Midweek Interview

Life in the time of COVID-19 with Health & Fitness Travel’s Samantha Lippiatt

We recently caught up with Health & Fitness Travel director Samantha Lippiatt, who has been getting experimental in the kitchen ever since COVID-19 hit. However, that’s not to say she’s gone all Heston Blumenthal and attempted things like chicken curry ice cream or snail porridge.

What are you reading?

Swimming with Elephants by Sarah Bamford Seidelmann. The idea of a three-month sabbatical to feel good really appeals to me, and it is an interesting read.

What are you watching?

Highly recommend the original Broadway production of Hamilton on Disney+. I’m also loving all the free content from health retreats all over the world and enjoying learning new skills via YouTube tutorials (between Netflix and Stan binges).

What are you listening to?

Lots of podcasts, including Adventures in Wellbeing from the team at Aro Ha and TED Talks for when you’re having an existential crisis.

What are you cooking?

I am appreciating more time in the kitchen and have been experimenting with lots of different recipes, borrowing books from the local library for inspiration.

How are you staying fit both physically and mentally?

I’m lucky to be living close to the ocean and make an effort to be as active as possible. I also host a weekly Zoom call with friends all over Australia – we have a virtual trivia night and it’s a great chance to connect, check in and have a laugh.

What’s something positive you’ve witnessed or experienced since the coronavirus hit?

More realisation about the importance of our health and our connections with one another.

What have you learned about yourself amid the crisis?

That my work, while important, does not define who I am.

What’s your advice for others in the industry on coping with the crisis?

Focus on what you can control. I recommend making your physical and mental wellbeing a priority. Get enough sleep, drink enough water (between wines) and do something that brings you joy.

On those days when everything is hard, be kind with yourself and don’t be afraid to ask for support.

Where is your favourite domestic travel destination?

We are lucky to live in an amazing country with so many brilliant places to visit. I love the Coral Coast in WA – after driving over 1,200 kilometres from Perth via Shark Bay, I had an awesome dive day there in January, and between dives got to snorkel with a manta ray. I’d love to head back to Ningaloo and swim with the whale sharks, though I might fly this time.

What is the one international travel memory keeping you going through this time?

Spending long stretches of time working remotely in Koh Phangan, Thailand. Waking up early to assist our wellness travellers and check in with my team before kitesurfing on the lagoon and then ending the day sitting under a palm tree, enjoying the breeze while watching some of the most magical sunsets over the turquoise water.

Where do you want to travel to once international travel restrictions ease up?

Straight back to Thailand. I’d love to retreat on a wellbeing sabbatical at Kamalaya in Koh Samui.

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