Words by Matt Huxley
THIS Island Life is the go-to blog for everyone who loves Summer. Whilst I love the occasional rays on my pasty white skin, I am far more of a winter person. Naturally this made me the perfect person to interview Laura McWhinnie, the creative behind this tropically inclined blog. As you’re about to see Laura was an enthusiastic and interesting interview subject, certainly making the most of her 5 minutes with me!
Hey Laura, how are you?
I’m about to sit down with you guys and chat about summer travel, so life is pretty good right now.
You’ve developed This Island Life based around the principle that it’s always summer somewhere. Besides Australia, where’s your favourite place to stay during summer?
Anywhere where there’s an ocean and a palm tree. I love Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, Fiji, Hawaii and Brazil. Having said that, some of the best summer holidays I’ve ever had have been with no ocean in sight. I once did Eastern Europe with a group of 30 journalists, bloggers and vloggers from all over world where we met in Budapest for a crazy six-day trip that ended in Prague. And you can’t beat the vibe of New York City in the middle of summer.
Run us through a day in your life.
When I’m on tour in destination I’m usually shooting from sunrise until sunset. Most mornings I wake up about an hour before the sun comes up to get ready. If I had a normal job I’d be smashing a double espresso to wake myself up – but when we’re on tour, we’re freediving everyday. Michaela (This Island Life Director of Photography) and I train in Sydney in between trips and our freediving instructor is really strict about no caffeine on dive days.
In the middle of the day we’ll do an underwater shoot, edit and write content, post new content on the site and across our social channels, or travel somewhere for a sunset shoot that could be anything from flying over an active volcano in an open-door helicopter to shooting swimwear under a waterfall.
At the end of the day we film my video diary, download everything we shot, clear our memory cards, back everything up, charge batteries, work out our schedule for the next day and repack our camera gear and choose bikinis accordingly.
We’ve found that no matter how crazy our schedule is while we’re away, if we get eight hours sleep a night, eat three healthy meals a day and drink as much coconut water as we can, we can manage anything.
When I’m at home in Sydney it’s a very different day. I’ll start the day with some exercise, which is either a beach run, pilates class or my Brazilian Butt Lift DVD (Google it). I work four-days a week as a digital copywriter at an advertising agency so I spend my days writing copy or coming up with creative ideas for different brands. I have the weekend, one full day and three nights a week dedicated to This Island Life – that’s when I write articles, answer emails, update my social media channels and liaise with my agent Roxy from The Ministry of Talent. On This Island Life workdays I might do a shoot with Michaela or a fellow blogger, and I’m always organising the next trip.
What inspired you to start This Island Life?
My obsession with bikinis! I was planning a trip to Brazil and totally forgot to book accommodation because I was too busy researching Brazilian swimwear. I was working in advertising as a digital copywriter and had been writing for a bunch of well-known blogs in my spare time. But it was that trip that made me realise just how passionate I was about summer travel and everything that goes with it – the sun, the ocean, the adventures and of course, the bikinis.
I need to ask. You love summer. What the hell do you do in winter?
I don’t even acknowledge the existence of that season. When you visit This Island Life it’s sunshine and coconuts all year round. I want people to be able to live an endless summer through the site from wherever they are – that’s why when it’s winter in Australia, I follow the summer with my crew to the hottest destinations in the world to uncover the best warm-weather inspiring travel, fashion and adventure. Whether it’s a beachside bar, climbing a volcano or discovering a local bikini designer – we live for summer and everything it entails. Last year we went on tour to Thailand, Hawaii, Indonesia and the Whitsundays. This year we’ve been exploring the South Pacific – we recently went island hopping around Fiji and are busy preparing for a trip to Tonga to go freediving with whales.
Ice cream is clearly an essential during summer. What’s your favourite brand and flavour?
Great question and observation! I LOVE CO YO Coconut Milk Ice Cream – I wouldn’t turn down any flavor.
You write in a number of different sections on your site, which is your favourite to write on and why?
That’s a hard one. Travel is my favourite thing to write about, but the entire site is built on the idea of following an endless summer – which means that travel is at the core of everything. When I’m writing about a bikini – it’s one we shot jumping off a waterfall on a remote island in Fiji – so the story becomes just as much about the destination as it does about the swimwear.
Ok it’s time for our rapid fire series. Get ready…
Moustache’s: yes or no?
Favourite swimwear brand?
Cantik Swimwear, Triangl, N.L.P Women, Watson X Watson and Seafolly.
Bikini’s or onesies?
Bikinis – the skimpier the swimsuit the better.
Thoughts on mankini’s?
The mankini has had its day – it’s all about the Lateral Flash Thong – a male swimsuit designed by French swimwear label Alter that’s being referred to as a “waterproof willy hammock”.
Best beach party music?
Reggae hands down.
Thanks so much for your time Laura!
Make sure you check out Laura’s blog This Island Life online here. Are you deserving of a precious 5 Minutes With me? Contact me at email@example.com or you can connect with us on any of our social media channels.