‘I believe you have to face your challenges’

Kanchanna is 25 years young, she is living in Hikkaduwa, a populair Sri Lankan surfers paradise. She is a mom, a (house)wife, a student and a business woman all at the same time.

What does happiness mean to you?
To have the freedom to do what you want to do, that means happiness to me.

What is your background?
I am born and raised together with my sister in Hikkaduwa in South West Sri Lanka, where I still live. I always loved living near the beach and the sea, although I have never learnt how to swim. My parents are Buddhist, so they raised me according to the Noble Eightfold Path. It means to live behaving decently, cultivating discipline, and practicing mindfulness and meditation. When you live up to these principals Buddhists believe an end can be put to craving, to clinging, to becoming, to rebirth, to dissatisfaction and to redeath. Better known as Nirvana. During high school at my 16th I met my husband, I fell madly in love with him and we got married when I was twenty, although my parents did not agree I married that young. Soon after our marriage I was pregnant of my son, he is already four years old now.

Where do you stand in life?
I live a very busy life. In Sri Lanka it’s common when you get married and you have a family, the family life is the responsibility of the woman. I study, I take care of my son, I am a loving wife, I cook, I clean our house and I am starting up a hotel business with my husband. Sometimes I feel it is all a bit too much, I almost don’t have any time for myself anymore.

Are you familiar with the 30 years dilemma ?
No I am not familiar with it. I got married at a young age, I have a baby and I am setting up -a hopefully successful- business with my husband. I don’t have time to over think my choices; I just do and deal with the consequences.

Do you have a dream?
My dream would be to build a hotel in the ocean, with glass floors so you can see al the fish’s swim by underneath you in the lobby.

What wise lesson did your parents teach you?
My dad always taught me how to meditate. I still practice it everyday. Meditation plays a very important role in reaching nirvana.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
I would advise myself to not be only lead by emotions, but to make more use of my intelligence. In life you have to think wisely. Sometimes I feel that I married to quickly, if I didn’t marry so young, my life would have been much easier. I wouldn’t be at home cleaning or cooking. I would have experienced more freedom in my life. But I believe you have to face your challenges, you don’t give up.

When was your last moment of happiness?
I am currently doing a research for my studies and I just interviewed someone who really understand the purpose of my research. To be heard and understood made me feel happy.

Under the same sun is an ongoing travel log which you can follow on our travel and lifestyle blog Meet You at the Bridge. The reports show the similarities and differences on what it means to be happy for women between the ages of 25 and 35 who hail from different cultures.

Click below for all interviews.