My friends and I started this tradition 3 years ago. In the beginning of each year, whoever is turning 40 picks a place in the world and we all show up. It’s a simple concept but most of us are married, most of us have kids, most of us are on a budget, and most of us have zero time. Somehow we make it work and show up for each other. Time is the greatest gift you can give to a person, so we do our best.
This year was Be’s turn. I distinctively remember when she said by the time she turns 40, we’ll all be too old to want to travel. Right.. too old. Well, 11 women from around the world showed up to St.Barths w/ guns blazing. Emerald traveled the furthest, a whopping 16 hour flight from Shanghai. That’s dedication.
Getting to St.Barths is nerve wrecking. First, you fly to St Martin (French and Sint Maarten is dutch) and then you get on the puddle jumper that lands on a tiny runway. The island, the view, and the water are all worth the trouble and then some. My crew is consisted of mostly Asians; thus, we triple the island’s Asian population the moment we land.
The water is a ridiculous aqua blue color and the temperature is perfect. Since it’s the mid-season, there is enough bustle but it’s not crazy. I can’t imagine this island when it’s the peak and when it’s packed with celebrities, paparazzies, and other privileged bunch.
I really wanted to surf so I sent an email to the concierge inquiring about a lesson and I was told there aren’t waves therefore no surfing in St. Barths until Sepember. But then upon landing, I got lucky and was told that surfing is on! I took my BFF Betty to surf with me to Plage Lorient. We took a lesson with David, an island born surfing instructor with piercing green eyes. I had the best surfing day ever in my short surfing history. The water temperature was perfect, the wave size was perfect, and I caught some good waves but the highlight was watching Betty catch waves with the biggest grin on her face. Oh! And we also spotted a sea turtle.
We hired a yoga instructor to lead us through a group yoga class one morning. Sweating it out and doing the warrior pose, yoga taught us to be present and to live in the present. Despite the scorching heat, the present felt so good.
St. Barths is a tiny island. You can see the entire island in 45 min by car. I surfed in Lorient, swam in Plage Goveneur, Flamin Beach, and Saline. They are all gorgeous and jaw dropping. My favorite is Plage Goveneur. The locals go there to play dominos and hang out by the parking lot. Tourists go there to sit on the sand topless (French island) and soak it in.
We were there for a birthday party so some partying needed to happen. Day time partying is bigger than night time partying. Nikki Beach is the spot. You need to make a reservation and it was the most crowded during Sunday brunch. Drinking rose, dancing in the water it looked like a scene out of a movie. Occasionally, bachelor and bachelorette parties will pull up in a boat and people will stumble to the beach to party some more. There are lots of characters but drinking a glass of champagne while you are in the ocean is always priceless.
The island also has great shopping for cover ups and you can score great art at the Clic Gallery in town. Don’t forget to get a crepe and a gelato and head to the hill to watch the sunset.
Le Sereno, St.Barth
Nikki’s Beach St.Barth
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For Manhattanites like me, it can be a challenge to get outside of the city. I’ve been wanting to go to the Dia in Beacon, New York and Storm King Art Center for 2 years now and I seemed to always miss the chance when the weather is nice. So this year, I was not going to miss my chance and I decided to on opening week.
The weather was a little brisk but it was the perfect museum day. Dia Beacon was the first stop. The space is amazing. I love the juxtaposition between the old and the modern. My senses for the lines and materials were heightened here. It’s just so beautifully minimalist I want to go home and throw away all my furniture.
The Storm King Art Center was a bit overwhelming. It’s 500 acres of sculptural park! I decided to rent a bike to cover the most ground and to get around quickly. I was smiling ear to ear the whole time. I love exploring a new place on a bike. These sculptures were massive and there was a lot of ground to cover. My favorite one was the Three Legged Buddha by Zhang Huan and Suspended, by Menashe Kadishman. I wonder what it will be like to buy hundreds of dollars worth of copper to work with and to build something this massive.
I love the fact that about 1 hour away from Manhattan, there is this inspiring space for people to roam around. I want to come back when it gets a little warmer to have a picnic or when it snows!