From the outside it looked like I had it all. I had my dream job opening a sales office in my hometown for a huge international radio brand. I could work from home, loved all my clients and lived in a gorgeous house on the beach – but I was completely miserable. After a car accident in 2008 I had a severe whiplash injury which resulted in migraines, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. I had days spent in pain, in black rooms trying to sleep migraines off and other days where I could hardly move. I worked when I could but I had no work-life balance and hardly saw any of my friends.
I needed some time out, but the problem was I couldn’t find what I was looking for. I wanted a relaxing getaway in a gorgeous environment with people that I could connect with. I didn’t want a resort with honeymooning couples or kids bombing me in the pool, I wanted something peaceful and regenerative. So many retreats were activity focused and that wasn’t for me either. I didn’t want to be told to get up at 7am for a yoga class when I finally got to sleep in. It was this, and talking to lots of like-minded women, that made me realise I needed to create the perfect sanctuary. That’s how Bliss, on the beautiful island of Bali, was born. It was October 2010 when I made the decision. Two weeks later I’d drawn up a business plan.
Follow my bliss
We all need to go away to refill our cup. Travelling with a friend is great but they might have a completely different agenda which means you end up doing a heap of things you’d prefer not to. The essence of Bliss is to tailor your holiday experience exactly the way you want or need it to be. You can have unlimited massage, yoga, gorgeous food, drivers to take you anywhere and a hostess to help organise everything. It’s what I wanted, but couldn’t find for my holiday. Travelling alone as a woman is inspiring, but it’s also one of the most emotionally and physically challenging things you’ll ever do! I think it’s an amazing personal milestone in the journey of self discovery and that’s a big reason why I opened Bliss. I want to encourage more women to do this without feeling alone, so that there’s a positive shift in their life and mindset.
I cashed all my money, rented a villa, renovated it, hired some staff, opened my doors and thought ‘well if it doesn’t work I’ll get a nice year off’, but within the first month I knew I wouldn’t be going back. It became something I had to do. I felt the way I’d imagine an artist feels when they have a creative streak and they lock themselves away and can’t stop. It took every ounce of my courage, every penny I had and every bit of energy, but I had this big vision of what I wanted my life and this blissful business to be.
I came up against lots of hurdles but I used the tenacity so many past managers had praised me for and kept digging deeper to make it work. To begin with I lived at the sanctuary. I was the hostess, the general manager, the marketing director, the trainer, the bookings manager, housekeeping manager… I did everything!
In life, it’s important to take notice of the things that really excite you and give you that rush of adrenalin. My advice would be, don’t’ look back. Don’t be invested in it working. It needs to be okay for it not to work. Small steps or big steps, it doesn’t matter, just do something towards it every day.