(Pics by Sassanda Liyanarachchi and Aruna Udaya Alwis)

There is an entire generation who grew up watching Wild Thornberry’s and was fascinated by the idea of living and travelling around in a Motorhome. All the gypsies who dreamed of roaming the country Wild Thornberry style, should wait no more. Motorhomes and Caravans are officially here, the courtesy of Go Outdoors Pvt. Ltd, a subsidiary of Fairway Holdings. The difference between the two being, Motorhomes could be driven by itself, whereas the Caravan has to be pulled by a large car or an SUV. Ideally, Motorhomes are for travelling around, while Caravans are parked at a particular park and used as lodgings during the stay.

Motorhomes are ideal for driving in less traffic congested areas. It could be taken in rough roads, although the occupants are in for a rough ride. It is not for speeding, in fact, it travels slower than the average light vehicle.

There is something intriguing about a mini apartment on wheels. The front has a driver’s seat along with a front passenger seat. The back door opens up to reveal a mini pantry, complete with a cooker, oven and a fridge. There are also plug points for charging phones. However, these could only be used once the motor home is parked and plugged to the charger. The pantry comes complete with utensils, including a kettle, toaster, cutlery and china. The mini dining table, that could seat four, ensures that one can enjoy a meal in leisure, just like at home. There is a small closet and plenty of
cupboards for storage.

The bathroom is small and tiny but comes with a commode, shower and a wash basin. The water works while on the move, so this maybe the option for those with strict hygiene routines and tiny bladders, who are irked at the idea of using public toilets while travelling. However, to use the bathroom comfortably, one has to be on the skinny side. Anybody with a healthy build might find it difficult to move inside.

The motor home could house eight or nine people comfortably at any one time. However, some might have to camp outside in the night, as only a maximum of five could sleep in. The   spacious double bed on top of the driver’s seat could only hold two comfortably. One can lay there and watch the starlit night sky through the skylight but this is only when the motor home is parked. When it’s on the move, the bed feels like a cross between an oven and a bench onboard a ship. Consequently, you may be subject to something along the lines of sea sickness.

About three people could stretch out and sleep on the sofa on the sitting space. This is also the most comfortable place to travel in the motor home. The air conditioning does not work unless the motor home is parked and plugged in, therefore opening the back shutter and the roof top ventilation is essential, unless one wants to be roasted inside.
The sitting area, with its large glass shutters on all three sides, makes an ideal observation salon for enjoying scenery and photography. One could stretch on the sofa luxuriously, with the wind blowing through open shutters and the panoramic views passing on either side. But this is open invitation to bugs and other insects. Once an army of dragonflies charged inside.

Ideal for those who hate to be cramped while traveling and for claustrophobics, the motor home is spacious. One can stretch ones legs by pacing up and down the length of it. It is for the more adventurous traveler who prefers ultimate privacy and freedom while traveling. There is no need to hassle with hotel bookings and meal times, but there might be a slight compromise in terms of safety, while parked at the caravan park.

Caravan parks have all the facilities for charging and cleaning grey water and sewerage. These parks are located in tourist hot spots around the country. The Kirinda caravan park in particular, was located on a beach with beautiful rock boulders jutting out from the sea. Incoming sea waves splashed on these unique, round boulders and sprayed milky white foam all round.

The journey in the motor home from Kirinda to Yala was breathtaking. Panoramic view with ivory plains that stretched far and wide with no sign of human habitats again reminded of Wild Thornberry’s in Africa. Sometimes the plains were dotted with flocks of buffalos that roamed free. Sparkling deep blue waters of a river or a lake came into view from time to time. Lush green paddy fields circled by misty blue hills in the distance were a frequent sight. Thissa Weva was sighted in the ancient city of Magama, in its full glory of deep blue water and blooming red lotuses. Thissamaharama Sthupa shone brilliant white against the blue sky.

The return trip was on the southern expressway cutting through rock outcrops, past the green plantations and silvery rivers. Through the tall tree tops, the distant sunset danced orange and pink, marking the end of yet another journey.

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