Tag Archives: sailing



Whether you work the gym into your weekly routine, attend exercise classes, work with a trainer or workout at home, you have intentionally added fitness to your routine. I hope you have found a workout program that is efficient in getting you to your goals, is safe in preventing injuries and building your body stronger, not tearing it down and is something you enjoy doing.  Even still, it’s part of your routine.

In normal life, we workout to reach a goal – weather it’s to decrease body fat, strengthen muscle, improve cardiovascular system, or provide a “home” we can live in that will support our lifestyle and help us to live to the fullest… and the list goes on.

When I’m on vacation, however, you will not find me in a typical hotel gym or visiting a familiar health club to get in a workout.  Nope.  The essence of vacation is to pause all (or as much) of life that produces stress and requires diligent focus, right?  You know, all the routines and demands of life.   It’s a time to rest, gain new perspective and refresh the soul.  I believe this to be good and true for you physically as well as mentally.  Now if you de-stress and “relax” at the gym – more power to ya!


I am NOT implying that vacations need to be lazy.  NOT. AT. ALL!  Vacation should also include adventure, and this is where activity happens.  Staying ACTIVE on vacation can be a lot of fun and will push your body in ways it’s not use to!  At the end of the day, this mind set will remove the guilt that accompanies “missing a workout”.  Guilt can be replaced by fulfillment and a sense of accomplishment knowing that you’ve challenged your body beyond it’s norm.  I like to think of this like a “free” workout”!  And you will be able to return back to your normal routine once you get home without missing a beat.


Continue reading


We are having some cold dreary weather here in Tennessee, so I pulled out this video recap I put together after our 2011 British Virgin Islands sailing trip.  Watching this made me warm and happy inside 🙂  Thought I’d share in case any of you need to escape to the Islands!

Caribbean Vacation Fall 2011

Ok, so this past fall Jeremy and I celebrated our 12th year anniversary in the British Virgin Islands. We joined our friends, Kent and Karen, in Tortola and set sail for seven days in the Caribbean on their private yacht. Karen is one of my personal training clients, and her hubby, Kent, is the Captain. This was a trip of a life time. It’s hard to put into words just how amazing this vacation was, but I’m going to try…

Friday.  November 11
Jeremy and I caught our flight out of Nashville early that morning. We only had our carry on… yes, you heard right. Kent told us to lay out all that we thought we “needed” for the trip on our bed, and then remove 1/3 of it. He advised us to just bring a carry on. Traveling will be much easier, and frankly there is not much space in each cabin for luggage. We took his advice and in the end, Kent was right! I usually travel with kids, so this airport experience was SO easy! No checking luggage is great. Smooth day!

I had dinner with this good look’en fella at the air port in
San Juan.

We arrived in St. Thomas that evening and caught a taxi who took us to the bed and breakfast called The Galleon House. Upon arriving, two men met us and kindly upgraded our room to the nicest they had! That was awesome. We loved it there. The other crew members decided to take a different flight schedule and were able to make it to the boat that first day… no need for a hotel room. Jeremy and I, however, decided we wanted a date in 
St. Thomas!

That morning, we enjoyed a nice, homemade breakfast before catching the Ferry to Tortola. The owners of the Galleon House told us not to worry about catching the ferry at 9am (that’s the info we got online). They said it runs all the time… so we didn’t hurry to the Ferry. We were on island time! We enjoyed our walk to the Ferry and waved as we watched a boat take off. Within five min., we learned that the boat we just saw leave was THE ferry and it would be back at  12 noon! My first reaction was to panic! What would we do with all this time? Well, it turns out that it’s NOT HARD to kill 3 hours in St Thomas! First we found a place to have coffee overlooking the water. We stayed there an about an hour reading, talking and relaxing.

Then we walked to the shopping district and enjoyed all the shops.


We were sure to not miss the 12:00 ferry, so we showed up an hour early. While waiting, we met some friends and enjoyed getting to know them on the hour-long ferry ride to Tortola.

Upon arriving in Tortola, we took a taxi to 
The Mooring Yacht Club
and met Kent in the lobby. He showed us to our boat 
 and we met the rest of the crew.

We took a tour of our new home for the week.


Before we knew it, we were sailing to our first island destination. Words can’t describe how thrilling it was to experience the power of the wind pushing us along.

Quiet. Calm. Powerful.

We arrived at Cooper Island and anchored for the night. It was later in the day, so we decided not to go ashore, but we did enjoy a swim off the back of the boat.

Sunday.  Day 2
It was awesome waking up on the boat. We got underway early that morning and sailed to the most amazing place called 
THE BATHS on the Island of Virgin Gorda. 
I’ll let the pictures tell the story…

After the hike and exploring at The Baths, we sailed around to the northern part of Virgin Gorda — The Bitter End. We anchored and this became our home for the night.

The Bitter End Yacht Club


After a good night sleep, we went ashore to the 
Bitter End Yacht Club Resort 
and walked along the board walk visiting some shops and admiring the beautiful plants, flowers and lizards. After stocking up on ice and water, we began the sail to the unique
Island of Anegada. 
This was a longer sailing day, and I loved every second of it.

Anegada — 
such a unique island!
 It’s only 4 ft above sea level, 6 miles long and 2 miles wide.

Once anchored, we spent some time swimming, snorkeling and exploring the island in the dingy boat. After some time, we went back to the boat to clean up a bit and headed ashore…

where we took advantage of a photo-op.

Once the photo shoot was over, we took a taxi to the end of the island, were we had the
Cow Wreck Beach Bar and Grill 
opened and reserved for our crew. 
We had the place all to ourselves! 
What a hidden jewel!

Tuesday. Day 4
We enjoyed a nice breakfast early this morning.
We went back to the shore of Anegada and headed to the other end of the Island. There we found this beautiful, isolated beach called Loblolly Bay! Again, we were the only ones there! We snorkeled at the coral reefs from the beach and explored and enjoyed a nice island drink at the adorable bar.

Back on our boat we had lunch. Afterwords, Karen and I thought it was time for some PRINCESS FLOATING! We talked our men into helping us out…

Then we floated!

Wednesday.  Day 5
We got under way at 6:00 am… Bright and Early! We said good-bye to Anegada. After a 3 hour sail, we anchored at
The Dogs for lunch and snorkeling. 
These small Islands have BEAUTIFUL coral reefs.

When we were finished with this adventure, we sailed on to the Island that would be our home for the night— 
Jost Van Dyke! 
We went ashore soon after anchoring and hung around Foxy’s Bar for a while. We had the privilege of meeting Foxy Callaway and hearing him tell his famous stories. We ended up back at the bar that night.

Ashley pretending to sail to Jost Van Dyke

Jeremy consulting Foxy’s son!

We left behind a signed t-shirt of our crew. It’s the thing to do!             

After,we took the dingy boat around the island to the 
Soggy Dollar Bar. 
This beach was beautiful and called the Soggy Dollar Bar 
because there was no place to dock. 
We just drove our motor boat up on shore!

Thursday.  Day 6
We had a relaxing morning.

Once under way, we enjoyed a tour of the Virgin Islands on a calm, relaxing sail. We sailed around St Johns with Tortola on our left. Then we arrived at
Pelican Island and The Indians 
where we had our “lunch and snorkel”. This snorkeling was so beautiful. I noticed that at each island, the color of the water was a different shade of blue. Here it was teal, and very clear. This was the best snorkeling!

After lunch, we sailed to Norman Island for the night. Once there, we visited this amazing site called 
The Caves. 
The coral reefs actually grow deep into this cave! We snorkeled up to the cave, but didn’t go in far. It was teaming with life!

When we were finished there, we motored around the island and found a place to anchor at Norman Island. This place is known as Treasure Island because of legends of pirates and buried treasure, and is believed to have inspired the Robert Lewis Stevenson classic, Treasure Island.


That evening, our friend Eamon, Jeremy and I took the dingy out away from the Island and watched the sunset. This was one of my favorite moments.

Sunset in the BVIs from Ashley Benson on Vimeo.

Friday.  Day 7 — Our last day
On this final morning out at sea, I went through my normal Caribbean routine: up at 6 am, put on swimsuit, brush teeth and put in contacts. Drink my ADVOCARE SPARK, grab my journal and head to the bow of the boat to record every moment of this fairytale. It was quiet, peaceful and still at the bow as I watched the sun rise. I wish I could start everyday like this.


After breakfast, Eamon joined me and Jeremy for one last snorkel time. I decided to go princess style!

After this, we had lunch and sailed back to Tortola. We docked back at the Moorings Base and got to take a “real” shower at the spa there on the base. AWWWWWW, that was nice! We dressed and had one last dinner together.

Saturday, headed home….
We slept that night on the Tiger Pause boat one last time. We caught a taxi that morning who took us back to the ferry, that took us back to St. Thomas. From there, we took a taxi to the air port and made our way back to Tennessee.

What a perfect week.

Sailing the British Virgin Islands from Ashley Benson on Vimeo.