An insurance broker by profession Nawamalika, loves nothing more than snuggling up with her kids, reading, cooking and dreaming. She likes holidaying, food and a decent book to read and is quite vociferous in expressing her dislike for hypocrites and those with double standards.
Why do you love travel?
It's seeing things from a different perspective, meeting people who have grown up differently, finding out what their interests are, their loves and beliefs, and basically the variations in life. Also seeing the glorious treasures of each country, what makes their citizens proud, the differences in scenery and architecture, the whole wow factor on seeing something with your own eyes for the first time - tremendous rush of joy in your soul, when you realise the impact is actually larger than what you ever possibly imagined.
Your favourite travel destination and why?
It would be Spain, because of its people, their love and zest for life, not to forget wine, cheese, chorizo and jamon! The people are so very welcoming.
What do you need for a perfect holiday?
My family, sunny weather (or atleast a hope of it, to see the sights in sunlight!), nice wholesome food (I'm always hungry when on holiday!), a comfortable pair of shoes, and a friend or someone who lives there, to come up with suggestions, because that way you get right into the soul of the place you're visiting.
In which country have you felt most at home?
Espana, because I felt closest to home there. I've spent a couple of Christmas holidays there, then after that 3 or 4 times. We always ended up at with one of my dearest friends, and then to wherever we decide, on their suggestions. Last time I was there with a bag of mixed emotions, after her mum died, her baby and mine were born.... it's like family away from home.
Most unusual souvenir you have brought home?
A porcelain doll from Spain and a pepper mill carved into an old man's bearded face from near Geneva, Switzerland.
Worst holiday or travel experience?
We once took the ferry across to Corfu while in Greece - had no place to stay the night. We got on a strange 3-wheeled contraption after getting off the ferry, to get to town; we paid and got off, and then the weird chap gave chase insisting we get in so he could find us a hotel, and we had to run away and hide between parked cars and bikes. Quite funny to reflect upon, and but since we were all girls it was a bit scary.
Best piece of travel advice?
Stay open, plan on things you would like to do, but don't make it your whole intention to do everything on the list. We once got to this really laidback Greek seaport called Nafplio, which wasn't even on the agenda, but we loved it so much, we stayed two nights and made a pact to return together, someday. I must remind everyone!
Your top five travel destinations?
London - UK, Paris - France, Switzerland, Spain and Greece.
What has travel taught you?
To love life and appreciate the fact that variety is indeed the spice of life.
Which country did you taste the best ever cuisine?
I'll have to go with two on this one: Spain with its variety and strength of flavours, and Switzerland for its simplicity and subtlety - so different, yet equally amazing. Chorizo and Swiss chocolate - what more can I say? I was lucky, as I have a good friend in each country, so I got to eat home-cooked food as much, as those from the restaurants, so I guess I am completely biased.
Next travel destination?
Italy, Peru, India (for about 3 weeks, maybe), China, Turkey.
By Tina Edward Gunawardhana