Justin King with his wife Melanie and children Alex, five, and Maddie, three. King says having a routine helps keep you sane.
FULL EXTRACT – First Published by Australian Financial Review – Life & Leisure. Access online version HERE.
Apr 30, 2020 – 9.27am
Are you sociable or does enforced isolation suit you?
Onanygiven(non-COVID-19)day,Iwouldnormallyhave120guestsonthe property and 160 team members, so with no guests and a drastically reduced staff, I’ve had to quickly adjust in so many ways. Currently, I spend every waking moment trying to keep staff employed because they need to be able to put food on the table back in their home villages and pay their bills. But I cannot think of a more beautiful place to spend a long period of isolation, as we have a 100-hectare deserted tropical island to roam as we please.
Any new hobbies?
I purchased a drone with the idea of learning to ﬂy it to create our own marketingcollateral.Iﬁgureditmustbeprettystraightforward–turnsout it’s not. It’s quite a challenge dodging palm trees and making sure you don’t accidentally ditch it in the South Paciﬁc. I have also been learning how to ride a Fliteboard, which is an electric hydrofoil surfboard.
Wow, interesting! Why those activities?
I’d always tried to learn new skills when I went to a new destination, but neverreallygotaroundtoitduetothe24/7natureofmywork.Iwasnever abletobeoutonthewater completelyfreeofanyone–untilnow.
Any favourite podcasts?
No. In all honesty, I prefer to be on one of our beaches or hiking.
GM Justin King with son Alex on daily hike up Mt VOMO during COVID-19
What books are you reading?
James and The Giant Peach, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Snail and The Whale, Dinosaurs Love Underpants… and Drones for Dummies.
Has your exercise routine changed?
The resort sits on a small mountain on Vomo and we run a charity event year-round,withguestswhowalkorruntothesummitpledging$10tothe CureKidsFijicharity.Weraiseabout$20,000ayear.
So, I’ve punished myself by committing to scaling this rocky pathway each morning. Currently, the fastest time is three minutes and 20 seconds and I take just over seven minutes, so I have a way to go!
Did you buy new exercise equipment?
I’m lucky. I have a deserted hotel gym at my disposal, and a couple of great hikes on the island.
Did you rush out and buy something you didn’t feel you needed before?
Have you discovered any new communications channels?
Our staff has a WhatsApp group. It pings all day with messages like “Does anyone have green peppercorns?” or “I’m off for a kayak around the island if anyone wants to join me.” MyparentsareinAustraliaandmybrotherisinAbuDhabi.Werecently introducedaweeklyTrivialPursuitnightoverZoom.Itseemsthatfamily ﬁghtsandrivalriescanbejustasintenseonlineasinperson.
Any tips for staying sane?
Deﬁnitely have a routine. I feed off people and get a great deal of satisfactionfromhumaninteraction.IstruggledwithoutthisuntilI establishedapatternformyday.
And ﬁnally, what have been your reﬂections from the couch?