On Christmas Eve of 2004, Sachi and I made a decision. We decided that, in one year, we would depart on a year long trip. We reserved a web site address that night: www.theworldisnotflat.com (TwinF). In January of 2006 we departed, dedicated to blogging the whole trip.
After a glowing recommendation from another traveler along the way, we added Sri Lanka to our itinerary, with some apprehension. Sri Lanka experiences some domestic terrorism, but it mostly stays in the northern part of the country. Further, the southern part of the country was devastated by the tsunami a year before. We knew it would be an adventure.
Thanks to connections via Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree Forums we were introduced to Mervyn, our driver for 10 days in Sri Lanka. Like others in the tourism industry in Sri Lanka, Mervyn depends on tourists coming to their country. Tourists who start their plans by searching the Web.
This is Mervyn showing us how to drink a King Coconut:
We became friends with Mervyn and had a wonderful time in Sri Lanka. We always felt safe and Mervyn was a perfect driver and guide - he gave us a local's perspective and became our friend. He introduced us to Arrack, a favorite alcohol of locals. We told him that we would write about him on the Internet and hoped it would help his business. It was the least we could do.
Last night, on Christmas Eve, 4 years after deciding we would go on the trip, we received this email message from Mervyn:
HOW ARE YOU? I AM FINE AND ALL OK WITH ME. I HAD GOOD BUSINESS FOR THIS YEAR. THAT IS BECAUSE OF YOU. THIS YEAR 90% FROM THE BUSINESS I GOT FROM YOUR WEB SITE THAT YOU RECOMAND ME. I SAY AGAIN AND AGAIN THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
I WISH MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU AND YOUR WIFE.
This message made our Christmas extra special this year. Mervyn is honest, has a good heart, is very hard-working, and deserves to have a successful business. It's inspiring to me, as a blogger, to think that a couple of blog posts can make such a big difference to someone like him on the other side of the world. Our post is the #3 result for "Driver Sri Lanka" on Google. I hope we can continue to help Mervyn's business in 2009.