One of the most magical destinations I had the honor of traveling to was Sumba, an island amid the thousands in Indonesia. Like most compelling and untouched places, Sumba is fairly difficult to get to and so is Nihiwatu, a luxury resort on the very fringe of the island with views so pristine they seem like holograms. Nihiwatu’s saying “on the edge of wildness” is resoundingly fitting. Just beyond the resort, nearby villages subsist as they have for centuries in intricate thatched huts with barely any contact with the modern world. Exploring the villages with native guides was compelling—far more intriguing than many other treks I’ve taken into distant societies. Mostly I was struck by the profound contentment the people displayed. My guide translated one man’s statement as, “You come to visit because where you’re from is not this magical.” And it was true.
Christmas 2014. It was the year I created Sup, and I had a hectic year of traveling—74 flights in all. On my own, I went kite-surfing for a week at Blue Dream Resort, in a remote part of Costa Rica. There was very limited cell service, no air conditioning and no power after 10 p.m. I met some amazing people from all over the world—an investor, people who worked for the World Bank, a cattle farmer—who were also escaping. We got up at 6 a.m. every morning and were on the water by 7. I was outside all day, and I didn’t turn on my laptop for a week; nothing could be further from my usual routine.
—Rich Pleeth, founder of the app Sup
The most rewarding vacations have been those in which I’ve been able to truly disconnect from the world. There have been two places—Bolivia and Burma—where I’ve really been able to do that. In Bolivia I climbed mountains, trekked the salt flats, set off dynamite in a gold mine, swam with dolphins and fished for piranha in the rainforest. In Burma I trekked through mountains and villages and slept in Buddhist temples, learning the art of meditation. On both of these vacations I immersed myself in a completely different culture and entered an element that’s the exact opposite of what I’m used to. I connected with locals and understand not only their customs and traditions, but also their struggles. I also connected with myself.
—Vincenzo Villamena, founder, OnlineTaxman.com
This article appears in the May 2016 issue of SUCCESS magazine.