My name is Lou and I'm here today because I recently came dangerously close to hashtagging the word "blessed" in an Instagram post.

I know the first step is taking responsibility and admitting you have a problem but honestly, I blame the entire island nation of Sri Lanka.

See I was lucky enough to spend most of January in the southwest of the country; a corner of the world I barely knew about, let alone considered travelling to. But after hearing over and over from friends who had been that it was an actual earthbound paradise, I decided to book myself a holiday and explore the nation formerly known as Ceylon (after the bare minimal amount of research).

Luckily, taking my chances paid off and I was rewarded with an expanse of rolling green hills of tea, sleepy beach towns, city centres full with the evidence of a rich history and roti-bread that made me believe in the existence of a higher power.

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I fell in love with what little I saw of Sri Lanka faster than I did that one dude on Tinder who knew the difference between "their" and "there". And - just like it was with Brett, 27, from Manly - I wasn't the only one to have fallen.

Sri Lanka's tourism revenue has surged more than eightfold since the end of the civil war in 2009 and by the time I landed there I realised I knew nine separate people who were coincidentally in Sri Lanka at the same time.

The country is now so popular with Millennials that every single backpackers hostel is now full of people talking about how much better it was before "the tourists found out about it".

While they can't deny that the massive increase in tourism is undoubtedly fantastic for the country's economic growth, these are the types who worry this also means Sri Lanka is at risk "of becoming the next Thailand or Bali".

I mean, how bad would that be? All that holiday-maker money providing economic stability and the subtle protection international attention can bring? The worst!

I've never understood this unabashed travel shaming. All travel is an immense privilege.

Thailand was my first taste of Asian culture; I'll never forget the thrill of my first tuktuk ride or how dumbfounded I was seeing entire families packed onto one scooter.

And as for Bali... let's just say I've got a villa booked in for June, and you better believe I'll be hitting up Potato Head for poolside cocktails.

While destination snobbery confuses me, I do understand genuine concern for the beauty of a country and Sri Lanka does bear the signs of a nation scrambling to keep up with a tourism boom.

You see the way ugly and ill-conceived high-rise hotels sprout from the landscape, with many more in scaffolding waiting to be unwrapped.

But there are still plenty of homestays with gentle hosts who genuinely want to share their culture with you... and more importantly, also share their food.

Coconut sambal, roti, dried fish and chilli-cakes for breakfast? Estuti*.

My trip was full of these emotional conflicts of the tourism industry boom.

Sure, a crazy bus journey packed with locals is an exciting experience for us privileged first-world folk. There's no doubt that the country becoming a major destination for the grey nomads, mini-breakers and honeymooners will greatly benefit the country and swiftly improve infrastructure of local transport.

I realise these are simple ideas, that staying as quaint and kind and lovely as it is now means keeping the people who live here in a certain level of poverty - one that only benefits those who can come and go at will.

Still, go now.

Basic Sri Lanka travel guide (or a basic's guide to Sri Lanka):

• The comforts and novelty of travelling by private car can be tempting - and I won't lie, I did give in one particularly hot and hung-over day. But local transport is super-efficient, cheap and an experience in and of itself. The more tourists spend on local transportation also helps locals by contributing to the upkeep of their vehicles.

• If someone offers you goods or services on the street, politely decline rather than outright ignore them. You're a guest in their country; don't be rude. Chances are they just want to practice their English with you anyway.

The local public transport is an experience in and of itself. Photo / Lou Blair
The local public transport is an experience in and of itself. Photo / Lou Blair

• Always hand things to other people with your right hand as the left hand is considered dirty. I made this mistake quite a few times and it was awkward AF.

• A smile goes a long way with Sri Lankans - and is totally worth it to receive a beautiful, beaming smile back in return.

• Don't barter too hard when buying food or goods. By all means haggle a bit - it's expected and you have every right not to get ripped off - but arguing over the equivalent of a dollar while on holiday makes you a peanut in any country.

• Always, always, ALWAYS ask for permission before photographing a local. I mean really, this is an everywhere-in-the-world rule. Sri Lankans seem to be chill with having their photo taken but be considerate and respectful.

• Instead of taking a cooking class, ask a local restaurant (or better yet, a guesthouse) if you can jump in the kitchen and help them prepare the meal. To be fair I've never actually done a formal cooking class, but I've tried this strategy a few times in different parts of the world and it's always awesome. If you find yourself in Nuwara Eliya I recommend the Inglewood lodge for an impromptu cooking class - they were so lovely and their chef makes a mean Brinjal!

• My last piece of advice is NEVER order a hamburger from any restaurant, no matter how fancy it might seem. Unless your plan is to become well acquainted with the toilet bowls of Sri Lanka, then be my guest. Namaste.

* That's Sinhala for thank you, you peasant.