What if I go on holiday and I don’t have fun? What if something goes wrong?What if the pizza man thinks my voice sounds dumb? These are all perfectly useless questions I have been asking myself and the poor friends and family who’ve bothered coping with my anxiety since 1992 (or when I began talking, so maybe a year or so later). Going on holiday when you’re anxious as fuck isn’t always relaxing. On a boat trip in heavenly Queensland, I relaxed only during the last hour of my last day because before I was sure that something was going to go wrong. Spoiler alert: nothing did. What was I afraid of, you ask? I don’t know. Ask anxiety. She totes knew. Anyway, naturally, I was really anxious before I left for Byron Bay too, but even if I can’t always control my anxiety, at least I found a place that killed it just for a day. That place is Elements of Byron and no – I’m not kidding. When I was there I felt like my anxiety was locked in a room smoking a bong.
As a solo traveller, I really like striking up random conversations with locals and other tourists alike. In Byron, every time I mentioned I was staying at Elements, people had the same reaction: “Wow, that is NICE.” Here’s why.
The Elements team were kind enough to host me for a night in what I can only describe as pure bliss. Just outside the main Byron centre, Elements is lost in time, split in between acres of green forest and the beach.
The team welcomed me with a freshly made tea-like infusion and drove me to my accommodation, the Botanica Villa ($475 per night) on a golf buggy, a dream come true of going on a ride that in my warped mind somehow feels much cooler than a sports car.
As the videos here show you, I got a tad over-excited about my Botanica Villa. The split level, self-contained villa 38, was equidistant from the beach and the Elements’ pool. The team even left me a bottle of red wine that I obviously enjoyed a little too much.
Up the stairs was the bedroom, with a king bed so soft that it sent away even my worst nightmares. When you’re re-watching Twin Peaks, bad guy BOB might make an unwanted appearance in your dream (or so he’s been doing with me for the past week or so) but during my stay at Elements he took a holiday from tormenting my sleep.
Music geek me was also way happier about the BOSE speakers allowing me to play Pantera through phone than about the minibar. My favourite feature was however the bathroom, with a massive shower and a bath tub with its own room and bath caviar to play with. I spent most of my evening there, with Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance book and a glass of wine.
My villa was one of 103 private beach villas spread across 22 hectares of beachfront, fields, natural lakes and forests. I didn’t just spend time there however. I split my time between the Lagoon Pool, a massive playground for me to show off the years I spent swimming in Sardinia, and the Jacuzzi. When I wasn’t swimming I was quick to commandeer the pool’s hanging lounges, basically massive aerial beds with pillows and a table for your Prosecco from the pool’s Barefoot Kiosk.
Everyday from 3 to 6, Elements’ Beach kiosk hosts Beach Club, a beach-facing happy hour for Elements’ guests I naturally took advantage of.
At Elements the bliss starts early. In what was probably the only wake-up call I didn’t complain about, I was woken up at 6.30 am to attend Rise Club, Elements’ own beach sunrise yoga class led by Terrafirma Yoga.
Now bear with me. No, I’ve never been one of those yoga bunnies you see walking around London with a mat under their armpit, fashionable yoga pants at the ready and a protein smoothie at hand. I kinda don’t get yoga, because as soon as I’m left alone with my thoughts my mind starts its own party and reminds me of everything I’m worried about. However, after Rise Club, I think I might start doing yoga more regularly: the ocean waves crashing against the beachfront as I breathed my way through the sunrise, trying not to fuck up my downward dog, might have won me over. My mind suddenly decided to shut up and listen to the waves instead of to the sound of its own voice.
After the class, I rewarded myself with Elements’ Graze Restaurant yummy breakfast. Lovely petit pastries, an almond cappuccino that would make Italy proud and a fresh açai puree with coconut yoghurt helped me start the day with a treat.
In short, after a long time, for a day I felt like I wasn’t my usual anxious self. I have Elements to thank for that – but now I’m worried. Was this post too long? Do people even care? They probably don’t. You guessed it: I left Elements so Madame Anxiety is back. Yay.
Pics: Carolina Are/ Elements of Byron