There are holidays and then there are holidays.
This holiday was the latter. I spent a great deal of time thinking about how I was going to put the words together to try and explain my trip to you all, but the simple answer is- I would be grossly misrepresenting my holiday by slapping together words that could never depict the sparkle that it actually had. My holiday, this holiday, was the best adult playground of playgrounds. I didn't know I was going on this trip until 72 hours prior to departure. It seems like my life these days are filled with spontaneous travels that happen at the flip of a button or in this case, a quick booking on Kayak, which is something that I not only love, but appreciate about my life.
Randomly and serendipitously, two friends of mine were both hosting events on Necker Island and I had the opportunity to attend at the last minute, so it literally was just calling my name. No one goes to Necker by accident. The quality, substance and intelligence of people clustered together on that island is not by mistake. If you are there, you are someone that has done extraordinary things in life and you deserve to be surrounded by other extraordinary individuals that move the needle forward in this world. Of late, I have favored experiences versus things, deep connections versus normalcy and throwing my entire self into something that inspires me. Everything about this holiday was inspiring; every person, every company, every aspect. Hobnobbing consisted with a circle of folks that not only exude entrepreneurial success, but unpretentious accomplishment. They help bring my eclectic world to life.
To get to Necker Island, one must plane to one of the larger islands in order to catch either a ferry or a smaller plane to an adjacent island. In my case, I traveled by plane to St. Thomas, took an hour ferry to Tortola and picked up a catamaran to set sail. Others flew into San Juan, transferred to another small plane to get them to Tortola, and had either a speed boat, helicopter or some other insane form of transport, like a space ship, take them to the island. In the BVIs, if you are a local or someone that sails frequently throughout the islands, you know everyone by name; you know their family, you know their business and you know what they jive too. All of the bars are cash only and many of the restaurants don't take Amex, so bring plenty of cash!
In order to get to and from many of the islands, you sail around on catamarans. The expedition is so unlike anything you see in our modern world that I tried to pretend that I didn't have access to technology or any of the other amazing things I truly love about todays culture. Although on catamarans and on the islands, there were wifi connectivities throughout and my entire crew couldn't help but stalk Instagram in hopes of making our friends stuck in snow storms feel like they are missing out. However, I wrote notes on the deck with pen and paper, read the beautiful story Shantaram and gazed deeply into any eyes that spoke to me. It was the most magical place.
Necker Island is filled with some of the most vibrant acidic brights I've ever seen in my life. It created this seductive appeal that captivated you to where you never wanted to leave. Richard Branson, one of my favorite entrepreneurs of all time, is also one of the coolest and most humble entrepreneurs I've ever met. It's got to be exhausting having a luxury bed-and-breakfast, but Richard and his wife curate and host like there is not a worry in the world. At night, Necker Island transformed into a sand-filled Burning Man, fully equipped with Robot Heart DJs, deep beats and unlimited debauchery. Instead of art cars, we had golf carts, and instead of water showers, we had champagne showers. This past week was filled with fleeting adventures around island hopping that included kiteboarding, snorkeling, gangster dinghy wars, champagne bubble baths, deep house jams by Johnny Dill, dance parties at local beach bars, lost cell phones, electric violin performances by Dave Kim Music, cave exploring, karaoke renditions of "Stand by Me", painkillers, bushwackers, fireball shots and backflips on the Necker Belle.
The week was hosted by Vast Ventures that was launched by my dear friend, Nikhil, and Mai Tai Global, which was started by Susi Mai and Bill Tai. VastVentures is a venture fund with a manifesto that is in sync with Branson's ideology. Vast hosted a #NeckerBowl the first 2.5 days on Necker Island with competitive sports activities that included racing sail boats to disruption debates. Vast brought in 35 executives/ founders from tech, media, sports, health, and the consumer industries with an emphasis on social impact and innovation. Nikhil is married to my incredibly talented and very close friend, Sindhya, who has just launched her own mens grooming company, Helix, and is currently accepting pre-orders.
Mai Tai Global is a group of extraordinary entrepreneurs, innovators and athletes that share a love of travel, adventure and of course, kiteboarding. Richard is an avid kiteboarder himself and has become a great friend of Susi and Bill's over the years. Bill is also a Venture Capitalist and closely connected to the tech community in San Fransisco, which is in part a reason that Mai Tai hosted an event this past week on Necker called the Extreme Tech Challenge and brought out a few really incredible companies (Breathometer, Doctor on Demand, and Wanderu, as well as Ghost, Eko Devices and Cambrian Genomics) to pitch to Sir Richard Branson and a group of judges for investment (Bill being one of them).
I couldn't be more proud of my friends for hosting such a quality event with some of the most wonderful people I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. We created life-long friendships, a diary of memories and stories that I will never fully be able to explain. Humbled to be apart of your adventures, friends! Where I traveled: Necker Island, St. Thomas, Tortola, Bitter End Yacht Club, Anegada, Virgin Gorda, Jost Van Dyke, Sandy Cay, Nanny Cay
Until we meet again on the island-