Spiritual Journey Of Larry T Hill: Australia To Sri Lanka by Boat

The world is full of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Every success story has a humble beginning and we discovered another such journey full of adventure. This is the journey of a man named Larry T Hill who is on a quest to discover the simplicity of life and trace his roots.

Larry, born in Dubai and raised in Australia, came from a very musical Sri Lankan family. Having being raised in Australia and being of Sri Lankan origin, he was interested in finding where he came from and what it had to offer. First, he wanted to discover his own backyard – Australia. He spent five years taking his musical talents to all places, remote and sociable and in 2012 alone he travelled over 28000kms by road. As much as he was learning the tools for living simply, he was also performing at festivals such as Woodford Folk Festival, Solar Eclipse Festival and Lizards Revenge.  He continued to work with what he had and created music while hitchhiking, working in organic farms, cycling around or while just sleeping under the stars.

All his travelling gear in a single frame.

All his travelling gear in a single frame.

After his journey in Australia, he was ready to discover his motherland: Sri Lanka. To stick to his lifestyle of simple living, he looked into sailing to Sri Lanka rather than taking a flight. This was his first experience hanging around the dockyards, looking into a route that would end up in Sri Lanka.

Darwin

His first voyage was from Darwin, North Australia, to Indonesia on a small boat with only the Captain for company. This was the first time he learnt what it was truly like to be out in the open sea with no escape and no company, except for the people in your boat. The Captain, who was not the greatest company, gave him a bitter taste of what it is like to be trapped in a boat having to obey every single order – even if Larry didn’t know what was going on. Prior to this journey, the only experience Larry had was his personal research and some boat trips taken with his friends. However, he had never been so far that there was no land to be seen. He says that he was psychologically traumatised and there were moments when he came close to losing all hope. He just kept telling himself that he would see land very soon.  After nine days, (due to lack of wind) he first saw land.

Indonesia

First steps on land after my first 9 days at sea. I smile, giggle and struggle to keep balance. Thrown by the stability of real ground. It was an unusually long hard Sail onto the wind.

‘First steps on land after my first 9 days at sea. I smile, giggle and struggle to keep balance. Thrown by the stability of real ground. It was an unusually long hard Sail onto the wind.’

His stay in Indonesia lasted about a month and was filled with meeting friends, performing in festivals to make ends meet and enjoying human contact after the dreadful 9 days.

Malaysia

Malaysia

Another month spent meeting locals, swapping stories with foreign travellers and performing gigs.  Malaysia also involved a lot of time searching for boats, eating durian and networking on Langkawi Island.

Thailand

‘Now for some hitchhiking monks. In the back of a Ute.’

‘Now for some hitchhiking monks. In the back of a Ute.’

‘The beautiful people of Music Matter, a quietly world class Jazz bar in Phuket town. Thanks Jeffrey and co for a fun night. Never would have pictured playing a jazz club gig back in the day - let alone with solo voice!’

‘The beautiful people of Music Matter, a quietly world class Jazz bar in Phuket town. Thanks Jeffrey and co for a fun night. Never would have pictured playing a jazz club gig back in the day – let alone with solo voice!’

More of rubbing shoulders with the locals, hitchhiking on motorbikes and performing anywhere he can. Different locations, same incidents and equally mind-blowing experiences.  These few months were spent going back and forth to the docks, hanging out at sailor bars and living on boats to work his way through.

…and to Sri Lanka

It was an intense few months waiting to discover when he would finally come to his motherland. Then the day The Blue Star announced they were going to Sri Lanka, Larry was flooded with relief – that the day he can be back on home turf was close and that he has the means to get there. All the time he spent trying to hang out with the right people, working small jobs, performing in gigs, putting endless posters up in search of a ‘ride’ and sorting out paperwork all paid off when Larry, the captain of The Blue Star, came to say they were headed to Sri Lanka.

'This is Larry, captain of that boat, Blue Star. I didn't want to tell you until we actually left, but I've found a boat and we're heading for Sri Lanka via the Andaman Islands (!). This is why I can't sort out any more lankan visa stuff until I get there, we're off! Larry and the crew are a real nice bunch as you might be able to guess from this Mark Twain quote. Which is just as well, as I haven't been able to find another boat who'd take me in 6 months searching 4 countries along the way. Wish us fair winds folks.'

‘This is Larry, captain of that boat, Blue Star. I didn’t want to tell you until we actually left, but I’ve found a boat and we’re heading for Sri Lanka via the Andaman Islands (!). This is why I can’t sort out any more lankan visa stuff until I get there, we’re off! Larry and the crew are a real nice bunch as you might be able to guess from this Mark Twain quote. Which is just as well, as I haven’t been able to find another boat who’d take me in 6 months searching 4 countries along the way. Wish us fair winds folks.’

An 11-day journey spent performing on the boat, going to Andaman Islands – where they snorkelled, explored and found an island inhabited by indigenous people that have little or no contact with the outside world, and finally seeing Sri Lanka from 300 miles away. His first contact with Sri Lankans was when the boat met up with some fishing boats and they traded tobacco for some thambilli. He says it was an experience to have the first taste of Sri Lanka before he even stepped on land.

'What's that? Happy as Larry! Mission success. This makes me really, really happy. Let me tell you a little tale. Larry, when we met in Malaysia 6 months ago said:

‘What’s that? Happy as Larry! Mission success. This makes me really, really happy. Let me tell you a little tale. Larry, when we met in Malaysia 6 months ago said: “Yeah, I’m going to Sri Lanka, my boat was built there and I want to take her home. Let’s stay in touch” Eventually it worked out that I could join the boat in Thailand and we later left for Sri Lanka via the Andaman Islands. Our mission was to take the boat home to Trincomalee harbour, to find where it was built and perhaps some of the builders. This week both these things happened. Very very happy. Here is blue stars 13th sister ship which was never completed, Blue star was #1.’

Sri Lanka

'Land. Motherland. Temple. First sights of land yesterday through the binoculars after 11 glorious days at crossing the Bay of Bengal on sailing yacht Blue Star. Port Blair, Andaman Islands to Galle Port, Sri Lanka. I have arrived.'

‘Land. Motherland. Temple. First sights of land yesterday through the binoculars after 11 glorious days at crossing the Bay of Bengal on sailing yacht Blue Star. Port Blair, Andaman Islands to Galle Port, Sri Lanka. I have arrived.’

Since his arrival in Sri Lanka, he has been studying the Sinhala language, oriental vocals and Hatha Yoga. His mission to discover Sri Lanka and its culture is well underway. He is still living with the simplest of needs and cycles to places whenever he can. He is also still performing his live looping music at places such as Music Matters, Pecha Kucha and he even had a rap battle at Open Mic Night at In on The Green.

'Landed. Grounded.'

‘Landed. Grounded.’

Feature image courtesy of Aksana Hugo
Images and quotes courtesy of  Larry’s tumblr page.
To keep up with his journey, you can follow his Facebook page.

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