Well, we just have to ask—how fantastic is Tokyo? What area are you in?
Tokyo is fascinating! We stayed at a luxury ryokan in Tokyo's Otemachi neighborhood (near Tokyo Station). It was such an authentic experience. Fragrant tatami mats cover the floors, an open-air onsen (natural hot spring) is on the rooftop, and guests can relax in an ochanoma (lounge) and enjoy complimentary sake and Japanese snacks throughout the day.
Can you tell us a bit about Luxe Travel Family? It seems like it’s a lot more than just a blog.
Luxe Travel Family is a blog and a curated guide to the world's best destinations, hotels and resorts, experiences, and airlines. I have meticulously researched and in some cases visited each place more than once. The blog is family-focused because I often travel with my husband and children, but you don't require kids to benefit from Luxe Travel Family.
How on earth did you manage to make a career out of traveling the world in style?
Awww, thanks for the compliment. Wearing HK clothing while I travel certainly helps! I've always believed that happiness comes from doing what you love. And I love to travel. So transitioning from my previous career in business to freelance writing and blogging about travel experiences was easy once I took the leap.
We often dream of change, but starting can be frightening. What compelled you to take the leap?
I made the decision right after I took one of Laura Harris’ painting retreats! The experience shifted something in me. I often tell people that Laura's painting workshops aren't really about painting. Sure there are canvases, brushes, and paints, but there is so much more. Listening to Laura talk about how she got started and watching her transform a blank canvas is so inspiring. I've taken a few of Laura's workshops, and I always leave feeling empowered to do something transformational.
What is your best advice for anyone at a personal crossroad or possibly considering a career change?
I often remind myself to be brave with my life. Someone at a personal crossroads or considering a career change may find these words helpful.
Have you ever second-guessed yourself or thought you just ‘couldn’t do it’? If so, is there a story you can share about what helped you back on your path?
Absolutely! In business and in life, it’s easy to listen to self-doubt. Or you can choose to tune-it out. I’m an amateur athlete and just completed a three-day running event called the Bermuda Triangle Challenge. I’ve never run three days in a row in my life. But I believed in myself. And surprised myself too! I came 5th overall in my age group and 4th in the half-marathon.
More women are travelling solo than ever before. What are the gifts that traveling alone offers?
I feel that perspective and presence are two gifts that travelling alone offers. When you travel solo, the experiences are filtered through your individual lens, affording you a unique perspective. And, you can often choose to be fully present when you travel solo. Plus, there is the freedom to go where you want when you want. As a woman, that’s empowering.
You often go on these adventures with your family. Traveling with kids can be a challenge. What’s your best advice for traveling with children?
My best advice is to start travelling with your kids while they are young. It is daunting, but your kids will grow up to be travellers, and that is an incredible gift. And I would add that when you are in the thick of it, it’s never too early for a cocktail!
Tough one for sure, but what’s the very best travel experience you’ve ever had? And what’s the worst?
Our best travel experiences happen when the family is together and we are sharing new experiences. Our family vacation exploring Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands was one such trip. As I mention here in my blog, it’s one of the most incredible places on earth.
Fortunately, we haven't had any truly awful travel experiences. Missed airline connections and mishandled bags have been the most significant issues.
What’s your approach to packing? Carry-on or checked?
On a family vacation to Europe, it took days for the airline to locate a mishandled suitcase, and then due to logistics, they were not able to get the bag to us until we were back in Canada (three weeks later). Now we try to travel with carry-on luggage. You can read all about how we do it in this article. If you absolutely have to check a suitcase (or three), these tips will help you keep track of and locate your luggage if it goes missing.
You always look amazing and your style seems effortless and timeless. You also have several HK pieces! Do you have a favourite?
Thank you! I often purchase quality items because I like things to last. So there are timeless pieces in my home and my closet. I love all of my HK pieces, but the Rock Salt Robe is my fave. I just travelled in it from Vancouver to Tokyo and then onto New Zealand. It's so versatile. From strolling through Tokyo's bustling Otemachi neighbourhood to wandering Saturday markets in New Zealand's Hawkes Bay, the Rock Salt Robe is perfect. You can't beat it for travel—it's stylish and oh so practical. A rare combination.
Nancy in her favourite HK piece, the Rock Salt Robe.
Staying healthy has always been very important to you, but you seemed to kick it up a notch, now competing in triathlons around the world! Can you share some of your thoughts around nutrition, exercise, and aging?
I’ve been running for years, and I started swimming and road cycling in my 40s. Competing in a triathlon was a logical progression. I signed up for an Ironman 70.3 before I turned 50. It seemed like a fitting way to welcome this next decade. I try and live a balanced life, but it’s not always possible. After a period of indulgence, I go on a clean-eating program. This means no coffee, alcohol, dairy, wheat, etc.
What is the one thing that gets you over that finish line?
I wish I knew exactly what it was. I feel like it’s tenacity—refusal to give up or give in.
You were very close with your Father. What is the best lesson he ever taught you?
He taught me so much, it’s hard to distill it all into one best lesson. He lived a generous and genuine life, I hope I can do the same.
You are such a good Mom. What do you feel is most important to teach your two young gentlemen?
Thank you for saying that. I feel it is important to teach my boys about respect and honesty.
OK, to finish here’s your soapbox. Is there anything special you’d like to add?
My strength coach told me that champions possess two characteristics—courage and compassion. The compassion isn't just for others, it's for yourself. So go ahead and set big goals with the courage and intention of a champion. And don't forget to be compassionate and kind to yourself along the way.