Checking Out Azara Jaleel

Jan 18 2016.

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The editor of Artra Magazine Azara Jaleel, to coin a phrase is a real artaholic. She loves jungles, art and observing the stars and sky. She lists reading and exploring in any form as her hobbies. Azara contributes a lot to the art scene via her magazine Artra which has filled a void for art lovers in Sri Lanka. 
Why do you love travel? 
I am not an ardent fan of travelling as of now although enjoy it. What I relish about travelling is that it helps you figure things you like, dislike, appreciate and yearn. 
Your favourite travel destination and why? 
Yala and New York. Yes they are completely different to each other and I am well aware of that. I love Yala because when I am there, I feel connected to the universe and makes me feel like I am one with nature. New York, for its great vibes, and when I am there, I feel like anything is possible. New York makes me feel like I am part of something big! 
What do you need for a perfect holiday? 
Forest, waterfall, mangoes and a good book. A Paulo Coelho preferably! 
In which country have you felt most at home? 
Besides the obvious, Virginia, USA. Probably because I went to UVA (University of Virginia) for a short period of time, so I was familiar with the surrounding. And the people are very friendly, seldom would you find a person who does not greet or smile. Also, Virginia has quite a bit of colonial architecture, which used to remind me of the ones we have here, and that contributed to my homely feeling. Funny how symbols of colonialism gives me a sense of homeliness. 
Most unusual souvenir you have brought home? 
A plant. As expected, it was dead by the time I brought it to Sri Lanka. Results of wishful thinking! 
Worst holiday or travel experience? 
I guess I have been blessed with only good experiences thus far. However, I was appalled to see caged three wheelers on the streets of Dhaka, Bangladesh – gave out strong vibes of insecurity and fear. 
Best piece of travel advice? 
Carry a water bottle with you, always. Shades for tropical countries when travelling, try not to check mail often, it distracts you from your purpose of travel. 
Your top five travel destinations? 
New York 
This beautiful retreat called Zorba in Gurgaon, New Delhi 
Down South 
Sentosa Island in Singapore 
What has travel taught you? 
That no matter where I go and how much I love the experiences overseas, Colombo is the place I want to live! 
Which country did you taste the best ever cuisine? 
USA - street food in particular. 
Next travel destination? 
I have no clue. 
By Tina Edward Gunawardhana


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