Words: Lauren Vickers
Photos: Terron Joel
When I took my first solo overseas flight, I was about 8 or 9 years old.
My Dad was in the Australian Army and had a posting to the US for 3 years, so after going over once accompanied by my Mama, it was time to do the flight by myself, as an Unaccompanied Minor. I was horrendously airsick the WHOLE way, and back then, there were several connections and stopovers, so once I reached my Dad in Virginia on the East Coast 24+ hours later, I couldn't stand and had to be taken off in a wheelchair. A rocky start perhaps to a life of travel, but I did that same trip about 6 more times.
Nevertheless, I still believe that was the beginning of me developing my gypsy feet.
I was lucky enough to score a few more trips overseas throughout my teens and early working life, but then at 23, after having travelled around the world for a year and a half with girlfriends, I wasn't ready to move back in Australia. So having been to Spain once, with 3 suitcases, no Spanish language under my belt and an uncertainty as to whether the room I was planning on renting was possibly a scam, I moved to Barcelona 💁🏻♀️.
Robe life is the best life! Science says so....sort of...
This beautiful room with a view at The Prince Waikiki became my favourite spot for breakfast in bed, and storming up inspiration.
I knew that travel was good for the soul. All the exploring, trying new foods & experiences and challenging your brain in new ways when you truly have no idea what some words in another language mean - it's rare to find activities in our adult life where we have to go back to basics and start learning from scratch again. I quickly became addicted to the travel bug and turned into a proper gypsy, on the road for a minimum of 9 months of the year. I managed to do that for 5 more years.
Flash forward to now, where I crave a little bit more stability and have real-world responsibilities - an apartment, businesses to run, strata levies, rents, rate notices, etc etc - travel has to be a little less often.
I know that sometimes I can feel like I'm in a bit of a funk - my creativity and motivation go out the window, and I'm dragged down by the monotonous tone of life. This typically happens to me in Winter (I hate the cold), and since my job is based largely on creativity and motivating others - I need to get that soul fire going! 🔥
Travel is the best way for me to find that spark again, and since I'm all about health and wellness - not just on the outside, but also on the inside - I need to practice what I preach.
It seems I'm not alone though - recent research by Booking.com sheds light on a shocking nationwide trend seeing that an equivalent of 2.4 million full-time working Aussies have gone without taking leave for more than a year (!), and with 86% (!!!) experiencing burnout as a result of not taking enough leave.
Researchers from the Netherlands also found that the simple act of planning for a holiday led to a large boost in happiness, and that happiness lasted for up to eight weeks. According to researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Harvard University and University of California, just a six-day vacation causes genetic changes in the body. These changes decrease feelings of stress, improve immune system functioning and reduce levels of proteins associated with depression.
So I decided on Hawaii. I had a bit of an issue last year switching from my O1 Visa to an ESTA and in the process of trying to get an appointment with the US Consulate, I had to miss my best friend's bachelorette party in Vegas, and I was SO upset. The silver lining is that I had a voucher with Hawaiian Airlines for my flights that needed using - so I took this as a sign to finally check Maui off my bucket list.
Sunset yoga for the mind, body and soul 🙏🏼. Wearing Paco Loves Luna.
I was lucky enough to incorporate some work with Booking.com, Maui Jim Sunglasses, the Prince Hotel in Waikiki and Bras n Things while I was away - so I went solo for the first 4 nights to crank out some of this work, get some content sorted and take a few moments for myself to breathe in the warm summer air at the Kaneohe Sandbar, unwind by the pool, have guilt free breakfasts in bed and do some sunset yoga with friends. By the time I met up with my boyfriend in Maui - who had been presenting at a the IDEA fitness conference in San Diego - I was on cloud nine with all sunshine, Vitamin D and creativity running through my body! That's all it took - 4 nights. Who would have thought? Well apparently all of those researchers above ^^.
I may be an unusual case to wind down so quickly, but the warm weather has a funny effect on me. I feel at home with in an island life. If I end up buying a shack on an island in the Caribbean one day, you'll know it's because it actually helps me work ;) Having the further 8 nights for Mick and I to explore Maui and Waikiki together was incredible, and we both came back recharged and ready to work (even if I was a little reluctant to get on the plane back to Sydney's 10 degree weather).
So if you're strung out and like one of the 2.4 million Australians who haven't touched their annual leave, why not book something? Booking.com marked June 15th as "National Book a Holiday Day", so if you missed out, go ahead and book something now - we won't tell anyone you're a little late to the party ;)