It's no secret that we adore the experiences travel has to offer - but as a brand that promotes the practice of sustainable living - we're also well aware of the impacts travel has on the environment. Helping to spread the message around conscious travelling, tips & tricks is Baiia Woman Vivien from The Dharma Trails. We love all that she does and are so thrilled to have her feature on our Baiia Woman Series, sharing her thoughts on all things mindful living. We asked her questions which we hoped would give our readers a glimpse into the mind of this inspirational woman. We hope you'll love her answers as much as we did!
1) We know how passionate you are about mindful travel - what started it all for you?
I’ve loved travelling and exploring new places since I was a kid. The ability to visit somewhere new and learn through experience is what really drives me. But new experiences are not always good. Or at least, not what you hoped. My first Carribean destination was Jamaica and it was every bit as beautiful as I imagined. White sandy beaches, jungle, palm trees, waterfalls. But what really got to me was the plastic. Piles and piles of it smothering the picture perfect beaches. We didn’t stay in the big all-inclusive resorts (where beaches are cleaned daily), so we got to see the local spots. The reality. I knew we had to do something. At the very least, create awareness about plastic pollution and how to lead a more sustainable lifestyle.
Vivien wears her Banksia Wrapsuit
2) While having Australian roots, you now call Grenada home - what do you love most about living there?
Grenada is a beautiful place. I’ve always been drawn to the palm tree life and now we have 60 coconut trees on our property. It’s got a real small town feel. We know the locals and have a great friendship group. One of my favourite things is the fresh fruit and veg stalls. There are two within 5 minutes of our place. Every couple of days we will swing by and load up on fresh produce that comes straight from the stall owners backyards.
3) What is something you wish you knew before venturing into a life of sharing the importance of conscious travel?
Start small, start now! It’s so easy to start changing aspects of your life for the good of our environment:
Purchase a set of reusable products so you don’t need to use single-use plastics
Try the vegan or vegetarian option on the menu
Avoid fast fashion and choose brands that are sustainable and ethical
Pick up that piece of trash on the ground, even if it’s not yours
4) Is there a woman in the mindful lifestyle/travel space that you look up to? What makes her your role model?
I really admire Kate from @travelfordifference. She’s a young Australian with a strong passion for conscious travel and sustainable living. She is always open to a deep conversation about sustainability, and I love reading her weekly learnings - they are a mix of eco wins, fun facts and mindful living.
5) Self-care is so important. As a woman who does so much (and is constantly on the go!) what are some ways that you take care of yourself?
I think it's really important to take care of your body and mind. That’s doing things like eating healthy and exercising regularly. Get grounded and practice mindfulness once a day to bring yourself into the present moment (whether it's with your morning coffee or by having an ocean swim). But it’s also being mindful of what you are putting on your body. I have switched to natural and organic beauty products, and even make some of my own!
6) Favourite place in the world for a Summer getaway?
My favourite place to be is by the beach, surrounded by palm trees and crystal clear water. That makes the Caribbean a pretty ideal place. Jamaica is definitely a favourite (despite the plastic)!
7) Favourite resorts/hotels you've stayed at during your travels?
On our recent travels to Guatemala we stayed at La Fortuna on Lake Atitlan. It’s a five bungalow eco hotel. Not only does it have the most amazing lake & volcano views, they also run on solar power, grow a lot of their own produce and have on site composting and water treatment. Another favourite is The Rockhouse in Jamaica. It’s a beautiful eco resort perched on the cliff in Negril looking down to some of the clearest water I’ve seen. They also have an amazing NGO program that supports a local school and library.
8) As a swimwear label, it's important to us that our pieces are actually helping women really feel and realise how beautiful they are. What makes you feel truly beautiful as a woman?
Over the years I’ve learnt to feel good about my body. I really love my curves and wearing something that flatters my body shape makes me feel beautiful! I love the Baiia wrapsuit as it has such a beautiful cut, and I can wear it so many different ways (reversed, mixed with my other Baiia piece, or as a top with a pair of pants)!
9) If you had one piece of advice for anyone looking to change their consumption habits, what would that be?
Connection. Get outside and see what’s really going on. Walk along the beach, through a forest or kayak in a mangrove. When you really see the beauty, the animals, the trash.. you will care. There’s definitely a disconnection to the natural world in our modern societies. More time in nature is what we need to truly care.
10) Finish this sentence: This world needs...
To make health a priority (for ourselves and our environment).