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Dining in a cave in Leuven, meditating in Kathmandu: How Lisa Srao's travels have shaped her

Srao believes that travel is food for the soul.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Jun 06, 2019, 09.54 AM IST
Lisa Srao is the managing director of I Brands Beverages.
Lisa Srao, managing director of I Brands Beverages, on how travel, from gorgeous Capri to spiritual Kathmandu, has shaped her.

Travelling is an acquired taste
I am not a born traveller. I developed a taste for travelling over the years.

Working in the international marketing teams for big companies led to some amazing travel trips, which became my great escapes. From dining in a chandelier-filled restaurant inside a cave in Leuven, experiencing fantasy art galleries in Honolulu, taking in the azure beaches of Langkawi, to meditating in Kathmandu’s Buddhist temples, singing to Elvis’s (Presley) tunes in Memphis whilst eating barbeque ribs, or shopping in Tuscany — these experiences have shaped me. Travel is food for the soul. People are essentially the same everywhere, with different approaches to life.

Recent holiday
Since I started my company, I try to take two holidays a year. My children are studying in the UK. I went to Leeds for Christmas and New Year. The whole city is transformed into a magical winter wonderland. After spending so much time in sunny Bengaluru, it is a blessing to go from 31 degrees to -4 degrees.

Last Christmas, we were in Yorkshire and did it all — the traditional Christmas tree, the house decorated with fairy lights with wreaths on the door, traditional dinners with turkey, gravy, stuffing, roast potatoes, cheese platters, minced pies, Christmas pudding, cake, champagne and red wine. I also took long, cold walks in the Yorkshire moors with my son.

A journey I had to cut short
A trip to the Atlantis (Dubai) had to be dropped. Our suitcases were packed and children excited. We arrived at Bengaluru airport, only to be turned away. My son’s passport had expired. The trip had to be postponed, but we got a temporary passport for him and travelled to the UK instead. Then we made our way to Dubai. The kids got two holidays in one. I always advise people to check passports before planning a trip as I learnt this the hard way.

On my bucket-list
It is Kyoto. After working in the ‘spirits’ industry for long, it’s time I become ‘spiritual’. Kyoto is home to over 1,600 Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, and churches. The trail of red torii (gates) on a hill on the outskirts of Kyoto would be the perfect way to gain an overview of the spiritual city. I would love to meditate in a place like Kyoto, which has a wealth of good energy. Spiritual places have the power to reach within. I could join the crowd at Lourdes to pray and bathe in the French town, or be lost in prayer at the Golden Temple in Amritsar. I believe Kyoto would have the same impact.

Place to return to
I would love to go back to Capri. It is postcard pretty. The sea is stunning. The white-washed stone buildings, cobbled streets, the rugged landscape, the cuisine, the shopping — it has all the elements. I would love to hire a yacht and sail around the island. The villas atop the hills, adorned with wisteria and bougainvillea flowers, spell Mediterranean chic.

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