Captain Nadeesh Gulawita, the 36th person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers, has had an action-packed life.

When he was 29, Nadeesh became the youngest sea captain in Sri Lanka, just 11 years after starting his maritime career.

His first job was a 12-month assignment as a junior cadet officer on board a cargo ship. Apart from a few hours ashore every few weeks, he was stuck on board the entire time.

A few years later, the ship he was on collided with another vessel off Hong Kong, due to a navigational error by the other party. Nine members of the other crew died in the accident.

In 2012, and now in command, Nadeesh’s ship was attacked by Somali pirates. The vessel suffered considerable damage, but managed to get away from the pirate boats after navigating to deeper waters.

Later that year, Nadeesh moved to Australia, where he works as a marine manager. His job is to investigate ships that file insurance claims after they get into accidents or suffer cargo damage.

Nadeesh is not only fascinating company – he’s also a gentleman. Thanks for a wonderful lunch!