Sabbatical Travel Is The Final Frontier Of Corporate Wellness

A new era of bespoke travel that promises fulfilment, connection and positive transformation is on the rise among high-net-worth individuals. And this Australian startup is leading the (re)charge.

By Noelle Faulkner 04/05/2023

If I see one more hustle hashtag on LinkedIn …” says Nicholas Ingate, ex-agency man and founder of Sabbatical Travel, trailing off. “Hustle culture. We’ve been there, you know? For the last decade, we’d all meet people in a work context, and you’d say, ‘how are you?’ And the answer would be ‘busy, I’m so busy.’ And we’d look up to that busy porn as if it was something to strive for. But the definition of success is changing. Now we want to be relaxed and thriving.”

You don’t have to venture far to stumble upon headlines, buzzwords and evidence of a collective discontent with the current state of work. As we wake up to the dangers of hustle culture, more executives and high-performers are seeking new ways to channel their ambition, focus on their mental and physical well-being and question their actions, purpose and place in society.

Just look at the rise of optimised self-care, including biohacking, primal-style fitness, microbiome health, sleep prioritisation, alcohol-free lifestyles and the questioning of and detoxification of masculinity. And, contrary to the reports that the “great resignation” was only for the corporate-adverse youth, the revolt against the grind is hitting organisations at senior levels. Newsflash: we’re all tired.

Sabbatical Travel founder Nicholas Ingate. / Curated experiences are just one element of the company’s service.

Last year, for example, a survey by Deloitte and Workplace Intelligence found that 70 percent of C-level executives were seriously considering leaving their job for one that better supports their well-being. The same survey found that more than 30 percent of executives are lonely, 40 percent are overwhelmed and 26 percent are depressed. Moreover, 81 percent of C-suite placed more importance on their well-being than advancing their career. Finding equilibrium has never been more vital. But the question many of these burned-out high-performers are left with is: “how?”

“We’re moving out of this phase of hustle culture and into this space of questioning not just your passion, but your purpose, and doing it in a way that gets results,” Ingate observes. And he should know: in 2019, this is exactly where he found himself. Sydney-based Ingate was a founding partner in a creative agency with representation all over the world, he serviced the crème de la crème of brands and possessed the bragging rights of huge success and growth that many dream of. And yet, he was unfulfilled, a feeling so unshakable and unnerving that at the so-called prime of his career, this executive decided to metaphorically drive into the sunset and leave it all in the horizon. “It was great, and we achieved so much,” he says. “But after a decade, I just got to a point where I was just questioning things. Does the world need another watch? Another premium vodka? Another car? I was done.”

Six months before the rest of the world was forced to slow down, Ingate sold his share of the agency and embarked on a 12-month sabbatical to find his purpose again. “I wanted to plan it properly so I could communicate to family that this is what I was doing. I was going to be doing long stretches of no phone, no laptop and different types of experiences. So I did what most people do: I went to Google.”

From solo hikes in the Himalayas to Ayahuasca rituals, silent meditation retreats and beyond, Ingate spent hours Googling in pursuit of filling the gap. “My first observation was there was just no brand, no source of truth, where one place housed all these types of experiences. It was just pages and pages of really hard-to-find stuff,” he says. “I was like, okay, cool. I created my own list, called friends and made a hundred phone calls and figured it out.”

This, he says, was the journey within his journey—a precursor to launching Sabbatical Travel, the idea of which came to him on day seven of a ten-day silent Vipassana retreat. Ingate had found his purpose in helping others find the clarity of spirit that his own sabbatical had given him, in the guise of the missing one-stop-shop for bespoke and therapeutic transformational adventures; curation-as-a-service for the self-actualisation market.

A typical experience with Sabbatical Travel takes place over a number of weeks and is divided into three parts: induction, experience and reintegration. After an “audit” of the client’s life, discussing self-worth, ambitions and the like, clients are paired with a performance coach-like “guide” to dive deeper into the sea of self.

“We’re not talking about skiing or solo hiking. It’s ‘what are you working on? What is a life well-lived? What’s missing in your life?’” says Ingate. “Why are you here? Is it to reconnect with your masculinity? To heal stress? Maybe it’s reconnecting with your spouse. If so, there’s a whole relationship intelligence piece that we will take you on.”

From here, the guide and a travel concierge work together with the client’s needs, time, budget, location and geo-curiosity to design the experience. Nature is central to each program and could see a client do anything from an immersive education in ancient practices in Peru to foraging and hunting for survival in the middle of a forest. A recent experience, for example, challenged one client to engage their primordial survival instincts in a New Mexico desert.

“The client had to build the skills to orientate himself, and the whole point was to push himself to the edge and bring forth and find who he is,” says Ingate. “We flew in family members to meet him at the other end. Like the return of the hero, so to speak. There was just this beautiful, heart-opening moment that will be remembered forever. That’s the kind of transformation we want to facilitate.”

Servicing just a dozen clients per year, Ingate caters to a highly niche clientele, one with time on their hands and a willingness to do the work. Those in mid-career transition, founders looking for new challenges, leaders and future leaders. Those whose definition of “transformation” moves beyond the momentary exhale of a regular luxury vacation.

“We know the transformation happens when you come home,” says Ingate.  “You know, when you’re back at home and all those familiar stresses return, and you’re trying to process your thoughts and experience. We want to give clients a chance to bring those thoughts into their life, so we have a six-week integration process where our guide re-enters the conversation. And that looks like accountability, mindset shift, and it leads to behaviour change.”

This is where Sabbatical Travel answers that aforementioned “how”: while the experiences seem like the drawcard, the reintegration element is where the real evolution happens. “We teach survival skills, ancestral skills, primal fitness and the like to get back to this state of being,” says Ingate. “In creating these moments, we reintroduce the intention and can ask questions or have the client ask themselves: what is your moral compass? In the time we have left on this planet, what person do you want to be? What does family mean to you? And draw meaning from that deep place, which leads back to purpose and real growth… and that change, that’s what we measure ourselves by.

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The Boldest, Most Exciting New Timepieces From Watches & Wonders 2024

Here are the highlights from the world’s biggest watch releases of the year.

By Allen Farmelo, Carol Besler, Paige Reddinger, Oren Hartov, Victoria Gomelsky, Cait Bazemore, Nick Scott, Justin Fenner 10/04/2024

Watches & Wonders, the world’s largest watch show, is in full swing in Geneva. The highly anticipated cascade of new releases is marked by confident individual brand identities — perhaps a sign that watchmakers are done scrambling through the violent collision of restricted supply and soaring demand for high end watches. All seem to be back on solid footing.

Steady confidence is a good thing. Consider Jaeger-LeCoultre offering up traditionally styled grand complications or Vacheron Constantin revamping the classic Patrimony with smaller cases and vintage-inspired radially brushed dials. Consider TAG Heuer celebrating the 55th anniversary of the square Monaco with a skeletonized flyback confidently priced at US$183,000, or Moser similarly showing off a fascinating skeletonized tourbillon in its distinctive 40 mm Streamliner at US$86,900. IWC has leaned hard into their traditionally styled Portugieser line, including an astounding Eternal Calendar complication. We find the storied French houses of Cartier, Chanel and Hermes blurring the lines between jewelry and watchmaking with the technical prowess and artistic whimsy that originally earned these brands their exalted place in the hearts and minds of sophisticated aesthetes. Confidence abounds in 2024.

We could go on and on with examples, but the watches below will demonstrate that for 2024 the big watch brands dared to be themselves, which appears to have given them the confidence to take some seriously compelling horological risks. We have separate coverage of off-show releases and, of course, Patek and Rolex, so keep and eye out for those.

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Patek Philippe Brings Back Collector Favourites at Watches & Wonders 2024

Both the Nautilus Chronograph and Aquanaut Travel Time receive a welcome return.

By Josh Bozin 10/04/2024

If you’re a watch fan, there’s every reason to believe that a Patek Philippe Nautilus, Patek Philippe Aquanaut—or both—would be high on your wish list. Both collections are of historical significance, helping pave the way for the influence of the steel sports watch category—and subsequent chokehold on the market today.

So, when Patek Philippe unveiled its newest releases at Watches & Wonders in Geneva, it was a pleasant surprise to see the return of two of the best past iterations of the Nautilus and Aquanaut collections.

Patek Philippe
Patek Philippe Nautilus Chronograph

First, we get a new Nautilus Chronograph, with the return of the revered 5980, now replete with a new case in white gold and a denim-like strap (a contentious issue among watch pundits). Discontinuing all Nautilus 5980 models earlier this year, including the collector-favourite 5980/1AR in Rose Gold, left a sombre feeling among Nautilus fanatics. These celebrated chronographs, renowned for their distinctive porthole-inspired design and air of sporty elegance, are some of the most sought-after watches in the Patek Philippe catalogue. Thus, the revival of the 5980, now in white gold, is a cause for collectors’ celebration.

The new offering retains its chronograph function with mono-counter tracking 60-minute and 12-hour counter at 6 o’clock on the dial, but now comes on a new denim-inspired, hand-stitched fabric strap with a Nautilus fold-over clasp in white gold—some will love it, some won’t.

Patek Philippe
Patek Philippe

The Calibre CH 28‑520 C/522 powers this new Nautilus with its flyback chronograph, all of which is visible through the transparent sapphire crystal caseback. The dial is also incredibly eye-catching, with a beautiful opaline blue-gray hue accentuated by white gold-applied hour markers with a white luminescent coating. It is priced at approximately $112,000.

Also returning to the fold is the Patek Philippe Aquanaut Travel Time, now with its own bluish hue dial—similar to its Nautilus counterpart. After discontinuing the Aquanaut Travel Time 5164A this year, as well—a watch often regarded as the greatest Aquanaut to date—Patek Philippe surprised all with the new 5164G in white gold. Its greatest attribution is the clever Travel Time GMT function, which clearly rivals the Rolex GMT-Master II as perhaps the travel-friendly watch of choice (if acquiring one was that simple, of course).

For those who prefer the Aquanaut’s sportiness and easy-wearing rubber strap, this newest iteration, with its Opaline Blue-gray dial and matching rubber strap with a deployant clasp, is undoubtedly an icon in the making. The new 5164G has a 40mm case and features the Calibre 26‑330 S C FUS movement, which can also be viewed via the transparent sapphire crystal caseback.

Expect to pick up the new Aquanaut Travel Time for around $95,250.  

Patek Philippe
Patek Philippe Aquanaut Travel Time

 

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Rolex Kicks Off Watches & Wonders 2024 with a New GMT-Master II

The new stainless steel GMT-Master II has already been dubbed the “Bruce Wayne”.

By Josh Bozin 09/04/2024

It may not be the GMT that watch pundits were speculating on—or that collectors were hoping for—but the new Rolex GMT-Master II with a new grey and black ceramic bezel adds dazzle to the revered Rolex collection, which this year celebrates its 70th anniversary.

The idea of a new Rolex GMT launching at the world’s biggest watch fair is cause for a little madness. While the watch community eagerly awaited what was thought to be the discontinuation of the highly sought-after GMT “Pepsi” and the return of the GMT “Coke,” the luxury Swiss watchmaker had other plans.

Instead, we’re presented with a piece that, on paper, hasn’t changed much from previous GMT releases. That’s not to say that this isn’t an impressive release that will speak to consumers—the new GMT-Master II ref.126710GRNR, dubbed the “Bruce Wayne,” is definitely a sight for sore eyes.

Rolex
Rolex

This new GMT retains the same dimensions and movement as the other watches in the GMT collection, along with its 40mm size case and the option to fit either an Oyster or Jubilee bracelet. The obvious changes, albeit subtle, come in the way of its mostly monochrome return; a fact that will appease traditionalists. If you’re opposed to the attention-drawing “Pepsi”, “Sprite”, or “Batman” iterations, this model is a stealthier pick—much like pseudonymous Bruce Wayne.

The other noticeable change is the “GMT-Master II” now applied in green text and a 24-hour hand in green; perhaps a nod to the 2007 Basel World GMT release.

Like many Rolex timepieces, this will generate great hype and attention, so don’t expect allocations to come easily.

Rolex
Rolex

Model: GMT-Master II
Reference Number: 126710GRNR

Diameter: 40mm
Case Material: Stainless steel
Dial Colour: Black
Lume: Chromalight on hands and hour markers
Water Resistance: 100m
Bracelet: Oyster or Jubilee

Movement: Caliber 3285
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, GMT
Power Reserve: 70 hours
Winding: Automatic

Price: $17,150 (Oyster); $17,500 (Jubilee)
Availability: Now. Non-limited edition

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Moments in Time

Silversea’s Kimberley adventures transport passengers into a different dimension.

By Vince Jackson 09/04/2024

Whoever refuted the theory of time-travel has clearly never set foot in the Kimberley, a geological relic where craggy landscapes forged hundreds of millions of years ago remain untouched, and dinosaur footprints are still etched into the ochre terrain. And while traversing one of the planet’s last great wildernesses in a 4X4 holds rugged appeal, a more refined way to explore the Western Australian outback is by cruise liner. 

Enter the Silver Cloud, one of Silversea’s most luxurious vessels, available for 10- or 17-day expeditions. Upon arrival via private executive transfer, expect a level of intimacy that’s often conspicuous on other cruise experiences. With a maximum of just 200 guests, attended to by 212 staff, the Silver Cloud can lay claim to the greatest passenger-to-crew ratios operating in the Kimberley. Twenty-four-hour butler service is standard for every suite, along with ocean views—no matter if you plump for a modest 22 m² Vista Suite or supersize to a 217 m² Grand Suite.

Yet bigger is not necessarily better on water; the ship itself is compact enough to manoeuvre into isolated coves and waterways that larger vessels—or, indeed, four-wheel-drive Land Cruisers—are unable access. Each sunrise brings the promise of an unforgettable adventure, whether hopping on a Zodiac at Koolama Bay to witness the cascading thunder of the 80-m-high, twin King George Falls, or embarking at Swift Bay to scramble over rocky standstone and view the disparate rock-art forms on display at the sacred Wandjina art galleries—some reckoned to be up to 12,000 years old.

Another example of the Kimberley’s ability to propel you back through time.

Prices from $15,500 pp (10 days) and $23,900 pp (17 days); June 9-19, and August 8-25 or August 25- September 11 respectively; silversea.com

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Kelly Slater’s Hawaiian Hideaway Hits the Market for $30 Million

After seven years of ownership, the legendary surfer is selling his beachfront compound on Oahu’s north shore for $20 million.
Published on April 5, 2024

By Wendy Bowman 08/04/2024

Always wanted to live like a surfing legend—specifically, a pro shredder with countless accolades under his board? Now’s your chance, because the picturesque Hawaiian spread that Kelly Slater has owned for the past several years has just popped up for sale on Oahu’s north shore, as was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The asking price is an impressive $30.3 million—or around $18.2 million more than the 11-time champ dolled out for the beachfront digs seven years ago, back in spring 2017. Acquired largely for personal reasons—he fondly remembers crashing at a nearby house with teen surfing buddies in the 1980s—Slater has long floated the place on the rental market, once for as much as $121,500 per month.

Sited amid a gated parcel spanning just over a half-acre, alongside one of the most sought-after streets in the Haleiwa area, the property was built in the early 2000s, and offers a main home and pair of guesthouses—for a total of six bedrooms and eight baths sprawled across a little more than 706 sqm of Asian- and Hawaiian-infused living space, all with access to 101 feet of secluded shoreline.

Though interior photos are scarce, previous listings show the primary dwelling is showcased by a soaring living room displaying an open-trussed ceiling, a curving hardwood staircase tucked off to the side and glass doors spilling out to a covered lanai. Other highlights include a formal dining room, media room, and kitchen outfitted with natural wood cabinetry and an expansive island. Two bedrooms include an upstairs primary suite, which boasts an ocean-view balcony, a seating nook, walk-in closet, and bath equipped with dual vanities and a soaking tub.

Outdoors, the garden-laced grounds host a boardwalk spanning a pond, along with an infinity pool and hot tub bordered by a grassy lawn; and topping it all off are the aforementioned ancillary accommodations, which consist of a three-bedroom guesthouse with its own kitchen and living area, plus a one-bedroom apartment resting atop the detached three-car garage. There’s plenty of Polynesian artwork left behind by a previous owner that’s reportedly part of the sale, too.

The 52-year-old Florida native, who told WSJ he is wrapping up what may be his final year as a pro surfer, also operates numerous business ventures ranging from a private surfing ranch to a sustainable footwear brand, and coming soon, a skin care and sunblock line.

In addition to his for-sale compound, Slater and his longtime partner Kalani Miller also maintain a primary residence he calls a “small beach shack” on Hawaii‘s Banzai Pipeline reef break, plus homes in Florida, California and Australia.

The listing is held by Paul Stukin of Deep Blue HI, an affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate | Southern California.

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