Creating a new business like The Travel Bra Company, lucky for me, involves lots of travel. On my way to the USA recently, I made a stopover at Hawaii. Hawaii is totally do-able on under $1000 a week. I spent a week on the remote volcanic island of Kaua’i. If you haven’t been before – put it on your list – way up high. My travelling companion on this trip was a feisty 73 year old, Kathleen, with whom I flatted when I lived in Washington DC some years back. While Kathleen and I stayed in Kaua’i in a great little country bunk house we found on Airbnb, our first stop was the Seaview Terrace café at The Kaua’i Hyatt. We ordered coffees and set ourselves up on the sumptuous chairs, spreading out our maps, notes and guidebooks on the huge coffee table with a magnificent outlook over the blue ocean bay. Here we plotted our week together and regrouped daily to plan more excursions.
Kathleen managed blues bands for a living before she retired so, of course, we had to check out the music scene of Kaua’i. We met a wonderful woman, Haunini Kaui, a very gifted singer and musician, and we became her groupies. Haunini studied for four years at Berkley on a music scholarship www.hauninikaui.com. Every night we followed Haunini to each of her different gigs around the island where she played with different local musicians.
It wasn’t the reason I went to Kaua’i, but it turned out that the island is a foodies' paradise. At the historic Koloa Fish Market there were lots of great fish poke (raw fish in marinades). The Kalua slow-cooked pork melted in my mouth. The laulau beef was wrapped in taro and tiki leaves and steamed. OMG. The coconut and sweet potato pie was delicious. Each morning we ate the sweetest grapefruit and oranges I have ever tasted, picked straight off the trees at our bunk house. And the local Anahola granola with fresh local raspberries and blackberries on top was just too good.
I wanted to hike down the Alaki Swamp trail to the wettest place in the world – 468 inches a year. What can I say? It was wet! Sadly, too wet to walk all the way that day without my big boots. We consoled ourselves with yummy Bean and Portugese sausage soup at the nearby Lodge. Next time I come back to Kaua’i I will be sure to pack heavy hiking boots and wet weather gear. Yes, to Hawaii.
There are lots of great hikes in Kaua’i – day hikes and overnight hikes. And for such a small island there was so much diversity, from the rain forest to savannah, to its famous beaches to rivers and mountains – all largely unpopulated and unspoilt. I know food always tastes amazing after a big hike, but the Hawaii Puki Dogs at Hanalai were gourmet – and clearly made with love. We washed them down with home-made lemonade before heading across the road to the Community Hall to listen to Grammy winners Doug and Sandy McMasters play the most remarkable slack string guitar.
There’s something about Kaua’i’s town of Kapaa that takes me back to my Byron Bay surfie chic days. Funky health food handouts, timber buildings painted blue and green, crystal shops and, of course, surfboard shops. Café Coco served us pumpkin coconut soup with crunchy pumpkin seeds and an edible flower swimming on top. And then there was the banana bread… And don’t get me started on the shaved ice. And all over Kaua’i there was so much shrimp and fresh seafood, poi and rice, endless different local Hawaiian fusion flavors and tastes and all at street food prices.
And always we ended up back at the Seaview Terrace at The Hyatt for coffee. I don’t usually rave about hotels, but this place was opulent, not in a tasteless way but in a way that turned the occupant towards the ocean and made the water seem even more magnificent than it already was. I promised Kathleen that when The Travel Bra Company becomes really successful we will one day come back to Kaua’i and stay not at the bunk-house but at The Hyatt, my shout.
You really don’t need to wear a Travel Bra on Kaua’i as it’s not very crowded and there is not a lot of pickpocketing, but on my morning runs I wore my Runners Travel Bra with spare cash in my dropdown pocket just in case I sighted something good to buy. Kaua’i is great for running – for some reason people don’t tend to keep dogs, so you can run on country roads and not get barked at. We were there in April, too cold for these Australian bones to go swimming or snorkeling.
By the end of the week, Kathleen and I were doing so well on our budget that we could shout ourselves a boat trip along the Napoli Coast. Absolutely fantastic. Lava caves and 4000 meters (yes meters not feet, this is not a typo) cliffs. We saw whales, dolphins, turtles, and fish and danced to the Rolling Stones in the back of the boat all the way home.
Kaua’i is easily do-able for under $1000 per week, plus change. Don’t forget to pack hiking boots and do pack your organic cotton and bamboo Travel Bra – it is still the most comfortable bra you’ll find, so it’s good to wear on the plane.:)
Creating a Start Up like The Travel Bra™ Company is exhilarating but exhausting. Any day now I am taking off to my current favourite rest and replenish health resort for under $1000 a week, the Ubud Sari in Bali. I will be kicking back with organic fruit mocktails and soothing foot massages with eyes closed and all worries gone.
This place has everything an Australian health retreat has, but for only a fifth of the cost. The detox programs are designed by a medical doctor and really work. I felt great – amazingly great – after I did the Body, Mind and Spirit Rejuvenation. It cost me less than $US1,000 for seven days and six nights and that included absolutely everything.
When you arrive at Ubud Sari (they pick you up at the airport), you have you own personal attendant throughout the week who oversees your detox and schedules all your activities. But don’t think it’s all just lying around detoxing. Man, it’s busy! – rice paddy walk in the morning, followed by yoga and meditation, followed by organic detox juices with special herbs. Then you have to fit in massages, facials, body scrubs, steams, deep tissue body work, shiatsu, candlenut scrubs, reflexology, more juices, more massages, saunas, swims and facials, as well as a cranio-sacral therapy treatment. My one piece of advice? Unless you are seriously ‘clogged’, skip the daily colonic hydrotherapy. Ubud Sari will tailor a program just for you and substitute these with extra massages or facials.
What I loved about Ubud Sari was also just hanging out in the open air organic vegan café where it was easy to meet other women and chat – main topic of conversation being of course how our lives were going to change when we got back home and how we really should do this detox thing more often.
My one vice was to sneak out every morning between treatments and down a delicious short black coffee that an enterprising young man sold me – here was a man who really understands what a woman wants!
I love Ubud – being up high it’s cool even in summer and there is lots of yoga places. My favourite? The Yoga Barn. And there are lots of organic vegan restaurants and
wonderful shops and galleries to explore. Every afternoon I spent an hour or so just walking the streets and rice paddies.
Oh, and Ubud Sari has wifi in the café, so you can still stay and work if you really have to.
This report is the first in our series of blogs on travel adventures for under $1000 a week. Welcome to The Travel Bra™ blog. Send us your stories of holiday adventures you’ve had for under $1000 a week. We’d love to hear them. And remember – Keep Valuables Close to Heart with your Travel Bra™.
My travel lust compass tends to point me to foreign lands. But this January I am landing myself in a great and inexpensive holiday destination very close to home – our very own Sydney. I’m here doing Airbnb in Double Bay ($35 a night for a gorgeous 1920s apartment decorated with film memento and geeky action figures with cocktail parasols) only two minutes from Sydney Harbour.
Man, Sydney Harbour is amazing. The three-story-high Harbour Ferries juggernaut their way over to Manly indifferent to the tiny race boats hurtling past at full sail. Beautiful sandstone cliffs and little pockmark islands create the most interesting harbour. I’m tempted to borrow a dinghy and spend a week just exploring all the nooks and crannies, but too busy. Tonight I’m heading off to the Domain to the free Opera in the Park. No glass allowed, so I’m decanting my vino into a plastic sports bottle. Who cares? The line up kicks off with Rossini’s The Thieving Magpie Overture and finishes up with Puccini’s Nessun Dorma. I’m most looking forward to the William Tell Overture (Hi Ho Silver! Think theme song The Lone Ranger).
The Sydney Art Gallery was also on my list – the Pop to Populism exhibit was interesting although the Gallery Shop was busier than the Gallery itself which is ironic given that the Pop movement was premised on a rejection of mass consumerism!
But first I’m going for a swim at Coogee Beach, followed by coffee and gelato. My what a beautiful city this is. The Sydney Festival runs from 8 – 26 January and there is heaps of amazing free stuff. Not to mention just sightseeing – which is not my usual style but I still remember the feeling of awe I had when I first laid eyes on the Sydney Opera House. There is also plenty of eating and drinking – definitely my style always: just outside my apartment yesterday there was a little pop up market – the paella was packed with mussels and shrimp and very yum.
There is probably no better place in Australia to spend Australia Day than on Sydney Harbour or on Bondi Beach and so many free events to choose from. However this year I do have an invite from a very cute man to barbeque at his house at Bronte Beach which I believe I should not miss.