5 Science-Proved Reasons Vacation Will Boost Your Brain
While your next great idea could conceivably be born while maneuvering through rush-hour traffic or with your nose in a fellow straphanger’s armpit, breaking out of your routine is a time-honored method for encouraging inspiration to strike. As Tim Ferriss, Richard Branson and many others have found, a change of scenery can help stoke the flames of creativity. Narrowing down precisely where to escape to, however, can be a daunting task.
I recently spent a long weekend in Nassau Paradise Island, which turned out to be not only the perfect place to generally recharge, but, thanks to the wide variety of unique experiences offered, a hotbed for inspiration. (And no, it wasn’t just thanks to the copious rum.)
Located on New Providence, the eleventh largest island of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, Paradise Island is appropriately named. Between the white sand beaches and turquoise blue waters, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful spot to vacation. It’s also easily accessible, just under 200 miles from Miami, with direct flights from across the country clocking in at three hours or less. English is the official language, and the dollar is accepted, so the island maintains the convenience of a U.S. destination while remaining a true Caribbean experience.
That authenticity is what elevates Paradise Island beyond a simple getaway spot. Unlike cookie-cutter resorts that are indistinguishable from one another, the two best properties on the island -- iconic Atlantis and sleek upstart SLS Baha Mar -- marry the best of luxury accommodations with true local flavor. With a combination like that, you’ll find it hard not to be inspired.
Here are five experiences in Nassau Paradise Island that will set you up for that next great idea.
1. Clear your mind on one of the Caribbean’s best beaches.
Wellness experts champion the idea of getting out into nature as a way to combat burnout, a notion backed by scientific research. Studies have found that witnessing something vast leads to a reduction in stress and an increase in open-mindedness. While a tropical island may seem like the least business-focused place on earth, the open expanses of mind-centering scenery make Paradise Island an ideal place to plot your next move. Cable Beach was our favorite spot to unwind; isolated enough for solitude, but still close to the amenities of the SLS Baha Mar.
2. Step out of your comfort zone at a colorful cluster of seafood restaurants.
Vacations are for trying new things, and when those things include tasty treasures from the sea, all the better. Take a break from resort life and head to Arawak Cay, aka the Fish Fry. Bahamians and visitors alike intermingle at this strip of over 30 stalls, stands and brick-and-mortar restaurants that has been called the “ultimate caribbean feast.”
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Forget the fried shrimp and order up a conch salad, “cracked” fish and a decadent guava duff. (You’ll have to trust me.) Oh, and feel free to stretch out your meal as you stroll in and out of the eateries on offer; the Fish Fry is a place to take it all in and let your brain -- and taste buds -- wander.
3. Let your hang-ups drift away at Aquaventure, an epic water park.
This is about as far away from the conference room as you can get. Located in the center of the Atlantis’ waterscape development, this 63-acre water world is one of the largest anywhere. Containing a mind-boggling 20 million gallons of water, slides and rivers, Aquaventure seems scientifically engineered to stimulate thought and decrease stress.
4. See how world-class chefs spin local ingredients into high-end fare.
Oftentimes, a new idea is just a mix of old ideas refreshed in a unique way. In that spirit, the chefs at Paradise Island’s top restaurants combine ingredients and techniques from the island with international culinary techniques. For example, at Chef Nobu Matsuhisa's famed Nobu restaurant, located in Atlantis, he puts his haute cuisine spin on roasted Bahamian lobster, ceviche and conch plucked fresh from the waters just outside.
5. Get an inside look at a legacy business -- and drink some rum.
The founders of John Watling’s rum are sixth-generation members of a rum-producing family, making the complimentary tour of their distillery a fascinating glimpse at a legendary business.
Founded in 1789 and overlooking the harbor downtown, this estate is where Bahamians hand-craft John Watling’s small-batch Pale, Amber and Buena Vista rums. And if the sights, sounds and people of an iconic company don’t inspire, there’s always the tasting session. Cheers!