It was New York City in the summer of 2020, in the scary early months of COVID. One of my close girlfriends and I had both ended long-term relationships just as the pandemic closed in, and I think being stuck in the city then was a very different experience from being in other places around the country, where there’s more land, space, and quiet. The two of us decided to take a trip—as insane as we sometimes thought we were being. We wanted to become unstuck. So we booked a flight to Turks and Caicos.
Growing up on Laguna Beach probably makes you a connoisseur of beaches, from the color of the ocean to how fine the sand is. While Laguna Beach is gorgeous, with its dramatic waves, tall cliffs, and distinct rock formations, Turks and Caicos is its own kind of oasis. It has powdery, white, soft sand and very few waves. The ocean is extremely calm and clear. You can just float on your back in the water for half an hour, because the ocean is so salty. You feel safe and enveloped. If you’re watching a movie where they show you some kind of idyllic tropical paradise, it’s probably Turks and Caicos.
We went there with the express purpose of healing, to reset our bodies and minds in a way we couldn’t while surrounded by all the ambient energy of New York. I never take time off work, but I did this time, and although we were in such beautiful spaces, I didn’t post any photos to social media—this experience was just for me.
We stayed on Providenciales, the main island, where the airport is. It’s an easy flight from New York and then a 20-minute drive, and you’re in paradise. Every morning, we’d rise with the sun and exercise outside. Without fail, a pod of dolphins would swim by. After this, my friend and I would strap on our snorkels and wade into the water to be surrounded by sea life: cuttlefish, eels, squid, these tiny fish that followed me everywhere I swam. The water is stunningly clear, so we could see this rich array of undersea life in such sharp focus. There’s so much to be said for being one nature, and going into with the ocean is such a powerful way to do it.
One day, I found this big rock right of the beachfront. I peered underneath and saw, I swear, the world’s biggest lobster. It’s rare for lobsters to be so close to shore, but this gigantic guy was under this rock, right in front of where we’d been sitting for days. I remember feeling how small I was compared to everybody else on the planet, and how there was something poetic about finding this survivor, surrounded by nothing but sand for hundreds of feet in every direction but doing just fine.
In the afternoon, we’d take naps, play tennis, meditate, unwind. I don’t think we even left the resort much, partially because the food there was amazing. Conch is one of the mainstays, so we had conch ceviche, conch tacos—so good. And then we’d go to bed every night by, like, 8:30. This vacation was very purposeful, and Turks and Caicos is the kind of place where you can actually do that, because it’s quiet, there aren’t a lot of people around—especially then—and it’s really safe.
In addition to getting the reset, I think traveling there helped me reclaim my autonomy. After a breakup, when I’d been part of a couple for so long, I got a lot of power back just from making the decision to go. Like, You know what? I’m an adult. I can take a trip.
I’ve traveled all over the world, but this remains one of my favorite trips ever—maybe because it was so purposeful. I had such a clear goal of healing the body and soul, and it worked. Both my friend and I came back with a renewed sense of purpose and energy, like we were capable of moving forward. Life is a series of peaks and valleys, but we were going to be OK.
Former reality T V star Lo Bosworth is the founder and CEO of the women’s body care brand Love Wellness. Her new book, Love Yourself Well, is out now.