Spotlight: It's Always Summer Somewhere with This Island Life
Hands up if you love summer? Long sun-drenched days, beach hangouts, healthy glowing skin and plenty of adventures. Yup, EVERYONE loves summer!
Laura McWhinnie, founder of This Island Life, discovered a way to experience summer every day... by following it around the world. She created this inspiring travel + lifestyle blog to share her incredible experiences with island lovers everywhere. So if you want you're own piece of summer all year round, This Island Life is the place to be.
We chat to Laura about top travel destinations, staying healthy on the move, the definition of happiness, daily wellness habits and so much more...
1. What inspired you to start This Island Life?
I started This Island Life in 2010 – at the time I was a copywriter at an advertising agency. I loved having a job where I could write all day and be creative, but I needed another outlet. This Island Life was born out of my passion for summer travel and everything that goes with it – the sun, the ocean, the bikinis and the adventures. I never dreamed that I would get to travel the world and share my experiences with island lovers from all over the globe.
2. At CSK we're a little obsessed with inspirational quotes and mantras! What words do you live by?
Because it’s always summer somewhere.
3. You've travelled to some of the most beautiful places in the World - what are your top 3 destinations?
The Ionian Islands
The Ionian Islands holds a special place in my heart. I’m actually half Greek – my grandparents are both from a beautiful island in the Ionian Sea called Ithaca and one of my great grandfathers was from a little port town in the north of Kefalonia called Fiscardo. The Ionian Islands are also home to the famous Shipwreck Beach on the island of Zakynthos. This recent trip was my first time to Greece – I just couldn’t go another year without seeing my family’s home island. I’ve spent my whole life hearing about Ithaca, so to be there jumping into the salty sea for the first time off its coast was a moment I won’t forget.
My trip to Sardinia was a surprise! After Greece I knew we were flying into Bergamo and then out of Rome two weeks later, but my boyfriend Jason was keeping where we were going in between secret. We road tripped to Verona and Venice and I thought that was the surprise. I’d shown Jason a photo on Instagram of a beach in Italy months ago – I didn’t know it was in Sardinia. He researched where the photo was taken and surprised me at the airport as we left Venice. The beach was Cala Goloritzé – it has incredible limestone formations and the most crystal clear aqua water you’ve ever seen. It was one of the highlights of our European itinerary and we’re already planning to go back again next year.
I knew the Maldives would be beautiful, but I was blown away with just how picture perfect this island destination really was. In the Maldives, the luxury resorts are all on their own private island. I had the option of reviewing a few different resorts, but in the end, I decided on the Shangri-La's Villingili Resort & Spa. It’s a 1.5 hour domestic flight from Malé International Airport and the only Maldivian resort located south of the equator, making it a super exclusive destination. I was there with my boyfriend Jason and we celebrated his birthday on the island staying in the most luxurious overwater villa I have ever experienced. These villas on Villingili are enormous (even by luxury standards) and are some of the biggest in the Maldives. The island also has two kilometres of powdery while sand beach, and a lush palm tree jungle you can cruise through on your bike or in your golf buggy.
4. How do you stay healthy on the move?
That’s the best thing about island life vacays – you’re having adventures every day and you’re always on the move. Whether it’s hiking up a mountain to get the best view on the island or swimming into beaches not accessible by boat. The only time I hit up a hotel gym is when I’m staying in a big city like Bangkok, Singapore or Manila where it can often be too hot to exercise outside.
5. Do you have any daily wellness habits?
I have a smoothie for breakfast every single morning. It gets my day off to a good start and gives me energy.
This is my favourite recipe (I always have these ingredients on hand):
- Coconut water
- Almond milk
- Chia seeds
- Fresh mint
6. What books have inspired you recently?
I’m getting inspired by a few practical books right now – ‘The Lean Start-up’ and ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck’.
7. What does a day on your plate look like?
Breakfast: Smoothie and a coffee, unless I’m on a TIL trip - then it’s the hotel breakfast buffet!
Lunch: Sashimi and salad.
Snacks: Fruit and coconut yogurt or homemade chia seed pudding with fruit.
Dinner: Barbequed fish and salad, and a glass of wine.
Desert: A few squares of dark chocolate.
8. Being beach bums and sun lovers, we absolutely LOVE your moto - 'Because it's always summer somewhere'. When was the last time you experienced Winter?!
I don’t even acknowledge the existence of that season. When you visit This Island Life it’s sunshine and coconuts all year round. I want people to be able to live an endless summer through the site from wherever they are – that’s why when it’s winter in Australia, I follow the summer to the hottest destinations in the world to uncover the best warm-weather inspired travel, fashion and adventure. Whether it’s a beachside bar, climbing a volcano or discovering a local bikini designer – I live for summer and everything it entails.
9. What do you do to switch off when you're not blogging/on the move?
When I’m at home in Sydney, I do reformer pilates five times a week and I have a weekly kickboxing class I’ve been going to for years – it helps me destress and it’s also a lot of fun.
10. What is happiness to you?
Waking up to perfect sunny beach day on a beautiful island.
11. More and more people are taking leave from work to go on wellness retreats. Have you been to any on your travels that you would recommend?
The Shangri-La's Villingili Resort & Spa in the Maldives hosted a wellness retreat right after we left and it is now on my bucket list. They partnered with Jody Shield, a well-known motivational speaker, meditation guide, author and intuitive therapist to create an exclusive wellness journey - I can’t think of a better place for a wellness retreat than one of the most isolated island resorts in the Maldives.
12. What's next for This Island Life?
I’ve got a lot of new island life adventures coming up so stay tuned.
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