In today’s world we are inundated with messages pushing us to work more, sleep less, and sacrifice everything in the never-ending effort to get ahead. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with hard work, but sometimes in our break-neck-paced worlds, we lose touch with the simple pleasures of life. It’s all too easy to get caught up, and oh so difficult to slow down. However, there is one sure fire way to save your health-and your sanity: vacation. The word itself is enough to spirit us away to our very own oasis, free of deadlines and duties; to many, the word is synonymous with utter bliss. But, not all vacations are created equal. So many vacation destinations cause more stress than they save- and leave one wishing for something more. For this reason, to me, nothing beats an island vacation, surrounded by nothing but the crystal blue ocean, palm trees, and tranquility. However, it doesn’t hurt to be pampered… so I prefer my island getaways to be luxury vacations, where I’m treated as a person, not just a dollar sign.

Below you will find four reasons that make island vacations especially soul-saving for me. I could think of so many more, but these four matter to me most, as they encapsulate my beliefs, and what matters most to me. I hope you enjoy!

1. Sustainability

It seems that every day the media opines over the decline of the environment and the rise of global warming, and the ever pressing need for the conscientious citizen to engage in more sustainable behaviors and habits. It is enough to guilt one into avoiding life’s pleasant excesses-like vacations. It is certainly true that going on vacation for some can be a sordid affair inconsistent with a healthy and sustainable lifestyle- but is that true for each and every vacation? Are all vacations truly created equal? It turns out they aren’t. Believe it or not, many vacations to small islands are actually quite environmentally friendly. This is so for several reasons. First, many small island nations work diligently to protect the natural beauty of their lands, and thus have strong environmental protections regulations. A recent article by CNNoutlined the top ten most ethical travel destinations, seven of which were island vacation destinations (we are proud to brag that beautiful Samoa ranks in the top ten). In addition to the protective policies of the nations, many luxury vacation resorts can afford to engage in healthier, more eco-friendly practices, our own organic, hydroponic garden being our proudest example. Finally, the low level of industrialization on islands that are popular for vacationing prevents high-energy consumption and limits pollution. All together, these three factors work together to help the eco-friendly feel good about themselves when they hit the hay (or hammock, or warm beach floor).

2. Seclusion

We’ve all been there before. Sitting at a mega resort in some tourist trap, packed in like so many sardines in a can, surrounding by other families. To me, that defeats the purpose of a high-quality vacation. A vacation, especially a luxury vacation, is a time to escape the hectic 9 to 5 world and relax in pleasant bliss; being enveloped in a hectic world where you can’t avoid the travelers to your right and left spoils the recharging beauty of an amazing vacation. Plus, let’s be honest, you come to the island to hear the gentle lapping of the waves and see the sunset glitter of the ocean surface, not to be stuck staring at huge, corporate hotels. Plus, even if you are looking to meet new friends, the chaos of large resorts prevents quality bonding. Intimate, quiet luxury vacations allow for true relationships to be built. And nothing heals the soul better than quality time spent with quality people.

3. Health Benefits

In our busy workweeks, we often forget to find the time to look after our health. The stress of deadlines, family engagements, and the general chaos that can often be life all too often get in the way. Few people are able to find an effective outlet to vent their stress, relax, and re-center themselves. And this is yet another reason why an island vacation can be a magic pill. And I’m not just saying that as someone who works for a resort! I wouldn’t say it unless there was scientific support behind it. Several studies have outlined the effect of relaxation on the health of the body and the mind. Moreover, many resort activities are great exercise, and offer the perfect remedy to an overworked, stressed body. To me, there is nothing better than yoga on the beach to relieve tension and help soothe my soul (I have been making good use of our newly added yoga pavilion!). If you want a quick summary outlining the myriad ways a luxury vacation can improve your health, check out this article by the Huffington post. It will save you from reading countless scientific studies!

4. Eye-Opening Culture

This last reason matters a lot to me. It may not seem as soul-cleansing as the rest, but the beauty of exploration and discovery never ceases to put a smile on anyone’s face. Travel reminds us of the true value and excitement of life, and teaches us to slow down and live in the moment. Absorbing local culture is the perfect way to do this. In many small, remote islands like Samoa, Fiji, and so many others, time-tested cultures still remain, making for a unique and eye-opening experience. What I find especially special about the small island cultures are there deeply rooted community and family traditions. These holistic communities provide a breath of fresh air from the world we are so used to, and gently push us to reconnect with family, friends, and most importantly, ourselves.

Everyone deserves a vacation. In fact, everyone deserves a great vacation, and the rejuvenating energy it imbues into our lives. In order to get this experience, the small details really matter. A sustainably run operation won’t change how the warm ocean water feels when you first dive in, but it will remind you that vacation is a state of mind, and that it ought to reflect what’s important to you. At least that’s my philosophy. When I choose to vacation, I like to do it right, and that takes effort in the big areas as well as the little areas. But don’t take my word for it, check it out yourself. I guarantee you, nothing heals the soul more than a serene beach on a sunny day, without a person for miles. It’s like the world was created to realize your most blissful dreams. And that, my friends, is something worth making time for.