Trip­ping with...

Why Jen­nifer Hawkins goes off the grid ev­ery month

Qantas - - Contents - in­ter­view by ALI­SON BO­LEYN pho­to­graph by MICHAEL DODGE

Where did you go on your last trip?

The Mal­dives – and I’ve got itchy feet to go again. Jake [Wall, Hawkins’ hus­band] and I have been many times, al­ways for a hol­i­day and al­ways just for fun. The big la­goons, in­cred­i­ble scenery and the food! You get to switch off, recharge and be in your own world.

What was your typ­i­cal child­hood hol­i­day?

We didn’t go on many hol­i­days, to be hon­est, but my pop had a boathouse at Lake Mac­quarie [south of Hawkins’ home town of New­cas­tle, NSW] and we’d go camp­ing in the Up­per Al­lyn and Bar­ring­ton Tops near Glouces­ter [on NSW’s Mid North Coast], stay­ing wher­ever we could find. We had a rit­ual where we’d stop at Bar­ring­ton and have an ice­block as a treat. There’s a photo of me in a tent at six months old; I think Mum washed me in a bucket.

Have you ever taken a road trip?

My dad bought this huge yel­low van and, when I was nine, we drove to Queens­land to see the Great Bar­rier Reef. I thought that was the bee’s knees, like we’d gone over­seas. I re­mem­ber my brother and I climb­ing up a mango tree in a car­a­van park. We pulled down all the man­goes and ate like crazy un­til we were sick. That was the best hol­i­day.

What about road trips as an adult?

When I was do­ing a TV show, I drove a con­vert­ible Mus­tang from Los An­ge­les to San Fran­cisco. I was pinch­ing my­self. Jake and I also did a road trip in Hawaii, past the Pipe [the Ban­zai Pipe­line surf reef break]. It was one of our first trips, eight years ago. To be in a car to­gether, driv­ing up the coast with your hair out and the top down, was re­ally free­ing, you know? You’re not tak­ing so­cial me­dia shots. You’re just in the mo­ment and I re­mem­ber it be­ing spe­cial.

Do you pre­fer to wan­der the streets or check maps?

I’d like to say I wan­der the streets – and I do – but Jake and I pre­fer to have a plan, even if it’s just get up, ex­er­cise, have break­fast, go for lunch and plan some spon­ta­neous mo­ments for in be­tween [laughs]. I don’t like to just lie on the beach. In Posi­tano in Italy, we did a mas­sive hill climb – a two-hour walk – and the next day my calf mus­cles felt like they would fall off the bones. But it was such an ad­ven­ture. On the way up, a don­key passed us and we saw work­sites where they took rocks up the hill on strings, like an in­cli­na­tor.

When you travel with Jake, who’s a builder, does he talk con­stantly about the ar­chi­tec­ture?

Well, yes, but I’m like that, too, look­ing at the fin­ishes and the ma­te­ri­als. You see in­te­ri­ors and steal the ideas. The open­plan liv­ing at the One&Only re­sort in Los Ca­bos, in Mex­ico, in­spired our own house [in Syd­ney’s North­ern Beaches]. You take in­for­ma­tion from ev­ery­where you go, right?

Is there a place that you keep re­turn­ing to?

I’d go back to Posi­tano ev­ery year if I could. My dream is to ex­plore it by boat. I love the food and it’s not pro­cessed so you can eat as much pasta as you like, if you run.

Do you al­ways make time for ex­er­cise when you travel?

Yes, be­cause it’s a lux­ury [to have time to do it]. Some­times when I’m work­ing, if my sched­ule is re­ally busy, I find it hard to fit in ex­er­cise. I do, but on hol­i­days we ac­tu­ally en­joy a leisurely walk or rid­ing bi­cy­cles in the Mal­dives. It makes it seem like you’ve done some­thing that day, which is im­por­tant to me.

Is there a des­ti­na­tion that was a real sur­prise to you?

It’s weird, be­cause now you see a des­ti­na­tion be­fore you ar­rive, via so­cial me­dia, but when I first went to the Mal­dives, it was a sur­prise that the wa­ter was so blue. It wasn’t like some­one had re­touched the wa­ter; it was legitimately mind-blow­ing.

Have you ever been lost while trav­el­ling?

No, be­cause I’m usu­ally with Jake and he nav­i­gates. I would never take con­trol of the map, let’s put it that way.

Is there a place where you’ve ex­pe­ri­enced cul­ture shock?

Yes, in In­dia. It was prob­a­bly my first trip as Miss Uni­verse, 14 years ago, and I’d never trav­elled over­seas be­fore [the pageant]. The air­port was crazy and manic with peo­ple and cig­a­rette smoke and there were so many cows on the streets. The poverty is an eye­opener and you re­turn home feel­ing grate­ful for where you live.

Can you re­call a mem­o­rable din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence?

In In­dia, I ate a very hot chilli that I thought was a cap­sicum. I don’t think I’ve ever sweated so much in my life. [To coun­ter­act the heat] they gave me cow’s milk – it was still warm. I was at a big cor­po­rate din­ner so I had to keep it un­der con­trol.

Have you ever gone com­pletely off the grid?

So­cial me­dia-wise, I go off the grid once a month. The last time was for five days but I’ve been off it for a week. Even do­ing that for a week­end or a Sun­day is good for the soul.

If you could be any­where in the world right now, where would you be?

I like where I am right now. But I’ve never been to Croa­tia. I’d love to ex­plore the coast­line by boat, look­ing at it from a dif­fer­ent an­gle. That’s on my bucket list, def­i­nitely.

“I’D GO BACK TO POSI­TANO EV­ERY YEAR IF I COULD. MY DREAM IS TO EX­PLORE IT BY BOAT.”

Posi­tano on Italy’s Amalfi Coast is one of Jen­nifer Hawkins’ all-time favourite des­ti­na­tions

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