I am planning on publishing lots of interesting content from my travels in India and Sri Lanka.

Travels in India 2

This article looks into week 2 of my holiday to India and Sri Lanka in December 2019.

When I released my post last week, I was in Alleppy and about to travel further south in Kerala to Varkala. I had hoped to do this journey by train, but after turning up to the train station, we were told that the train was not for a few hours and that it was running very late. So we decided to get a taxi to Varkala.

Travelling on roads in India is an interesting experience. Most of the roads apart from major highways are dual carriageway’s. This makes for frequent overtaking by fast moving vehicles of slower moving vehicles.

There will be many times when you are certain that you will hit into an oncoming vehicle, but everything seems to work itself out.

Travelling to Varkala has been a big highlight of my trip. The weather there was amazing, they have a very beautiful beach, which I have included a picture of below as well as friendly locals.

The area also had very beautiful sunsets and I have included a picture of one below.

Some of the food that I had in Varkala was of an exceptionally high standard. I have included a picture of an Aloo Paratha that I had for breakfast one day. This is my favourite thing to have for breakfast when travelling in India.

After spending a few days in Varkala I got the train back to Kochi, where I stayed for 1 day, before flying to New Delhi.

New Delhi is certainly an interesting place, with a lot going on. Around the Main Bazaar area in the new town, you can find many shops, restaurants and places to eat, including rooftop cafes, which are a nice place to get away from the street and relax.

The old town is reasonably similar, but with narrower streets.

Near to the old town in New Delhi you can visit the Red Fort. This is definitely worth visiting as it is an impressive structure.

It is hard to tell from the picture, but the air pollution was bad on the day I went to visit it.

This is probably the most disappointing thing about New Delhi as after being in the city for a few days it is likely you will pick up a small cough due to the heavy air pollution in the city.

Nearby to the Red Fort, you can also visit the Paranthe Wali Gali. This is a district of shops, not dissimilar to Brick Lane in London, although these shops in New Delhi all specialise in selling paratha, which is one of my favourite things to eat in India.

On Friday I am heading to the Magnetic Fields festival in Rajasthan. So I am pre-populating this article for release on Sunday when I am away. I have been impressed with the festival’s commitment to sustainability and it should be a great event.

What you need to know

This article looked into week 2 of my holiday in India in December 2019.

If you are planning on visiting India, definitely make time to visit Varkala as it is a beautiful place.

New Delhi is also worth visiting as there is nowhere else in the world quite like it.

Rajasthan is also very beautiful and is definitely worth visiting if you have time.

Thank you for reading,

By Barnaby Nash

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, or reach out to me on social media. Have you visited India, if so what did you make of it?

Let’s stay connected

I can be reached on LinkedIn and on Twitter @FollowBarnaby


Please stay tuned over the next couple of weeks as I am planning on publishing lots of interesting content from my travels in India and Sri Lanka.

Travels in India 1

This is the first in a series of travel posts that I will publish during my visit to India & Sri Lanka in December 2019.

If you fly into Mumbai it is definitely worth spending a couple of days there.

I have put a picture of the Gateway of India above. It was a nice day when I visited this monument and it is one of the city’s biggest attractions.

The next best place I visited in Mumbai was Chowpatty beach. This was a lot better and cleaner than I expected it to be.

There are quite a few food and drink vendors at the back, as well as travelling salesmen who come up to you when you are sitting down. So you are never far away from something tasty to eat or drink when you are there.

After Mumbai, I headed to Kerala and this was the part of the trip that I was looking forward to the most. Kerala’s slogan is Gods own Country and this is certainly an extremely beautiful part of the world.

My first stop in Kerala was Kochi, staying in the Fort Kochi part of the city. My next stop was Alleppy, the beach there was amazing and I have posted a sunset picture of it below.

If you visit Alleppy, one of the biggest attractions in the area is the backwaters. Which you can easily visit by boat from this location.

I have posted two pictures of the tour that I did into the Alleppy backwaters above. I did a day tour, which included breakfast and lunch. But you can do overnight tours.

The lunch that I got on the day tour was absolutely incredible. It was not just some of the best Indian food that I have ever had, but possibly one of the best meals I have ever had.

What you need to know

This article looked into highlights from week 1 of my travels in India.

I would recommend visiting Mumbai at least once as it is a mind blowing city. But after a couple of days, that will probably be enough as it is quite intense.

I would definitely recommend visiting Kerala as it is extremely beautiful, the people are super friendly and the food is amazing.

Thank you for reading,

By Barnaby Nash

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, or reach out to me on social media. Have you visited India, if so what did you make of it?

Let’s stay connected

I can be reached on LinkedIn and on Twitter @FollowBarnaby


Please stay tuned over the next couple of weeks as I am planning on publishing lots of interesting content from my travels in India and Sri Lanka


This article looks into my recent experimentation with portable air quality monitoring.


The theme for World Environment Day 2019 was air pollution, so I decided to get involved by buying a portable air quality monitor and taking some measurements to see what I could find. Here are 3 things that  learned about air quality motioning this week.

1.  Calibration is key

I rarely read the instructions when I buy a new product. I am normally too excited and rush into using it straight away. This is one occasion when reading the instructions is strongly advised.

For the Temtop M2000C monitor that I bought PM is read straight away, with no warm up period.

For CO2 readings there is a 3-minute warm up period. Do not make the mistake I did of rushing to take readings without also performing the 30 minute calibration. My initial impression, is without this calibration period, you will get CO2 readings of roughly double what they actually are.

2. You need multiple readings

You also need multiple readings. One reading at one snapshot in time will only be able to tell you so much.

Even a short experiment that I conducted today along the metropolitan line showed that some of the readings that I was collecting were higher than the otherwise stated air pollution risk of low for London.

So multiple readings over multiple locations over long periods of time are needed to get a full picture of what is actually going on.

3. You can’t manage what you don’t measure

It’s an old management adage that still holds true today. But accurate measurement of air quality in urban areas is key to developing strategies that will solve this problem.

It is reported that there are 100 air quality monitoring stations in London which if you take London’s population to be 8 million, means that there is 1 station for every 80,000 people. To me this doesn’t sound like there is enough and that much more granular data is needed, that is fed back in real time so that people can act upon it.

What you need to know

This article looked into air quality monitoring and my first experience of it this week.

If you are not satisfied with the level of reporting out there, I would definitely recommend buying your own monitor.

Ultimately monitoring is only one side of the coin, but having accurate data to base decisions on is crucial.

Thank you for reading,

By Barnaby Nash

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below or reach out to me on social media. What do you think needs to be done about air quality monitoring?

Let’s stay connected

I can be reached on LinkedIn and on Twitter @FollowBarnaby


This article looks into 3 environmental problems and asks the question; do we hate these environmental problems enough? Or is there an underlying tolerance that is allowing them to persist?


We talked a lot about solutions for the last 20 weeks as part of my series looking into the top methods identified in Project Drawdown. The other side of the coin to solutions is problems. Without problems, solutions wouldn’t be necessary.

I came across the quotation in the title recently and I was really struck by it. It is often attributed to Malcom X, however, after a few online searches I couldn’t find much evidence that he had actually said it. Regardless, it is a powerful quotation and it is highly relevant to the debate around human impacts on the environment.

Let’s look into 3 key environmental problems from 3 different ecosystems to see what we can find.


Air pollution is the silent killer that has crept from a position of obscurity to one of the most pressing environmental problems worldwide.

One look at the recent research coming out of the WHO confirms this.


There are simply shocking statistics showing that 9 out of 10 people worldwide breathe air containing high levels of pollutants.

This results in an alarming death toll of 7 million people every year caused by ambient (outdoor) and household air pollution.

The amazing thing is, that despite being faced with what is clearly an existential problem, whilst there are some solutions beginning to come online, they are not adequate enough to fully solve this problem.


The tropical rainforests are one of the most outstanding ecosystems on earth. Despite this, they are under threat and have been for some time.


Research shows that tropical rainforests lose an estimated 93,000 square miles each year due to deforestation. This is a complex issue with many underlying economic drivers.

This is a fairly well publicised environmental problem that I would have expected most people to have heard of.

Yet the problem persists. Perhaps we do not hate the destruction that is taking place enough. We have allowed ourselves to slip into a form of tolerance, where problems such as this are allowed to persist.


The Australian Great Barrier Reef is the largest coral reef system and the biggest living structure on the planet.


Despite its incredible economic and environmental benefits that it has brought to the country, it has been allowed to be damaged, with some estimates putting the figure as high as 50%.

Admittedly, much of this damage has been caused by bleaching which is itself caused by climate change. This is obviously a problem that Australia alone cannot solve but you might have expected such extensive damage to a national treasure to lead to a climate renaissance in Australia. Sadly, this has not been the case.

It appears as if a subtle, underlying tolerance of this environmental problem has been allowed to develop.

What you need to know

This article looked at 3 environmental problems and asked whether we hate these environmental problems enough?

We looked at air pollution, which has become a silent killer in cities worldwide.

We looked at tropical deforestation, which persists despite warnings for decades.

We looked at coral bleaching and the damages to the Great Barrier Reef.

All of these are well publicised examples of environmental destruction. If enough people hated them, they would have been stopped by now. There is clearly an underlying tolerance that is allowing them to persist.

It is up to everyone to make sure that the future is not like the past and that these problems are solved as quickly as possible.

Thank you for reading,

By Barnaby Nash

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below or reach out to me on social media. What do you think needs to be done to solve these big environmental problems?

Let’s stay connected

I can be reached on LinkedIn and on Twitter @FollowBarnaby




This article is based on a recent 3 week trip that I took to India. This was my first time visiting the country and this is what I learnt.

Taj Mahal

1.     Noise

I had seen before leaving on a number of travel websites that it is recommended to take ear plugs to India if you are traveling there as a visitor. As this is something that I normally use at home, this was something I brought with me, but I was interested to see why it was so recommended.

My experience of noise in India came in three different types.

The first was the incredible noises I heard whilst in Goa. This came in the form of the amazing noise that was created by the wind as it came in from the ocean, through the palm trees and up and around my beachside accommodation. This was truly an incredible sound to wake up to.

The next set of remarkable noises I experienced would be in New Delhi. This is probably the type of situation that the travel writers were recommending ear plugs for. It was loud, very loud. The principal noises that would keep you up at night include the sound of vendors disassembling their stalls and then reassembling them in the morning. Surely there must be a way to keep them up the entire time? The other major noises that I experienced were the sound of vehicle horns, which persist throughout the night and the chorus of stray dogs barking which can be very loud at times. We will see more on this shortly.

The last remarkable noises that I experienced were whilst camping in Alsisar. This included the incredible sound of silence that you would hear between 07:30 and 09:00 after the music had stopped and before most of the festival goers had awoken. The moments of silence were breath taking. The other major noise was what I believed to be the sound of cows but was in fact a nomadic goat herder passing by with his ensemble of adorable but very loud goats.

Overall the noises you experience in India are incredible, I have mentioned but a few in my description here.

2.   Stray animals

The stray animals, principally the large number of roaming cows was something that I knew about but that I was not fully prepared for when I saw it with my own eyes.

I hope my list is complete, but in total I remember seeing stray cats, dogs, cows, pigs, camels, donkeys and chickens. These are animals which in most other countries are highly domesticated and not seen outside of agricultural or domestic settings.

Overall, you have to visit to see with your own eyes, as nothing can prepare you for the sight of numerous cows walking along extremely busy streets and highways in a major metropolitan area. The sight is truly incredible.

3.   Toilets

The toilet situation was something that I read a lot about before visiting and not much of it was good. That being said, I thought all of the facilities that I came across were of a decent enough standard, taking into account that India is a developing country.

The main issue that I encountered on a far more frequent basis was the hand washing, or rather lack of hand washing facilities. I found these to be on the whole largely inadequate and more often than not lacking soap or a place to dry your hands afterwards. This is especially problematic in India, as it is a country with a lot of cuisine that you eat with your hands. Overall, this is only a minor problem; just remember to pack hand gel and to bring it out with you.

4.   Friendliness

This was probably the the thing that most blew me away. The incredible friendliness of the Indian people knows no bounds. I am not just talking about the friendliness of people who are providing a service to you, or hoping to provide you a product or service.

The standard of English among the general population is phenomenal. Just walking along a street or waiting at at train station people will talk to you and ask you questions. I have to say in the whole time I was in India I never felt under threat or like I was under duress to comply with anyone’s demands.

Overall, the friendliness of the people you will encounter whilst in India is truly remarkable. Just remember that when you are talking to people on the street that some of these people have a product or service that they are trying to nudge you towards, so speak to them and have a good time, just don’t comply with any of their demands. That being said, the majority of the people you encounter who are friendly are sincerely interested in who you are and where you are from and what you make of India as you pass through their country.

5.    Food

I like to eat a lot of Indian food when I am at home, so the food was a big aspect of why I decided to visit India. I was expecting the standard of cuisine to be very high and for me it was even higher than that.


The main treat that I picked up that I had not experienced before was the delicacy of enjoying an aloo paratha in the morning for breakfast. Pictured above is one of my morning aloo paratha’s which I would regularly wash down with a delicious cup of chai.

The tea in India is also of an incredibly high standard and I would encourage anyone who travels to India to try a few cups from restaurants and also to buy a cup from the walking vendors known locally as chai wallahs. One of the cups that I bought from a vendor in New Delhi is without question the nicest cup of tea I have ever drunk.

The main curry dish that I sampled that I had not enjoyed before was the vegetable kolhapuri. This is a fantastic dish that has all of the key elements that make up a great curry. The spices and the aroma are hot and fragrant, whilst the sauce is thick and delicious making for an all-round great curry.

It is impossible to talk about food in India without talking about the prevalence of vegetarian lifestyles in this country. As a lifelong vegetarian, the UK and Europe can feel like a lonely place for this choice of lifestyle. India is the only country I have ever been to where the vegetarian menu in restaurants is almost always as big and is often larger than the number of meat options. This is truly a country where being vegetarian is totally mainstream.

Overall, if you like great food, you should visit India. If you like vegetarian food, you must visit this country.

6.     Work ethic

I had a pretty good idea that like most developing countries, people in India probably work a lot harder for less money than people in developed countries. But I was not prepared for what I came across. The owner of the first accommodation I stayed in seemed to be awake and working whether you arrived at 06:00 am or if you were getting back in from a night out after midnight. He was seemingly doing these hours 6 days per week and would also pop in on Sunday. I also heard anecdotal evidence from waiters that I spoke to that their day would start at 05:00, they would have a two hour lunch from 11:00 and that their day would start to wind down at 23:00 but that it could be later if they were needed. These are simply phenomenal hours that people are putting in. The work ethic is simply incredible.

That being said, in and amongst the hard working and intrepid workers, you do see instances of laziness, sending two people to do a job that one person could do and sloppy workmanship. But the overall trend is towards a country where the vast majority of people work extremely hard.

7.   Incredible potential

One of the main things that I realised about India after visiting for the first time was the incredible potential of this nation. If you have so many hard working, intelligent people who speak great English in one place, that is a recipe for becoming a successful nation. The country was probably poorer that I expected it to be and there are some instances of poverty particularly that which afflicts children that nothing can prepare you for. But I would say overall, the country is full of people who care deeply about ensuring that these problems don’t go unsolved. India is an incredible nation with tremendous potential and could one day be the richest and most powerful nation on earth.

What you need to know

This was an article based around 7 things I learnt after visiting India for the first time in December 2017. India may be a very loud country, with stray animals and questionable toilet facilities. But it is also a country with a friendly population, incredible food, an unbelievable work ethic and tremendous potential. Overall, I would highly encourage anyone to visit this great nation.

Thank you for reading,

By Barnaby Nash

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below. Have you visited India, if you did, what did you learn on your first visit?

Let’s stay connected

I can be reached on LinkedIn and on Twitter @FollowBarnaby