Bishal Humagain, CEO of Progressive Finance Ltd is a joyous traveller and enjoys exploring new destinations. Fond of going on long road drives during the night, he defines himself as a nocturnal traveller. Tamish Giri of New Business Age magazine caught up with Humagain to note down his remarkable trip to Sri Lanka.
Zeal for Travel
Whilegrowing up, I did not have many opportunities to travel due to my father's hectic work schedule. However, my friends travelled often with their families and shared their travelling experiences, making me desperate about travelling. My father kept postponing the trip. It left me sad and frustrated, so when I was in the 9th Grade, I decided to travel on my own and left for Pokhara. With only Rs 500 in my pocket, I took a night bus to the Lake City without informing my parents.
Back then, the Maoist insurgency was at its peak and travelling alone as a child was dangerous. The bus left me at Prithivi Chowk and I took another bus to Lakeside. Upon my arrival at Lakeside, I took a boat and paddled around. It was my first trip, adventurous yet memorable, I enjoyed the trip very much.
I travel without any plans or itineraries. I don't make plans for any trips, I prefer staying in the moment, and it's my way of making memories. Long road trips, mainly during the nights, satisfy my soul. Travelling and exploring destinations is my way of learning, they also help me to make useful decisions and create creative ideas.
The Pearl of the Orient
I have enjoyed all of my trips equally but my tour of Sri Lanka, in particular, is one of the best memories. I made the trip 10 years ago, while I was a director of a cooperative institution, on an invitation to attend a conference. Since I hadn't been abroad before, I accepted the invitation without any hesitation. During the trip, we visited Colombo, Kandy and Hikkaduwa. The cities were well developed and were full of glorious natural landscape - pristine beaches, culture, historical monuments, temples and friendly citizens. Sri Lanka is a marvellous location and its topography is quite similar to Nepal, the only difference is that Sri Lanka doesn't have a sizeable Himalayan range.
During our trip, we were mostly hosted by a local host Udaya Prabath, manager of Sri Lanka Consumer Co-operative Societies' Federation Ltd. He offered us the hospitality of the best kind. Overwhelmed with the hospitality and welcome, we invited him and his family to visit Nepal. Besides, the country is full of world-class hotel chains. All hospitality employees were well trained and even the locals were warm and friendly in taking care of the guests.
In Kandy, we were served a traditional Tamil dish - Tamil Sappadu. Like, Samayabaji of the Newari community - Tamil Sappadu is made of several dishes. It is a sizeable dish comprising of twenty-four items served in a big banana leaf. It was hard to finish all on our own; I was unable to finish it too. I had not tried any Tamil dish before, but I greatly enjoyed Sappudu.
Most Memorable Moment
While I was crossing a road in Colombo, I saw a VIP vehicle scouted by jeeps approaching the road. Noticing the VIP vehicle crossing I moved back to let the vehicle go like we do here in Nepal. But instead of going ahead, the vehicles stopped and the driver waved his hand requesting me to cross the road first. Hesitant about the kind gesture, I waved back requesting the vehicle to go first but it didn't move until I finally crossed the road. Further, during the duration of my stay in Sri Lanka, I didn't see any of the locals smiling which left me curious to know why. Later, while interacting with a local man I came to learn that the people in Sri Lanka were traumatised by a 25 year-long civil war which just ended a year ago. These experiences have stayed with me.
Even though, my overall stay in Sri Lanka was memory in itself but there were some activities which I regret for missing. In Kandy people talked a lot about a porch lavish hotel. Even though I can remember the name, I best recall it as a USD 1,000 hotel which I had a deep desire to take an accommodation at. Since the hotel was extremely heavy in cost to stay, I was unable to enjoy the luxury of it. Besides, I also missed out to climb to the top tower of the temple at the Adam’s peak at Kandy due to windy situation as well as Adam's Bridge (Rama Setu) and Ravana's Golden Lanka.