Join SLH on a journey out of your holiday comfort zone
T he concept of the comfort zone can mean different things to different people, especially when it comes to travel. From visiting far flung places, challenging your palette with an unknown cuisine, or mixing up your itinerary with an activity which pushes you, to learning a foreign language or flying solo – transcending your travel comfort zone is an important and exciting part of personal growth which can give you the confidence to explore other aspects of life in a new light. Here, the SLH Team reveal their holiday happy places, and how they will be taking the plunge on their next trips…
Jessica Sparkes – Head of Marketing & Digital
My holiday happy place has always been a white sand, clear blue sea, beach holiday – spending days lazing in the sunshine, listening to the waves crash onto the beach, long strolls along the coast and eating delicious local cuisine. However, having said that, I have always been one for adventure. I have spent a weekend staying with a tribe in Chiang Mai, trekking through the jungles, learning about the culture, to also trekking up the volcano, Mount Batur, at sunrise in Bali. These have both been examples where I have stepped outside of my comfort zone. I really did not like the thought of what could potentially be lurking in the jungle and I am incredibly scared of heights!
For me, stepping out of your comfort zone is a holiday highlight. The nervous excitement builds up an adrenaline which when the activity has completed – you just feel pure elation. The next time I wish to step outside my travel comfort zone is to go on a solo trip abroad. I hope to do this over summer – destinations plus activities yet to be confirmed…
Alizee Vaginay – Loyalty Marketing Manager
I am the happiest when I am surrounded by my friends and family – to me, travelling and being able to share these special memories with the people you love is the best thing. Also, I am the happiest when I get to discover the places that are on my bucket list. But alternatively, I also enjoy going back to the places I love! To me, stepping out of my comfort zone would be travelling on my own, as I mentioned above, to me one of the best part of travelling is being able to share this experience with someone else.
Going to a place where Wi-Fi isn’t easily accessible would also definitely be a challenge for me, as I think having access to the internet is a form of reassurance. No matter what happens during your trip, you’re one call away from help! Lastly, going on a road trip with only one bag to fit my belongings in would definitely bring me out of my comfort zone…But it sounds like fun and it’s also one of the best ways to discover lots of countries in a short space of time!
Abi Tottenham-Smith – Head of Social & Brand Content
I think solo travel is so important, it’s not just for single people. I would usually travel with my partner or with friends but have always loved the short solo trips I have done in the past, so doing a solo trip for longer than a few days would definitely be out of my travel comfort zone and something I am hoping to make a reality this year in South America!
Lucy Kell – Social Media Manager
I’m happiest in the height of summer on the Mediterranean Sea. For me, August equals Europe, be it Sicily, Ibiza, the Côte d’Azur or the Greek Islands. Us Londoners are so privileged to have these destinations on our doorstep that I couldn’t possibly risk a rainy season somewhere tropical or a tiresome city break during my sacred summer holiday. However, as time goes on I find myself wanting a fresh adventure. China is totally out of my comfort zone, in scale, culture, food, language and landscape. Where to even begin when planning a trip to China? I visited Kunming on a school trip when I was 16, and remember how uncomfortable and delightful it was at the same time. I want to feel that vulnerability again.
Jemima O’Lone – Creative Lead
I am happiest in the mountains or by the sea – and travelling with friends. I would love this year to go on a trip that takes me entirely away from the world we have been living in, during the last couple of years. I want to have an assault on the senses in a completely different environment and culture to London. Really stepping out of my comfort zone would be going on a solo trip to a far flung place. Life gets busy, and everyone has their own idea of the trip that they most need post-pandemic, so why not take a trip of my own?
Chloe Frost-Smith – Senior Content Editor
If I can combine my trips with horse-riding, whether it’s frolicking around an agricultural estate in Tuscany or trekking through the dunes in Morocco, I am in holiday heaven. For this reason, I have always gravitated towards rural, countryside hotels, where I can be outdoors all day in the sunshine and fall asleep in a rustic setting after a day of adventure. These sorts of hotels usually have gorgeous spas, which I have always strayed away from out of fear of holiday boredom and missing out on whatever I could be doing outside. I am also terrible at sitting still, so the thought of a 60-minute massage would really be out of my comfort zone.
I plan to dip my toe into the wellness world by trying an outdoor spa treatment, surrendering myself to my surroundings, and just relaxing (this does not come naturally to me either!) I am also planning my first big solo trip to Egypt later this year which is somewhere I have always wanted to visit, but have put off for various reasons. No more excuses!
Christine Ehly – Regional PR & Marketing Manager – Americas
With pandemic travel restrictions and recently having a baby, I’ve got really comfortable over the past few years going to the beach domestically and taking a short flight to the Caribbean. There, I’ve been happiest when I’m swimming care-free post- cocktail in the crystal blue sea, meditating as I gaze at the horizon. Now that restrictions have been easing, I want to step outside of my comfort zone again, and visit unfamiliar territory, such as Vietnam. I’d love to diversify my palette by dining with a Vietnamese family and indulging in their home-cooked, local delicacies.
Juliana Tan – Regional Director of Marketing and PR for Asia-Pacific
I have actually stepped outside of my travel comfort zone before – I have always imagined myself skydiving after seeing so many travel programmes. The thing stopping me was – my fear of heights. How I overcame that fear was totally unplanned – all it took was for a passionate travel companion who spontaneously decided that we should go skydiving that morning, and I knew it was now or never. So I took the plunge – literally. It was liberating and felt amazing looking at this beautiful world from above.
As I am always connected to social media due to the nature of my work, the next challenge for me would be a tech-detox holiday in a really remote destination. And perhaps I will bring a travel companion to go on more spontaneous adventures. Unplanned holidays, while sounding risky, always end up being the best and most unforgettable.
Jill Liu – Sales Manager, China
I had the most incredible experience while skydiving, and am happiest when doing something really adventurous on holiday. So sightseeing at a slower pace, like by bicycle, would be stepping outside of my travel comfort zone.
Crystal Davies – Senior Revenue Account Manager – Asia-Pacific
I enjoy active holidays which are packed with outdoor activities. Queenstown in New Zealand and Bhutan would be my perfect holiday destinations. I would like to challenge myself by spending a half day heli-skiing and snowboarding during the winter, and enjoying some watersports in the summer. Queenstown also has one of the world’s best bungy jumps, which is on my list!
I also need to remember to slow things down after an active day, for example indulging in a massage in the wonderful spa at Eichardt’s Private Hotel, and hopping aboard the hotel’s Pacific Jemm for a sunset cruise. Bhutan combines my love for adventure (think hiking, mountain biking, trekking up to mountainside monasteries) with spectacular spa destinations, such as Bhutan Spirit Sanctuary and Gangtey Lodge.
Rosa Mattos Moll – Senior Revenue Account Manager – Europe, Middle East & Africa
Considering that I come from the tropical country of Brazil, and have lived in the UK for over 25 years, I am the happiest on my holidays when I can go to a beautiful sandy beach and wake up with the sunlight in the very early hours of the morning, and feel the warm breeze on my face. I always look forward to a nice walk on the beach and tucking into delicious seafood while watching the sunset.
Stepping out of my comfort zone would be to book a winter holiday in the mountains with lots of snow, and perhaps try to ski for the first time. I am so afraid of heights, and have always been scared at the thought of sliding down a mountain – it would definitely be my ultimate nightmare but I would love to embrace this challenge one day. On the other hand, this kind of holiday would also be a dream I have always had and never been brave enough to make come true. When time goes by so quickly, we have to seize the moment – so I have to choose one of the beautiful SLH ski resorts and just go for it. I will try to not let my fear get the better of me when I book my next holiday.
One thing people usually think is that Brazilians enjoy very hot spicy food…we don’t! Being adventurous from this perspective, I would like to visit Thailand and sample a really hot dish (not “European hot”) and get the full spice experience. I will just have to make sure that there is lots of yogurt sauce and water there to help me, otherwise a nice strong cocktail will do.
Magali Berardelli – VIP Reservations Supervisor
Spending time with friends and family is what my holiday happy place looks like. It doesn’t matter if it’s a summer or a winter escape, beach or mountain destination, city break or an adventure holiday. Just the gathering itself, everyone sitting around a table, surrounded by delightful drinks and great food; the conversations and the interaction a situation like that brings, the learnings about yourself and between each other. That brings me pure joy!
Stepping outside my comfort zone would be travelling on my own and facing the fear of not getting this feeling of comfort from my loved ones, but the thought of making new friends as I travel is also really exciting.
Christopher Grime – Head of Product Integration
I am happiest when out in nature and a lot less comfortable in cities (something of an irony when my office is in the centre of London). Fortunately my wife is the same, so on a recent trip to visit family in New York State, we spent our time split between walking in the Catskill Mountains and the Hudson Valley, plus a few days on Long Island. We did of course also spend a day in New York City – you can’t really fly in to New York without taking a bite out of the Big Apple, can you?